“Bloom with Repose: The Power of Love” by Kelsey Creech, Resident Seminarian

August 26th,2021 Categories: Weekly Letter

Dearly Beloved,

We had some technical difficulties getting service going last Sunday and we are so deeply grateful for your patience and for the encouragement in the comments of each of you. Thank you for staying and for choosing to “go in” with the Park.

This week, I’m putting us in conversation with a bit of Rock history. We’re talking about Jimi Hendrix, the guitarist and justice seeker. Hendrix, arguably the best instrumentalist in the history of Rock music, expanded the sounds and uses of the electric guitar like no one else ever has. As he played and gained recognition for his unique creativity, he slowly reclaimed title to that musical form, Rock & Roll, pioneered by black innovators like Little Richard and Chuck Berry in the 1950s.

Beyond our memory of him as a deeply influential guitarist, we have a cultural memory of Jimi Hendrix dropping words of deep wisdom to those around him.  One such phrase lives on the bulletin board by my desk:

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then the world will know peace.”

This week, we’re reading from the Book of Psalms. Specifically, Psalm 15. This is a reflective psalm written by King David. David suggests here what it takes to enter God’s presence and be welcomed. His words remind me of Jimi Hendrix’s. Let’s read together Psalm 15:

1Who has the right to enter your tent, YHWH, 
or to live on your holy mountain?
2Those who conduct themselves with integrity 
and work for justice, 
who speak the truth from their heart 
3 and do not use their tongues for slander, 
who do not wrong their neighbors 
and cast no discredit on their friends, 
4 who look with contempt on the corrupt 
but honor those who revere YHWH, 
who always keep their promises 
even when it hurts,
5 who don’t demand interest on loans 
and cannot be bribed to exploit the innocent. 
If people do these things, 
nothing can ever shake them.

[Psalms 15 (ILB)/ Salmos 15 (NVI)]

David has produced for us a non-exhaustive, yet quite rigorous, list of what the words and actions of the faithful ought to be. As the psalmist describes the traits of someone able to enter the tent of God and live on God’s holy mountain, we see an emphasis on righteousness, justice, and action. We see an emphasis on an active love for others.

The psalmist details that those who can enter God’s tent work for justice with integrity, speak truth with compassion, and use their words to build others up. They despise corruption and keep their word no matter the cost.  They cannot be bought and do not exploit others. These are the makings of a righteous individual. These are the results of loving others more than we love power.

As we move towards righteousness for ourselves and in this world, may we learn to live as one whom God will allow in God’s tent. May we work towards justice with integrity, speak truth in love, and keep our promises, always. May we always value love over power. May we love God, others, and ourselves with the same love God holds for us.
Know you are loved, friends, and I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday!

Rock On,

Kelsey Creech, Resident Seminarian