Saying yes to God’s earth

I’m having a hard time remembering what day it is this week. My wife and I spent last Friday through Sunday in Georgia with much of her family for her niece’s wedding (outdoor with the temperature around 107). This week we had a holiday in the middle of the week. It didn’t help that my mind was still back in the 1930s and 1940s thinking about Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life.

Bonhoeffer’s closest friend was married during the war to Bonhoeffer’s niece and Bonhoeffer himself became engaged shortly before his imprisonment, but his continuous imprisonment that ended in his execution prevented his wedding. In some ways it seems out of place for people to become engaged and be married in the midst of all the horror going on in Germany at that time, but Bonhoeffer did not see it that way. In a letter that he wrote from prison to his fiancée, Maria, he described their plans for marriage as an act of faith and said “our marriage must be a “yes” to God’s earth.”

As we were celebrating the wedding in Georgia, I thought about how marriage is a “yes” to God’s earth and all he has created. Marriage says yes to love and faithfulness and commitment. It says yes to an enjoyment of the life that we have on this earth in which we are more than just unembodied spirits. It says yes to the creation of new life and the possibility of future generations.

I thought too about the contrast of saying yes to God’s earth through marriage at a time when such a profound “no” was being said to God’s good creation through the killing of multitudes who were mentally disabled or who had Jewish heritage, and the needless destruction of a war being waged to lift up an insane leader’s ego.

As we face the ethical issues of our day we also need to say yes to God’s earth and all that he has created. We especially need to say yes to the value of the lives of human beings who have been made in his image. We must never forget the horrors of a time when resounding no was said by those who claimed that there were some lives that were not worth living and put millions of people made in God’s image to death.

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