Sunday Catechism: Yes And

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Q: What does God require from us to escape His anger and curse, which we deserve for our sin?

A: To escape God’s anger and curse, which we deserve for our sin, God requires from us faith in Jesus Christ and repentance unto life along with diligent involvement in all the external ways Christ uses to bring us the benefits of redemption.

There’s a famous, almost cliche, phrase in improvisational theater: “Yes and…” It signifies the principle that improv works best when every actor affirms and builds on whatever new information, circumstance, or dialogue is added to the scene. In the relentless juggling of improvisation, one does not have the luxury of editing the work of your peers; you must accept it as given and work to continue to move the story forward with these new wrinkles, coherently and compellingly as possible.

In the faith of improv, you do not say “No, but…” but “Yes, and…”

And every act of faith, I think, is essentially an act of improvisation. You are handing yourself over to the unknown, making a firm initial decision to commit to a series of extemporaneous ones. You are letting yourself get swept up in the swell of a transporting tide.

“No, but I want my life to remain the same.”

“No, but I don’t do church.”

“No, but this habit is too hard to kick.”

“No, but I don’t feel anything when I pray.”

We hear a lot of “No, buts” from our children, too. They don’t understand why we require them to do certain things or complain that they’re unable to. They worry that our desires conflict with their desires and sulk in their limited perspective. Sometimes we just want to say to them, “Do you trust me? Do you know who I am? How much do you think I love you? Do you think I’d purposefully do anything against your best interest? Would I ever let you drown in helplessness? I’ll be right here at your side, doing everything in my power to make it okay for you. I’m not the enemy here.”

These are teachable moments, for “how much more will your Father who is in heaven…”! What may look like the extra-conditions of salvation, the fine print one fears is there, are actually the keys that come with the car.

And that deserves an Amen.

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