I was in the choir as a child. I remember after a particular rehearsal, the choir director pulled me aside and said, “You really poured yourself into the music today! But, next time, perhaps you can sing a little quieter and a little more on key!”
Three letters can change the whole thing: B-U-T.
“But” can transform a compliment into a backhanded one. For example, “Your deviled eggs are delicious, but next time I bet if you used a bit more salt, they would really pop!”
“But” can change a relationship. “I love you, but I can’t do this anymore.”
“But” can change the entire trajectory of a story. For example, in the Christian tradition, we gather on Easter to proclaim that Christ is not here but alive and at work in the world! But those words seemed to the earliest readers to be an idle tale, and they did not believe them, which is an appropriate response to resurrection! Resurrection often feels like an idle tale.
Leiros is the Greek word translated, idle tale, though it literally means cow dung!
There is no way that life comes through death! Bull!
Or that hope finds us in despair! Bull!
Or that light comes through the darkness! Bull!
Or that wholeness is found through brokenness. Bull! No way!
In an empty tomb, they found the fullness of God. A God whose answer to us is always: but, yes.
A God who says to the death of Christ, but yes, I still love you.
A God who says to us breaking relationship, but yes, I’m still here.
A God who says in an empty tomb, but I’m not here; I’m everywhere!
A God who says I’ll never give up on you, but I’ll never look the same!
A God who says you think you know a life of faith but stop thinking and follow me!
We are invited to see the possibilities of life anew in all places. May we be “But, yes!” people.
A people who proclaim, but yes: light in the darkness.
A people who proclaim, but yes: hope in despair.
A people who proclaim, but yes: wholeness out of brokenness.
And a people who proclaim, but yes: even life in the face of death!
With great hope,
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