Jesus Christ stands among us, alive forevermore, as we approach Good Shepherd Sunday, marked each year soon after Easter. Consider the strong words of Jesus:
I am the Good Shepherd. . .I know my own and they know me. . .I lay down my life for the sheep. . .so there will be one flock, one shepherd. – John 10: 14
We can be certain of the compassionate, shepherding care of God. God’s care envelopes the family of George Floyd. It surrounds people of color disproportionately impacted by police brutality. It is available to public servants who seek to guard the well-being of all people. It is even afforded to those who act in violent and murderous ways.
Christ the Good Shepherd knows all the sheep. The mission of our United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The Good Shepherd gathers, strengthens, and protects the one flock for this good work of ministry. We pray, work, and witness for the world where God’s will is done on earth as in heaven. In the conviction of Derek Chauvin, we see movement toward accountability, equity, and healing.
Let us pray, seeking the wisdom of God, the character of Jesus Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
We offer our prayers to you, Good Shepherd Jesus Christ. You know and love every person you create. Each soul is precious to you, and so you lead us toward still water, restoration, and right paths. We continue to grieve the violent death of George Floyd as we pray for his family and for every community in lament. We pray for people of color, acknowledging before you, O God, the work of equity that still lies before us. We pray for Derek Chauvin and for your saving grace in his life. We pray for public servants and police officers: grant them compassion and courage to recreate community safety for all people. We pray for a healed and transformed world where all people experience abundant life. Prepare a table of abundance in this world, anoint your servants with the oil of healing and holiness, and grant to all people in these days goodness and mercy. Amen.
May your lay and clergy leadership guide God’s people into love and life in this time and always,
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward