“Bloom with Passion: The Good Shepherd” by Kelsey Creech, Resident Seminarian

April 22nd,2021 Categories: Weekly Letter
Beloved Church,

Today, you’re receiving the newsletter stylings of Kelsey Creech, your resident seminarian, as Rev. Stephanie has taken a well-deserved break from her work at The Park to participate in some continuing education through the Bethany Fellows program. She is looking forward to worshipping with our community this Sunday as she returns from her retreat.

This week held a crucial moment in the civic life of our nation. As we waited with bated breath for the verdict from the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, many prayers were said for justice. When Judge Cahill read the verdict finding Chauvin guilty of all three charges, I expected to breathe a sigh of relief, but instead, as the jury confirmed the accuracy of their verdict, I found myself crying.

We have not found justice; we have barely scratched the surface of accountability. There is so much work left to do. Even over the course of this trial, we’ve added an average of three victims a day to the list of those murdered by police, most recently 16 year old, Ma’Khia Bryant. #SayHerName

In our scripture for this week, I did find some hope. Here, we have Jesus identifying himself as the good shepherd, the uniter of sheep and flocks. I invite you to read this passage considering the unity to which the good shepherd leads us and the causes of disunity Jesus names. As you read, consider where the good shepherd is at work in our criminal justice system and where God’s voice is being stifled by evil and carelessness. Justice is not a goal but a continual process which can never be perfected. This process occurs hand in hand with God and each other as we follow where the good shepherd leads. It requires daily commitment to work and to hope as we follow Christ to somewhere we aren’t even sure exists. Committing ourselves to follow the good shepherd in hope, we read these words from the Gospel of John:

11 I am the good shepherd.

A good shepherd would die for the sheep.

12 The hired hand, who is neither shepherd

nor owner of the sheep,

catches sight of the wolf coming

and runs away,

leaving the sheep to be scattered

or snatched by the wolf.

13 That’s because the hired hand works only for pay

and has no concern for the sheep.

14 I am the good shepherd

I know my sheep

and my sheep know me,

15 in the same way Abba God knows me

and I know God—

and for these sheep

I will lay down my life.

16 I have other sheep

that don’t belong to this fold—

I must lead them too,

and they will hear my voice.

And then there will be one flock,

one shepherd.

17 This is why Abba God loves me—

because I lay down my life,

only to take it up again.

18 No one takes my life from me;

I lay it down freely.

I have the power to lay it down,

and I have the power to take it up again.

This command I received from my Abba.”

[John 10:11-18 (ILB)]

It is my prayer that more sheep and their flocks will join us as we continue to follow the voice of the Good Shepherd as God leads us towards and through justice, piece by piece.

It took multiple flocks following the good shepherd, rather than the hired hand, to get us here. From the girl who pulled out her phone to record the murder and the people who called the police on the police, to the voters of Minneapolis who elected Attorney General Keith Ellison, the state’s first Black attorney general, and the police chief who broke years of police silence and testified against his fellow officer, multiple sheep in multiple flocks listened and followed the voice of the good shepherd to bring us to this point.

Yours by Grace,

Kelsey Creech, Resident Seminarian