“God is with us!” “Yes he is!” “God is faithful!” “Yes he is!” “God gives hope!” “Yes he does!” “Jesus is our Savior!” “Yes he is!” This has been the refrain of our Vacation Bible School week – as our kiddos cheerily shouted back to us each day, we were all reminded that God promises us with a “Yes!”
Our theme for this year was “Splash Canyon – God’s promises on life’s wild ride”, and each day we talked about God’s promises for us and for the world, promises to be with us, to be faithful to us, to give us hope, and to save us through Jesus. And the big theme of the week? God says “Yes” to us, to all these promises, through Jesus.
All those “No”s
I think we are all really used to hearing no.
I know that my toddler is already sick of hearing the word. (Although she loves to shake her head vigorously to let us know her own dissenting opinions.)
And honestly, it’s an important word. We need those “no”s in order to protect ourselves and others from dangers. For instance, in our household it tends to be, “No, we cannot run into the street.” or “No, you may not climb on top of the table.”
For the kids in our VBS, sometimes it was “No, you cannot play in the boat right now.” or “No, we’ll have snack time in just a minute.” But they also hear no, like all of us, in other parts of their lives too.
And often that “no” is to protect, to teach, for good reason. And sometimes the “no”s we hear are more….not.
“No, only girls should wear pink.” Or “No, big kids don’t cry.” Maybe it’s “No, you can’t be a dancer/artist/engineer/pastor/name-your-thing”. Because the truth is, we hear “no” a lot. And we hear it in the church too.
Sometimes when I listen to the experiences of others of church, their response is, “I got tired of hearing no”. No to asking questions or having doubt. To messing up. No to contemporary gender roles in relationships or in the workplace, or no to members of the LGBTQI community. And the biggest one? So many people I have talked to, and even in my own experience, sometimes people hear the church saying, “No to you. You can’t be who you are and be one of us.”
But God says Yes
But God says yes. Teaching our kids this week that God is positive, and particularly positive about them. No matter their doubts or their mistakes, God is with us. No matter who they are or what they do, God is faithful. God gives hope to each and every one of us through Jesus, because Jesus is the savior of the entire world.
Saving us from our own brokenness, from all the “no”s. And certainly giving us guidelines and paths to follow. But through Jesus, God says yes.
Yes to love. Yes to hope. And yes to each and every one of us.
Thanks be to God!