I recently received a couple of things in the post from a friend of mine, both of which came as a nice surprise. He included a magazine about airplanes because I had mentioned to him that my youngest son is developing a real enthusiasm for planes, and he also included a poster from a music magazine which was a famliy tree of the rock group Yes. He and I have been following Yes since we were at school together and reading through the list of different band members made we want to listen to some of their albums again (it had been a while). The first song I came across was called Time and a Word, which has the lyrics: The time is now, and the word is love…which somehow seemed appropriate for the beginning of the Easter season.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks from the cross and ays he is thirsty and after his last drink says one Greek word: tetelestai. The word is usually translated as a short sentence, either ‘it is finished' or ‘it is accomplished'. But I wonder whether we should not try to catch the feeling of the word by translating it into just one word in English, a word that communicates conclusion, closure and accomplishment. We might read and hear Jesus last word from the cross, tetelestai as a very simple yet heartfelt word of affirmation. The word of the hour, the word of passion, the word of Jesus is simply the word ‘yes'. ‘Yes' is also the word that we utter when we realise the passion and power of each day, each hour, each moment, each now. And ‘yes' is the word we are all invited to utter or cry when we have been taken by the river of time, or by heightened awareness, to the infinite density and depth of the present moment, the present hour, the present day.
'Yes' is how it all began with Mary hearing the news of her pregnancy and responding with a 'yes.' If we take John's gospel at its word, the most important word in the passion of Jesus is not ‘sacrifice' or ‘suffering', not ‘cross' or ‘resurrection'. It is the word ‘yes'. The ‘yes' which is at the reconciling heart of the relationship between God and humanity, creator and creation. And this ‘yes', is the ultimate meaning, not only of the last word from the cross, but of that mysterious word logos that appears at the beginning of John's gospel. In the beginning was the word and the word was ‘yes' and the word ‘yes' was at the heart of God.
Happy Easter to all of you.
Revd Steven Rothwell