In my last post I offered the reflections of Dr. Alexandre Kalmiros on the question, “Is God good?”
Let me continue on that thought.
As a child, one of the first prayers I learned was this one.
God is Great, God is good;
Let us thank Him for our food.
By His hands we all are fed,
Give us Lord our daily bread. Amen.
It is my personal conviction that the biggest “faith question” a human being faces in his or her life is not “Does God exist?” The biggest question is, “Is God good?”
Personally, I have to confess, somewhere along the way and at several points in time, I began to articulate a paradigm of salvation that did not, when critiqued, actually proclaim salvation as the work of the “good God.” I used the word “love” and meant it. But, I came to realize, by fits and starts that my message was deeply inconsistent at times although the inconsistency was subtle.
Thus, my off and on circuitous journey to embrace the message of the salvation offered by the truly good God began.
C.S. Lewis struggled profoundly with despair after the death of his wife, Helen Joy, in 1960. They had only been married for three years. He invites us into his struggle in his work, A Grief Observed. An excerpt that addresses the inevitable question, “Is God good?,” that the death of a loved one provokes can be found here.
All of us, as Christians, need to let the Holy Spirit put our paradigm of the meaning and functionality of Christianity to the test with this question. Only then will we be able to believe and mean that the gospel is really “Good News.”
Indeed, it is the underlying conviction that God is good that governs the wording of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. We proclaim the goodness of God over and over throughout the Liturgy,
“For You are a good and loving God, and to You we give glory, to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen…
We have seen the True Light! We have received the Heavenly Spirit! We have found the True Faith! Worshiping the Undivided Trinity, Who has saved us…
Let our mouths be filled with Thy praise O Lord, that we may sing of Thy glory; for Thou hast made us worthy to partake of Thy Holy, Divine, Immortal and Life-creating Mysteries. Keep us in Thy holiness, that all the day we may meditate upon Thy righteousness. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
May He Who rose from the dead, Christ our true God, a good, loving, and merciful God, have mercy upon us and save us…”