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The Goodness of the Lord

The Goodness of the Lord

    In this world so often broken and bloody, the temptation (and a strong one it is) is to turn off the TV and retreat to the apparently safe corner of one's own life where, or so it seems, we have a measure of control.  Of course, we don't... exercise that much control, what with the incursions of accidents and illnesses...

    You get the picture: how easy it is to slip into John Bunyan's "slough of despond." 

    What we don't need in that emotional bog is someone telling us to think positively.  What we need is what Elijah had when he was feeling very sorry for himself, certain King Ahab would have him killed, certain too that he alone was left to stick up for the Lord.  He (I, even I only, am left) needed and got a correction of his arithmetic. That's the sermonic way my homiletics professor, Paul Scherer described it.  A recalculation.  A larger perspective.  A more generous (and accurate) an assessment.  

    In this regard, I commend to me and you a most appealing riff by old friend and theologian Doug Hall, on Psalm 27:13, "I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."  He takes it as a summons to rejoice in the life around us and in us.  No matter what. 

    Like a recent Sunday morning, at worship in a village church in Vermont, during the "moments of concern," a familiar voice, belonging to a college classmate, celebrated the peaking of the foliage and the glory of the green and golden hills all around us. I thought to myself, "Well, that's just Bill doing a little preaching."  A couple of minutes later a woman, in a voice breaking with emotion, asked us to pray for her daughter, a patient in a program in a hospital states away struggling with anorexia. The woman is Bill's wife... which adds a whole 'nother dimension to his celebration of the mountains.

    Seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living... if still struggling.

    Herewith are a few photos of the goodness of the Lord I have perceived in just one day of looking, recalculating, and correcting my arithmetic, when the aches of age and the horror of the headlines start to overwhelm. 

    For me, believing I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living is not only an article of faith, it's the evidence of experience.




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