T-shirts seem to be the impetus for blog posts these days. About a month ago I wrote a blog about a t-shirt given to me that says “Mill Plain Strong at a distance.” Not long after that, two of our preschool teachers presented me with the t-shirt you see in this photo. This one says, “God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.” There is, of course, a story behind it.
For the last four years I have led chapel for our preschool a couple of times a month. I began to teach the children an opening litany, which we have used in worship occasionally as well. “God is good,” I would say to the children, and they would respond, “All the time.” I would then say, “All the time,” and they would respond, “God is good.” I would then add other descriptors of God: “God is Love, God is Strong, God is Wise, God is great,” and so forth.
These particular teachers somehow came across t-shirts with that initial litany. They bought shirts for themselves and one for me. I am delighted at their generosity and that they claimed that litany for themselves. The sad thing is that due to Covid precautions, this year I am not doing chapel for preschool so I can’t wear the t-shirt to preschool to share it with the children. Next year, I hope to have that chance, though that will surely include a different set of children.
I hold onto the truth in the litany. God is good, all the time. Right now, the world is going through a hard time and it may be tough to remember God’s goodness. Isolated in our homes, distance learning for children, illness and even death for way too many people, don’t feel good at all. I do not believe that God sent the pandemic to us. Not to teach us a lesson, not to punish us for some alleged infraction, not to show us how powerful God is. Sometimes stuff just happens. I DO believe that God brings good out of even the most horrific things. It can be hard to see that when you are in the middle of the hard stuff. So far, no one I love has died from Covid, so it is easy enough for me to be upbeat about it, but if/when I lose a dear one to this disease I will grieve just like I do when people I love die from other causes. In the same way, I have not experienced significant economic repercussions – and others have. I do not want to make light of the very real suffering people are enduring.
I do see good things. Maybe, just maybe, we are easing our burden on creation, though how significantly remains to be seen. We learn to treasure our interactions with others more deeply, to take personal hygiene more seriously, to honor frontline workers. As a church, we have learned to be a lot more intentional about reaching out to others within the congregation. We have developed new skills and begun an outreach through livestreaming our worship that we never would have done without the Covid push. Mill Plain UMC has always been a generous, faithful church and we have seen that even more during this pandemic. I see God’s hand at work in these ways and trust that God is at work in ways I cannot see yet, to bring good out of this bad time. Truly, God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.