“He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.”
Mary said, “Yes.”
In her Magnifcat filled with praise and promise, she said “yes” to all that God was birthing in her because she knew that her extravagant “yes” would unleash liberation upon the world.
The weekend following the murder of George Floyd, I marched in a protest through the streets of San Francisco. We marched past City Hall, past the police station, past the court house, and eventually down to the water.
Written on signs and shouted in chants, I saw and heard the cries of “No!”:
“No justice, no peace!”
“No racist police!”
“No more death!”
These were the cries of people who had had enough and were screaming from the bottom of their bellies, “No more! Enough!” But woven into those cries was also a resounding “Yes!”
A “yes” to a world where our economic, political, and social systems of privilege are dismantled.
A “yes” to a world where the lowly are lifted up and the hungry are filled.
A “yes” to a world where Black lives truly matter.
At the center of those cries of protest was a blazing desire for a world that can and must be different.
During this Advent season, we must live in and act from that bottom-of-the-belly, Spirit-born space of “Yes!” We must connect with our deepest desire for liberation, not just as an idea, but as tangible, enfleshed, hope-filled vision of what could be.
Audre Lorde, the Black, queer, womanist writer and warrior against the injustices of the world, calls desire (or the erotic) “the personification of love in all its aspects, born of Chaos, and personifying creative power and harmony.” She writes this about our relationship—particularly women’s relationship—with desire:
“We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings. Recognizing the power of the erotic within our lives can give us the energy to pursue genuine change within our world…”
We mustn’t be afraid of the power of our “Yes!”.
A “yes” is risky. A “yes” takes courage. A “yes” means work must be done.
But as Mary shows us, there is an extravagant joy in “yes,” and it is the joy of a liberated world.