Sermon from May 10 – The Goodness of the Lord
The Goodness of the Lord
Easter V; May 10, 2020
I’m going to say a strange thing: every year I look forward to Lent. There are a few reasons for that, but this one in particular: during Lent, Psalm 27 is the psalm for the morning every Thursday. I love Psalm 27: its expression of faith, its confidence that the Lord will take us in if our families reject us, and especially one line: “This I believe – that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”
A lot of the time we people of faith can have our vision set on “what’s on the other side.” Some of our most fun songs go there, singing about “flying away” to “Canaan land” when “the roll is called up yonder” and so forth. But I don’t want us to get so heavenly-minded that we’re of no earthly use to anyone. And besides, when the Bible talks about faith and hope, it says that we have faith that God is involved in our lives now, and we have hope that God is using us for good now. And so I say with the poet, “This I believe – that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”
My Mother was a woman of that sort of faith. From my Dad I learned about duty: I learned about disciplined giving to the Church, about following through on your promises, about showing up whether you feel like it or not. But from my Mom I learned about faith. When she agreed with her oncologist’s recommendation to stop chemo and begin hospice care, she said, “I’m on God’s time now.” When the Pastor came to her home to give her communion, she wanted to sing, “It is Well with My Soul.” Now that is from the last six months of her life, but she lived that sort of faith all the 58 years I knew her. “This I believe – that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”
We’ve asked a few folks to respond to the question, “How did your Mother influence your faith?” Let’s hear from them.
Readers: You really should look at the video. The stories and comments from church members (and the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly) will encourage you.
You may remind me that today we are worshiping God, not Mother, but it’s also wise to remember those who have had a positive influence on our faith in God. For some of you, that is not your Mother. It may be your Father, or another relative, or a neighbor, or a college chaplain. Not everyone has had a mother who helped us learn to trust in God.
So whoever that is in your life, I ask you today to give thanks for whoever had a positive impact on you, so that you can live in this confidence: “This I believe – that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” And if you haven’t had such a person, and you want to know more about the God who inspires such confidence, be in touch. I will be glad to hear from you. It isn’t always an easy road to walk, but the road of faith is marked with signs that help me: “This I believe – that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”
Robert A. Keefer
Presbyterian Church of the Master