“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)
“What’s good?” is one of my favorite greetings, even if it is a bit too casual for someone of my age to pull of on a daily basis. It’s a nice alternative to the somewhat tired, “How are you?”
There are many things in our community and world right now that are not so good. Even and especially in the midst of such realities, we should regularly ask ourselves, “What’s good?” So now, friends of First Lutheran, I turn that question on you. If you were to make a list of things in your life that are good right now, what would make the list? Maybe your list of “what’s good” includes a well-producing garden, a rewarding volunteer role, a peaceful living situation, a beloved animal companion, or cherished relationship.
In this weekend’s reading from Romans, St. Paul urges us to “hold fast to what is good.” “Hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good” describes a Christian’s orientation to the whole of life, even in the face of suffering, evil, illness, and disaster.
Regularly reflecting on (and giving thanks for) the good in our lives and world is a rewarding spiritual discipline. However, many things in life that we experience as good can appear on – and disappear from - that list at any moment. One good gift always remains – God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. No matter what we gain or lose, suffer or experience, achieve or destroy, God’s love and grace has been given to us as a free and everlasting gift. And that is what is always good.
Please join me in this simple prayer:
Good and gracious God, fill me with gratitude for your love in Jesus Christ. Amen.
p.s. Those affected by Hurricane Harvey stand in need of your prayers and help. Learn about what Lutheran Disaster Response is doing on the ground using this link. Give, pray, and be part of the efforts to "contribute to the needs of the saints (and) extend hospitality to strangers." (Romans 12:13)