I will put my law within them

Choral reading of Jeremiah 31:31-34

by Ken Sehested
Introduction: Choral readings (this one for five voices) are an effective way to enrich and dramatize the hearing of biblical texts in worship. See preparation instructions at bottom.

The days are surely coming,    [1]

says the Lord,   [all] Read more ›

A Village Named My Lai

A Post-war Reflection

by Earl Martin

         I sit by the ditch.

         The slight breeze murmurs through the tropical pines at the ditch’s edge. Sugar cane sparrows and swallows fill the air with their own chirps and warbles. Roosters crow at distant farmsteads, and conical-hatted farmers scratch the sandy ground with broad-bladed hoes. A sleek iridescent lizard makes her way down the ditch’s side toward a few inches of water at the bottom. She looks casually for some insects to make her a mid-morning snack.

         Despite the rustles, all is quiet at My Lai this morning. Read more ›

When Scripture gets testy

A rant and riff on Jeremiah 7–8:3

by Ken Sehested

Remember that time when Jeremiah failed to accentuate the positive?

“The word from On High came to crotchety Jeremiah: Stand in the gate of the YHWH’s house and announce: Thus says the Lord. Assess your days and amend your ways. Do not rely on deceptive marketing campaigns, or say ‘God bless America,’ ‘God bless America,’ ‘God bless America.’

“For if you do well, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan and the widow, or shed innocent blood, then I will dwell with you. But see how my sanctuary has become an altar for violent design—Torah’s and Psalmist’s, Prophet’s and Gospel’s place usurped by gunmetal steel. Read more ›

Readings from Jewish, Christian and Islamic scripture and tradition

Prepared for "A Penitential Opportunity," worship resources for a service in commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre

§The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. . . . [God] raises up the poor from the dust [and] lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with the rulers and inherit a seat of honor. —1 Samuel 2:4-5, 8a

§You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also. . . . You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say unto you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. —Matthew 5:38-39, 43-44

§The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) said: Whoever is untrustworthy in his dealings has no faith, and whoever is not committed to his promises has no religion. —Bayhaqi

§By three things the world is preserved, by [restorative] justice, by truth, and by peace, and these three are one: if [restorative] justice has been accomplished, so has truth, and so has peace. —JT Ta'anit 4:2 Read more ›

Penitential Opportunity

A Liturgy of Grief and Resolve over the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam

Prelude – “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs” (Henryk Gorecki, Symphony No. 3, first movement, part two; Zofia Kilanowicz, soprano, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, directed by Antoni Wit)

{10 minutes. Begin playing 5 minutes before the service’s starting time.}    

*Opening Song – “Come, Ye Disconsolate”

Cantor: Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Read more ›