The “Greater Yes”

March 30, 2015

Over the weekend I had written about the “no’s” that are sometimes necessary in one’s life. On Palm Sunday, spiritual director Christianne Squires wrote about our “greater yes”. Here is her Sunday email newsletter, A Cup of Sunday Quiet:

“I’m thinking this morning about those invitations in our lives that ask for our “greater yes” — a greater degree of focus and commitment that often includes sacrifice and saying no to other things.

I’m wondering if you have such an invitation in your life right now. It’s perhaps appropriate we consider this question on Palm Sunday, a day that marks entry into the greatest yes Jesus could possibly offer with his life.

Already we had seen instances in his life of that greater yes: the way he chose to study at the temple as a young boy with the priests and scholars instead of sharing the caravan home with his family and community; the way he resisted the temptations toward greatness and self-sufficiency offered to him in the desert when confronted by the enemy of his soul; the way he left towns and villages with plenty of people still in need because he needed to reach even more towns and villages; the way he moved beyond his family unit to extend a familial embrace to any “mother and brother” who would take up the same path he walked.

Jesus was no stranger to the call of his life’s greater yes. And here we find him on Palm Sunday, entering into the greatest yes of them all.

He receives the crowd’s acclaim as he enters the Jerusalem city, and yet it is not the crowd that motivates him. It can’t be, as by week’s end, when the crowd that celebrates has become the crowd that hates, he must keep saying yes to that which his life asks of him. When he kneels in a garden, overcome by grief and human fear, he makes hard-won peace once again with that greater yes. When he stands before chief priests and governors, being asked question after question in a call to defend or exonerate himself, he continues to root his feet in the place of his greater yes.

He followed this yes all the way to his death. He followed it still beyond the grave.

What in your life receives such a degree of focus and commitment and yes-ness? Or what might be asking for that yes? Once you’ve identified it, you might further consider what this yes requires of you. How does it also mean saying no elsewhere?

I am with you in these questions, as I’ve recently identified three “greater yeses” in my own life, one of which is my greater yes to Still Forming Land (Squires’ online ministry). I’m learning such yeses keep asking their questions of us. They pick up corners of our lives and say, “What about this? Will you offer this up to your yes as well?” They stand our life’s commitments up in a line and ask us of them one by one: “This too? And this?” They press open our calendar pages and point to each day, asking, “What will you do here? And here?”

The greater yes invites us beyond faintheartedness. It asks of us resolve. But it also asks of us dependence — a dependence on God for help, for grace, for insight, for strength.

And because God is the one who placed that invitation before us in the first place, such cries are met gladly.

How is your life asking of you a greater yes? What help do you need from God in saying yes?”


Christianne Squires’ blog:                  “Still Forming Land”