[#pictureLent] March 25: GOODNESS

By Rev. Nico Romeijn-Stout
St. John United Methodist Church
Anchorage, AK

First, read Psalm 23:5-6 

Maybe because I had just made biscuits using her recipe, but when I sat down to prepare this devotion, the smells of Grandma’s kitchen came to mind as I read the Psalm and dwelt on the word “Goodness.” 

There aren’t many things that say goodness more than a loving, homemade meal. 

I remember pulling up to grandma’s house late many evenings and coming inside to find a hearty snack  waiting on the table for me and my brothers (sometimes, but not really my enemies). We’d wake up the next morning to cereal, fruit (often from the orchard out back), and fresh baked muffins. Pure goodness. 

I often hope that the Kingdom of God will smell like fresh baked breads and desserts, and that the feeling of entering God’s Kingdom will be even better than walking into my Grandma’s kitchen. 

It is no surprise that the 23rd Psalm is so often read in times of sorrow and grief. The Psalmist’s words and images are easily relatable, and overflowing with the reminder that at the core of our relationship with God is the goodness God desires for us.

As God calls us back to the paths of righteousness, back to the paths God invites and desires us to follow, the promise of goodness is there waiting for us. The promise of dwelling in the house of the LORD; of sitting down to a warm cup of coffee and fresh spread of the finest foods at God’s kitchen table. 

The promise is there time and time again in scripture. God desires this for us. Yet what stops us from claiming it? 

Do we get stuck in the darkest valleys? 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us our whole lives long. May we be bold enough to look for them, to claim them as the gifts of grace from God. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions: 

1. As you read Psalm 23:5-6, what images of goodness and mercy does it conjure up in your mind? 
2. What do you think the kingdom of God smells like? 
3. What is it that keeps you from claiming the promises of goodness and mercy?