I've had a bad week. The reason is both obvious and difficult to fix. In five days Donald Trump has demonstrated beyond all doubt that he believes the ludicrous promises he made in his campaign, and believes he can impose them by will and wile on his country, with serious repercussions for the rest of us.
As I sat looking out of the car window at the sun, rising yet again, transforming dull green and grey and winter beige into the promise of Spring, I felt that irrational stirring somewhere between hope and anger that gives energy to two of the most important words we ever speak.
The first word is "No!" The exclamation mark is essential. I don't merely want to say no, I want to exclaim it, and to allow that "no" to grow within me into a spirit of resistance. My mind says no to the nonsense of alternative facts, post truth, unabashed lying. My heart says no to the heartlessness and arrogant ruthlessness of executive orders which will wreck lives, written with the posturing and flourish of a potentate from the book of Daniel. My conscience says no to policies which have grown out of a rhetoric that demeans and diminishes others, which has legitimated racism, hate speech and demonising of those who are 'other'.
And my soul says no, because I happen to believe that Jesus writes my executive orders, and they are to be found in the four Gospels, and explicated into a way of Chhristian existence in the New Testament, and written into the story of Israel in the Hebrew Bible. Amongst these executive orders are: Love your neighbour, love your enemy, Blessed are the merciful, the peacemaker and those hungry for justice, you are ambassadors for Christ and ministers of reconciliation. My soul says no when acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly, and such ethical imperatives of the Hebrew Christian tradition are caricatured in a theatre of illusion and delusion where the main character and his supporters claim the blessing and support of God who in Jesus was redconciling - get that word - reconciling the world to himself.
The second important word is "Yes". The inner assent of mind, heart, conscience and soul to the executive orders of the Prince of Peace, the Word made flesh, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, the reconciler par exellence, crucified and risen. It is that Yes, that makes it imperative I say No, and do so from that morally decisive place, between anger and hope. As the sun rose yesterday, and the dull grey-green-beige landscape lit up, I realised yet again that anger and hope require those two words; and the wisdom and faith to use them informed by the values of Jesus.