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April 28, 2021: What Is Good?

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NIV).

“Do you remember me? Do you remember when I came to visit you?” The woman wasn’t yelling, but she was talking loudly as she moved purposefully toward the stage where I was presiding over graduation. Maybe it was because we were outside. Maybe it was because she was trying to get my attention. Or maybe it was because she might say something I didn’t want to hear. In the moment, in that context, I couldn’t place her face.

“I came to your office with my daughter because she was struggling at the college, and we asked you for another chance,” she said.

I held my breath. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God. What had justice required? What had mercy directed? My mind raced. In that instant, I desperately hoped that in that earlier encounter I had asked myself the question I often do: What would a good leader do in this situation? And I hoped that God had shown me in that situation what was good, and what justice, mercy and humility required.

“You gave her another chance,” she continued. “And here she is on the stage with you today!”

Together, we three drank in the joy of that moment, basking in the thrill of a second chance, a hard-won victory, a completion, a commencement.

I cried then. I’m crying now. Tears of joy and praise to a God who still shows us what is good.

Lord, show us what is good, just, merciful and humble. Amen.

Nate Brandstater is the president of Kettering College in Ohio.


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