A life is made up of days. God made evening and morning, the first day, and from that time on, each day has been a gift from God’s creative hand. And we are alive today because God breathed into us again this day the breath of life. This can be a good day.
But what makes a good day? The musical Oklahoma speaks of a beautiful morning, a wonderful feeling, everything going my way. And I guess usually when we speak of the good days we mean we get stuff done, we are productive, bad things don’t happen, and we live well. But tucked away in a little corner of Paul’s letter to the Romans the Apostle writes concerning the people of God, “Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. … We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or we die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:7,8).
None of us does that perfectly, of course. And we often don’t even know if we have contributed to our loved ones’ having a good day, whether we have loved both them and the day as unto the Lord. But above all, surely, the good days are times when we are part of God’s loving us and those around us into life.
I remember such a day.
On Easter Sunday afternoon, in 1964, at historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, Billy Graham preached. Some said and say his theology was off, some that he was just an emotion manipulating sensationalist, some that he was too Fundamentalist. But on that day Legion Field was integrated for the first time. I am deeply grateful that he came to Birmingham, and that I was there. I learned many years later that my future wife was there, too, though I had not yet met her; she was part of a contingent of Episcopal youth. It was a good day.
Bishop Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, described the crusades and ministry of the Rev. Billy Graham as “… gracious, welcoming, and deeply grounded in the love that is the way of Jesus.” He went on to say, “ Before it was popular or widely accepted, Billy Graham required that his crusades must be interracial without a hint of segregation in the body of Christ at worship. Before the ecumenical movement had really taken hold in the culture, Billy Graham’s crusades were intentionally ecumenical. He was spiritual adviser to presidents and leaders of the nation, from both political parties, from many persuasions. As a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, he related to people of many faiths with genuine respect and a manner of love, reflecting the very spirit and teaching of Jesus. He was truly a man of God, a follower of Jesus, and a witness that there really is a more excellent way for the human family.”
The good days make a difference for life, for love, for the good of our families, our friends, for a more excellent way in our world. Billy Graham enjoyed and gave a bunch of good days. Like that Easter Sunday in Birmingham.
This is our time to choose, to live, and to give a good day.