It is “good, right, and salutary …”

Those who have been an active participant in Lutheran worship for any significant amount of time will likely recognize this phrase and especially the three adjectives that begin the Proper Preface in the Divine Service.

Good, right, and salutary

“It is truly good, right, and salutary that we should…” are the words that remind us that giving thanks and praise to our God is not only helpful but a necessary activity, especially as we are preparing to consecrate the bread and wine of the Holy Communion as the body and blood of Christ.

I used those words in conversation with a brother Lutheran pastor the other day, but in a different sort of context. I ended up suggesting this to him as a criteria for making a decision on a particular course of action.  As in “I’m trying to decide if I should…” and then one thing led to another and I’m hearing myself saying, “Well, is it good, right and salutary to…”?

That’s when it occurred to me. Maybe this should be a criteria I use for plenty of other decisions, both for me personally and in my life as a pastor and leader.  When you take a moment to make a decision, consider the following:

  • Is it good? As compared to bad or even evil. Is it consistent with what God desires?
  • Is it right? As in according to God’s commands, leading to or at least consistent with the righteousness of God?
  • Is it salutary? That is, is it beneficial to you or to others? Or, in my case, does it contribute to the well-being of the entire congregation of God’s people? 

As with any standard, it has its limit. But the more I considered it, the more I came to the conclusion that nearly every decision I make could be judged by this criteria. But since our mission as God’s people is not necessarily to be successful when judged by the world’s standards but, rather to extend the ministry of the kingdom of God as the body of Christ, it does seem to fit.

Heavenly Father, help us, we pray, to seek always your kingdom and your desire. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Peace and joy,