Saying YES to God

A sermon for the Feast of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cathedral Church of St George the Martyr, Jerusalem on Monday, 4 April 2016.


Today we celebrate the courage of a young woman who said YES to God.

Luke the master storyteller has crafted a beautiful story about the birth of Jesus.

He has woven together elements from Jewish tradition as well as the Roman world in which he lived. The world of his principal addressee, Theophilus.

Luke is celebrating the strange workings of God among us.

The strange workings of a God who calls Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees.

The strange workings of a God who speaks to Musa from the burning bush.

The strange workings of a God who calls the people of Israel into being in this land of promise.

The strange workings of a God who comes among us in the person of Jesus.

The strange workings of a God who calls the Jewish people back from Diaspora to renew their ancient connections with this land.

Luke begins with a story of two births.

Two women who find themselves pregnant in unusual circumstances. An elderly woman who has not conceived despite several decades of married life. And a maiden not yet married.

Two miraculous births.

At the heart of the story is a young Palestine Jewish woman from Nazareth who says YES to God.

This evening we are invited to imitate Mary by making our own YES to God.

God invites our YES.

That is amazing. Think about it. God waits for us to respond before acting. In creation we are called to collaborate with God, but in salvation God chooses to wait for us.

God comes to us. In the reading from Isaiah 52 just now, God says, “Here am I.” The words later found on the lips of Mary in Luke 1, and on the lips of Jesus in Hebrews 2, are also found on the lips of God. “Here am I.”

God waits for us.

God invites our response.

God chooses not to act until we are ready to say YES.

How shall we respond to the God who invites our response?

And to what might we be saying YES?

We will be saying YES to hope

We will be saying YES to trust

We will be saying YES to life

We will be saying YES to justice

We will be saying YES to compassion

We will be saying YES to freedom

We will be saying YES to joy

We will be saying YES to love

The world needs people who say YES to these things.

The world needs people who say YES to God.

We need to be people who say YES to the God who invites us to work with God to heal and save a broken world. AMEN

About gregoryjenks

Anglican priest and religion scholar. Senior Lecturer in the School of Theology at Charles Sturt University. Formerly Dean at St George's College, Jerusalem. Currently serving as the locum priest at Byron Bay Anglican Parish.
This entry was posted in Sermons, St George's College Jerusalem, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Saying YES to God

  1. Sue Emeleus says:

    Thanks you Greg, from Sydney Australia.Tomorrow I start radiotherapy for my breast cancer, and the same day conduct a funeral for a 98 year old woman.The Yes’s I must say are the ones you have listed. Blessings on you, Sue.

    • gregoryjenks says:

      Dear Sue: If my words gave you any strength for the challenges of the day, then I am blessed. Sorry that I did not see this comment until now, but I have been teaching course and then travelling in the UK. Greg

  2. Gene Stecher says:

    A beautiful combination of poetry and truth, Greg. Sometimes I’m pretty sure what to say “yes” to, but I struggle with how to say it. Gene

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