I have recently finished a new book about Jimmy Creech's journey from pastor to minister with gay and lesbian people and eventual defrocking by the United Methodist Church. It is extremely well written. So much so that it brought back those days with a touch of post traumatic stress disorder and a review of what Rev. Amy DeLong is going through with her coming church trial [go to LoveOnTrial.org]. I could only read it in small bits.
Yes, I highly recommend it to you: Adam's Gift: A Memoir of a Pastor's Calling to Defy the Church's Persecution of Lesbians and Gays.
This is all prelude to this brief moment from the book that brings additional light to the iconic 23rd Psalm:
“Good morning, Jimmy, this is Bill Finlator. How are you?” Bill was calling from Raleigh early on Wednesday morning, March 11. Chris and I were in Omaha, packed and about to leave for Kearney [site of Jimmy's first trial]. The pretrial meeting was to begin at noon. Chris had answered the phone, chatted briefly with Bill, and then handed the phone to me. My mind was on the trial, and I was anxious. Bill’s familiar and cheerful voice relaxed me immediately.
“I’m okay,” I replied. “Nervous, but also calm in a strange way.”
Bill asked, “Did Mahan ever tell you his story about what he said when he was asked if had a particular Bible verse that comforted him during the controversy at Pullen?”
“No, I don’t think so,” I replied.
“Well, Mahan says he thought for a moment, then answered, ‘Well, yes, the twenty-third psalm. You know, the Lord is my shepherd, so . . . what the hell!’” Bill chuckled, and I laughed with him.
It was a welcome gift of humor and wisdom on the eve of an ominious three-day ordeal. Bill’s story helped to put my part in the trial into perspective. I knew that the trial, and the bigotry within The United Methodist Church and our society that had led to it, were much bigger and more important than I was. Whatever might happen to me was much less important than what the church decided. I wasn't really the one on trial. The United Methodist Church was.
“Don’t worry about a thing,” Bill said. “You’ve done the right thing, no matter how all this turns out.”
May you move this psalm back into a real comfort to you and not just fine old words.
Finish the sentence for yourself:
The Lord is my shepherd, so . . . ________________________.