ECCLESIOLOGICAL ETCHINGS March 11, 2023 What defines "good"? This is both a challenging and subjective question. How someone defines a good pillow, a good TV show, or good music is based on multiple factors, but in most cases, good is subjective. What makes a good person? Or a good community? Or a good nation? There is not a single characteristic by which everyone will be able to determine whether or not something is good. In the 10th chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus has been teaching about gates and sheep, but in v. 11 he sort of gets to the point. He says, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." Jesus refers to himself as the good shepherd and then gives specific attributes by which good can be measured. Good is measured and determined by self-sacrificing acts, most clearly expressed in the cross. Probably 99.9% of the things I describe as good have sacrificed nothing, except for the really good chicken I had the other night. It sort of sacrificed everything. My point is that Jesus set the bar quite high in regard to what is good, and though few of us will die for others, are there other ways we truly sacrifice for the sake of others? Maybe I’m watering down Jesus’ definition of good, but I tend to believe we participate in that goodness with each act of self-giving, self-sacrificing — usually in the form of love.
You are good, O God, and your love has always challenged our understanding of what is good. Amidst the many voices attempting to rewrite your definition of good, we turn ourselves to Jesus and his magnificent life of goodness. Amen.