As I listen to our Scripture reading for All Saints Sunday this week from Revelation 21:1-6, a beautiful image is painted for us of a new heaven and a new earth. It is a Scripture that has brought hope and comfort knowing there is a God who comes to redeem all creation. But interestingly enough, instead of describing what this new heaven and new earth looks like, the main theme of the Scripture is what is not present. "Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."
All of those things that are no more, are what makes all things new. It's an interesting concept to consider - what is not, allows what is. Saying no to one thing, allows another to flourish. And that is how God wants the world to look.
When I consider our God given abilities, one of them is to say no. But often times, we choose to nod politely, or not say anything at all. In situations that are uncomfortable, or moments that require us to take a stand, in times where courage is required, we often focus more on not hurting feelings than we do in proclaiming confidently what is right or just or merciful. The truth is, when we don't say no to situations of injustice or oppression, loneliness or pain, suffering or heartbreak, we are really saying yes. We say yes to heartbreak when we don't reach out in love to a lonely widow. We say yes to suffering when we don't visit the sick or those in prison. We say yes to injustice when we don't give to the poor or make sacrifices to benefit another. We say yes to oppression when we don't say anything to a racist comment or sexist joke.
So maybe this week, we focus on the things we must say no to: the comforts we must give up, or the fears we must abandon or the emotional baggage we need to leave behind, in order to be made the new creation that Christ allows us to be. I believe when we wear this message, we too will be a visible expression for all the world. Our actions will be what we wear that proclaims Jesus' good news. And who knows, maybe others will see how we look and want to say no too.
Be a blessing,