A sermon preached by the Very Rev. Mike Kinman at Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday, August 25, 2013
God is good. All the time.
Now, when I say, “All the time,” you say: “God is good.”
All the time. God is good.
Now let’s put those together and try it again.
God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.
Again – God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.
The most powerful truths are usually the simplest ones. They are the truths that we need to come back to when things get too complex, or when we start to drift off course, when we start to forget what we’re really supposed to be about. When some of our ancestors declared our independence from England they said their action was based on some powerful, simple, self-evident truths. That all men were created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Simple truths. Powerful truths.
Throughout our history as a nation, we have come back to those sentences as our touchstone. We came back to them when we wrestled with our “peculiar institution” of slavery and decided that the black man was not just 3/5 of a man but created equal and endowed with those same unalienable rights.
We came back to those sentences when we wrestled with how the phrase “all men” left out half of the population of our nation and decided that it really wasn’t just all men but all people – men and women -- who are created equal and endowed with those rights.
And we come back to those sentences even today as anyone who is not white is more likely to be searched during a police traffic stop and less likely to be asked back for a second job interview.
We come back to those sentences today as anyone who is not male is more likely to be sexually harassed in the workplace and less likely to be hired in an executive position. We come back to those sentences and we realize as Americans that though we have come far, there is still a long way to go.
As Christians, we have our own truths that we hold self-evident. Simple truths. Powerful truths. Truths like God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.
This truth is our gift. It is God’s gift to us, and it is the gift we get to give to the world.
First -- that God is good.
Never underestimate the power of this truth. God is good is the truth that stands against any evil and guarantees that evil will never get the last word. Because it is a truth that cannot be changed even in the face of horrible tragedy or the deepest brokenness. No matter what, God is good.
God is good means that whatever sin happens, redemption is possible. God is good means that whatever brokenness happens, healing is possible. God is good means that whatever death happens, new life is possible. God is good means that whenever someone tells us how awful things are. How poverty is up and education is down. How women are being sold on the streets and not paid in the workplace. God is good means that whenever we see the hungry going unfed and the sick going untended and the prisoner going unvisited we know not only that it’s not supposed to be that way. We know not only that it doesn’t have to be that way. We know that we get to be the ones whom God uses to make the change happen.
In Jesus name, we get to be the ones who proclaim that even though so much is bad, that God is good. In Jesus name, we get to be the ones whom God works through to bring redemption out of sin, bring healing out of brokenness, even bring life out of death.
In Jesus name, we get to be the ones who in here and out there say no matter what, God is good.
And when is God good? All the time.
That’s right. God is good … All the time.
In this morning’s Gospel, Jesus is teaching on the Sabbath. Now everyone knows the Sabbath is the right time for teaching, so Jesus is OK there. But then something happens. A woman comes up with a spirit that had crippled her for 18 years.
Now, if you were looking for evidence that God is good, you would not have looked to this woman. She was stooped over and pitiful and no one there could remember when she hadn't been that way. Oh, that’s Mabel. As far as we can remember, she’s always been that way. There’s nothing anybody can do.
But Jesus looked at her, and he not only knew that God is good. He knew that God is good when?
All the time. That’s right.
Now the synagogue leader might have thought God was good, but he didn’t get the “all the time” part. The synagogue leader might have believed that God was good. But as far as that woman was concerned, he was more like: “God is good … maybe tomorrow.”
But Jesus knew that if God is good all the time, it means that it is always the time to show that God is good. And so he called her over. He laid his hands on her. He told her she was set free. And for the first time in nearly 20 years she stood up straight.
And do you know what she said when she did? She said: “God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.”
As followers of Jesus, we are ambassadors of Christ, and we have been given the ministries of proclamation and reconciliation. Of going out into the world in Jesus name, going to the places where there is the most profound pain and the deepest brokenness and bring the message of God’s goodness not just in word but in deed. And because the simple, powerful truth is not just that God is good but that God is good when?
All the time!
Because the simple, powerful truth is that God is good all the time and all the time God is good, it means that NOW is the time. NOW is the time for us to proclaim God’s goodness in word and deed. NOW is the time for us to believe God’s goodness in our lives. NOW is the time for us to show God’s goodness out there. NOW is the time to call the city into this place and to go out and meet the people where they are and be a beacon of that truth for a city that needs it.
Jesus tells us today that God’s goodness doesn’t sit around and wait for tomorrow. And we know that. It’s why this week, Lafayette Preparatory Academy opened in this building, bringing the good news of quality free education to 75 kids, many of whose options for good schools were slim and none. We are partners in that mission because we know that if God is good all the time, then NOW is the time to proclaim boldly that God is good.
It’s why right now, we’re working to open Magdalene St. Louis, and not only bring God’s gift of redemption, healing and new life to women on the streets right now who will become part of that community, but to be a part of a movement to transform the way women are treated not just in our nation but around the world. Because if God is good all the time, then NOW is the time to proclaim boldly that God is good.
It’s why when you look around you this morning, you see Debbie Nelson Linck’s collages for St. Louis’ 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington that was held in this nave yesterday morning. Because Dr. King’s dream is not yet realized, and this Cathedral has a role to play in making that dream happen not tomorrow or the next day but right now. Because if God is good all the time, then NOW is the time to proclaim boldly that God is good.
It’s why if we were to go around this congregation this morning we would find that there are tens and even hundreds of ways we as followers of Jesus are out in the world every week proclaiming that God is good all the time. Living our baptisms and being ambassadors of Christ’s love.
Because as followers of Jesus we see the deep brokenness of the world and we do not despair. We do not fall back. We join hands and like Jesus and with Jesus we dive into the heart of the brokenness, we dive into the depth of the despair.
Yes, we need to do it thoughtfully, collaboratively, systemically and prayerfully. But we don’t wait until tomorrow to do it. We don’t wait until the people in power say the time is right. We do it right now.
Because Jesus has shown us a simple and powerful truth. One we need to come back to when things get too complex, or when we start to drift off course or when we start to forget what we’re really supposed to be about.
Jesus has shown us that …
God is good. All the time.
and …. All the time. God is good. Amen.