Say Yes to No

by DanWolgemuth on March 5, 2010

Yesterday, in an act of domestic solidarity, I joined Mary in putting clean sheets on a couple of the "extra" beds that we have in our house. I also noticed that Mary has a homemade lasagna in the refrigerator that is just waiting for the appropriate guests next week. Yes, the week ahead will provide multiple opportunities for us to entertain, host and welcome guests into our home. I assure you, Mary wants to be ready.

This activity has cascaded a light of revelation on the season of Lent that we are now a part of. In the Christian tradition, Lent represents the 40 days prior to Easter. They are intended to be days of preparation, reflection, worship and self-denial.

Self-denial fascinates me.

We live in a time and a culture that believes that we are entitled to "yes to yes" and "no to no." Saying "yes to no" is not only countercultural, it’s often ridiculed as old-fashioned and perhaps even "legalistic." Yet I believe that this very act of self-denial; this process of saying no to the things in our lives that are permissible; will ignite a bonfire of intimacy and worship that is not only important, it’s vital. This kind of preparation cultivates a place of invitation and expectation… it does the laundry, the vacuuming, the dusting, the meal preparation, the candle lighting, and the ambiance setting before the guests ever arrive. Before The Guest arrives.

Saying "yes to no" makes room. It vacates our soul of the clutter that occupies needed space. It invites the power of the Holy Spirit to invade. It demonstrates that transformation has, and is occurring. It elevates. It humbles.

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it." ~ Mark 8:34, 35

I want to be ready.

I want to say yes to no…. for the sake of more… to make room…

My checkbook. My meals. My calendar. My watch. My BlackBerry. My remote control. My agenda. My comfort. My attention. My entertainment.

Yes to no… so that I can say yes to Jesus… perhaps as never before.

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