(Yes, I know – hiatus. Back briefly on this day.)
Many years ago, when I was an toiling away in corporate America, I used to call myself an E.L.F. – or executroid life form. It was a joke meant to poke fun at a world around me. It seemed that we were less and less focused on people, and more focused on getting sales and good numbers, whatever that meant. Today as I reflected on this, I thought of a business book that was popular many years ago, “Getting to Yes, Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In” by Roger Fisher and William Ury. (I never did read the book, so none of this is commentary on it, just the title.)
Verkündigung (Annunciation) by Gottfried Helnwein
This is on my mind because today is the moved Feast of the Annunciation. This is of course the triumph of Mary’s fiat, or yes. Mary’s yes had nothing to do with negotiations, Mary’s yes was a surrender to God. Imagine that in this political climate, surrender as a path to glory. It happens that today is also the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. I love the tension held between two days of profound meaning and memo
Dr. King did not surrender to the forces around him, but he did surrender to God. In doing so, he was called “the most dangerous man in America” by none other than the head of the FBI at the time, J. Edgar Hoover. I thought about how Mary’s yes turned into Jesus’ life. He too, the One that was the underpinning of Dr. King’s life and work, was thought of as a most dangerous man of his own time.
Mary, Jesus, and Dr. King have this in common, they all surrendered to God by saying yes. And by saying yes they did not “win” in the sense that we consider winning. They said yes and found sorrow, and cruel death in the case of Jesus and MLK. Yet, by every spiritual standard they triumphed. Without giving in to the forces around them.
Dr. King once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Mary said yes and the Light came into the world. Jesus said yes and light became the eternal illumination of life everlasting. King said yes because he was committed to justice – all built on a foundation in Christ. Saying yes in this way means giving in to the Light of Christ, to being that Light in the world.
How will you give in today? How – and to whom or what – will you say yes?