Rev. Brent Damrow preaching from the pulpit


November 20, 2022

The Big, Long “Yes!”

Rev. Linda Hoddy

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To begin, I invite you to close your eyes and listen to this prayer, in the form of a poem by e.e. cummings:

I thank you God for most this amazing day:

For the leaping greenly spirits of trees

And a blue true dream of sky;

And for everything which is natural which is infinite

Which is yes

 (I who have died am alive again today,

And this is the sun’s birthday;

This is the birth day of life and of love and wings;

And of the gay great happening illimitably earth)

 How should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any—

Lifted from the no of all nothing—human merely being

Doubt unimaginable You?

 (now the ears of my ears awake


Now the eyes of my eyes are opened)  

 Cumming’s poem is a long way, so far, so so far, from the Church of God in which I grew up, in a small town in Kansas.  In that faith tradition, the big “yes” was conversion.  Instant salvation.  Are you saved, they would ask?  In theory, one “got saved” by going up during an altar to accept Jesus into one’s heart.  And every time Brent uses that hymn, “Just as I Am,” I am back in the Church of God in the altar call. Those hymns are powerful. Conversion was hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime event, unless, of course, one backslid into sin. And there were many sins:  drinking, dancing, smoking, going to movies, gambling.  For women, wearing pants or make-up or skirts above the knee.  Answering the altar call to go down and be saved was the big moment, the momentous turning, the big yes! And henceforth, Jesus would reign in one’s heart and over one’s life, and one would therefore be empowered to resist all temptation and sin.