Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
I’ve shared this before, but I think it bears repeating. My mother had a favorite saying that really meant a lot to me: “Ya done good!” It was like music to my ears! It was a wonderful feeling when Mom complimented me: “Ya done good!”
On the day of my ordination, my father gave a speech. (My mother had died a few years before.) At the end of that speech my father said: “Your mother is in Heaven, looking down today, saying to you with me, ‘Ya done good.’”
My mother had another favorite phrase, one I didn’t like to hear: “You’re rotten to the core!” In some ways my mother was a master of exaggeration. Rotten to the core?!?! I’m like an apple with nothing good about it at all?!?! Though it’s a literal exaggeration, I know I sometimes deserved the admonition!
God’s love is a “Ya done good” love. Even though we have sinned, even though we’ve fallen short, even though we’ve missed the mark, God will forgive us. God alone has the power to make us “un-rotten!”
Becoming “un-rotten” is actually a miracle made possible by God’s grace. Thanks be to God for that grace!
I believe a primary channel of God’s grace is the people of God. God often makes us “un-rotten” by giving divine love through people. The love of God is love that’s meant to be shared.
So, let’s give a strong, healthy “Ya done good” to someone else (use other words, especially if you want correct grammar!) As those who receive the blessings and grace of God, we’re called to share that love with others. We can actually help others get “un-rotten!” We can help them know that they are loved. “Love one another,” Jesus said, “as I have loved you.”
I have this idea that, one day, I’ll stand before the Throne of God in Heaven for my personal judgment. I’ll be remembering all my sins, failures, and short-comings. I probably even feel “rotten to the core.” Will God give me what I think I deserve? Absolutely not!
In a recent sermon, I referred to the show “Inside the Actor’s Studio” where one of the questions asked of celebrities near the end of every show: “What you would like to hear God say when you get to heaven.” Based on the sermon, the obvious answer was “Ya Done Good!”
Yes, I hope to hear that, but there’s a TWIST! This is what I believe will happen: God will turn, not to me, but to his very own Son, Christ Jesus, and say “Ya done good!” And THAT’S why I will be granted entrance into the eternal life God has planned for me. It’s not what I’ve done — it’s what Jesus did for me, and for all humanity! There’s no greater news that this GOOD NEWS! AMEN!