Pente.Proper 8(RCL): Yes,but..... = no
2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14 and Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20 , Galatians 5:1, 13-25, Luke 9:51-62
Yes, but....... = NO
Going through training for ordination, one must do a component of study called CPE (clinical pastoral education). There you endeavor to learn what it takes to become a pastoral presence and take on - even temporarily - the responsibilities of a chaplain in a hospital. The experience is humbling, to say the least and a real eye opener. Before going through this formation process you may have considered yourself a very good listener; after taking some lessons from your supervisor and experienced a few exchanges with the patients under your care you learn quickly that your listening skills are not half as adequate as you imagined they were and that occasionally people will contradict you in very subtle ways.
Going into a hospital room you are meeting someone for the first time under unusual circumstances. The dynamics are peculiar to the situation. There you are, in your loaned white hospital jacket brandishing a photo ID with the title CHAPLAIN. Looking this way, one may mistake you for an expert, while they are in a bed in some state of distress.... it's awkward. You want them to feel better. It is on the tip of your tongue to let slip...."..everything is going to be fine; you'll be feeling better..." but you learn never to make that statement because that is one thing that you cannot guarantee.
If the patient is there for a period of time, they may begin to open up and you have conversations with them. You will be taught by your supervisor that - if after you have made a statement, the patient replies "...yes, but....." they, in effect, are disagreeing with you. They are saying no, or I don't agree with you, or not in my experience, or that doesn't apply to me, or there are extenuating circumstances here.
Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem -- i.e. He knows the end of his ministry, his teaching and his life is very near and He is determined to go into His destiny. Going along the road, someone blurts out they will follow Him wherever He goes. Jesus delivers the equivalent of a 'yes, but..'. While his reply deals with the fact that he has no earthly home, He is basically saying this is the end of the earthly line....yes, but you don't want to go there.
The tables then turn. To two others on the road, Jesus offers the invitation (which almost sounds like a demand) 'Follow me'. In each case, He receives a 'yes, but.... (yes with a condition)': yes, but first let me bury my father; yes, but first let me say goodbye to my loved ones. Jesus, facing his death, does not have time to wait for the luxuries of farewell parties or lengthy funeral rituals which other family and community members could take care of. Yes, but... would not do.
Jesus, loving those in the world, loved them to the end. Jesus to this day and beyond, loves and will love us unconditionally. Even in these days, in places where following Christ will lead to death, there are those who will not deny Christ or fail to follow him - without condition, without qualification. Theirs is NOT a '..yes, but..'.
Most of us are not in peril of our lives for following Jesus. We have are not facing death or mutilation to practice our faith. If we are called to be Christians living into our baptismal vows, let us live into them with an emphatic YES, no "but"s about it, through the power of the Spirit.
Copyright © 2007 K.L.Joanna Depue and DJ on http://www.geraniumfarm.org/