Litanies & Prayers

Water of life

A baptismal prayer

by Ken & Nancy Hastings Sehested

We thank you, God, for water.
By it you give life to plants,
Animals, and all humankind.

We thank you that in the beginning
your Spirit of creation moved over
Read more ›

Christ as Lord?

A litany for worship inspired by Ephesians 3:1-12

by Ken Sehested

And what do we mean when we speak of the Lordship of Christ? Is this to say that the Holy One is the ultimate author of vengeance and retribution? Of demeaning power and humiliation?

No, a thousand times, NO! The Lordship of Christ speaks of the coming end of all lording, of the day when the cords of subjugation will unravel.

Is the Abba of Jesus simply a cruel human father writ large and limitless? Does the Power of Heaven reside in threat against any who refuse to bend the knee? Is the Creator, finally, a terrorist? Read more ›

Give officials your justice

A litany for worship inspired by Psalm 72:1-7

by Ken Sehested

One: Give our elected officials your justice, O God.

All: And your righteousness to all who follow them in office.

One: May they judge your people with righteousness, and give justice to your poor. Read more ›

Take my life and let it be

A litany for worship on New Year's Day

by Ken Sehested

Take my life and let it be / consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
    In all seasons, in every shape and condition of our lives,
      transform our minds and hearts in ways that magnify the rule of Mercy:

In ways that conform to Your extravagant and redemptive purposes;
    in our hopes and promises, in our joys and our sorrows,
Read more ›

I arise today

A litany for worship

by Ken Sehested,

Wake up, sleepy-head! Rouse yourselves, all you who have been sedated by the mindless blather coming from statehouse and church house alike. Knock some sense into each other, all you who have come to believe that that strength comes from your own hand, that security is held by your own harness.

With my own eyes I saw the Blessed One before me: Christ above me, Christ before me. Christ behind me, Christ within me.

Let loose your timid tongue to declare Mercy’s approach in response to Mary’s supplication. Raise hearts of gladness for the annulment of enmity. Let your body’s senses relish the hope of Heaven’s embrace. Read more ›

Joseph

A litany for worship inspired by Matthew 1:18-25

by Ken Sehested
{Adapted as a litany for worship from a longer poem by the same name.}

Joseph. Obscured brother, consigned to the margins of Incarnation’s story. Calloused hands now shield the shame of face disgraced.

Thoughts of Mary smudge the heart as tears smear the cheek. Betrothed of Mary now bulging with child. Whose? How, and Why?

Unable to provide more than squalid accommodation in your beloved’s night of travail. Enduring embarrassed encounters with wild-eyed shepherds and strangely-clothed pilgrims from obscure and distant lands, each with incredulous stories of starry encounters. Read more ›

Testimony time of terror (3)

Standing with the Word of God, for the earth and against the world: A litany for worship

by Ken Sehested

One: Our nation is at war, and our hearts are torn. The seeds of fear are planted in terror and harvested in violence.

All: How long, O Lord, how long?

One: The dream of a new order birthed in justice and baptized in mercy has been ruptured by the nightmare of bloody enmity. Read more ›

Come Unto Me

A litany for worship inspired by Matthew 11:28-30

by Ken Sehested

Fretfully does my heart drag its heels into the sanctuary of delight. For my wanton days and weary praise reveal the toll taken by life’s relentless demands.

Come unto me, and I shall give you rest.

To where shall I appeal for release from such encumbrance? To whom shall I entreat to lay these burdens down? Read more ›

Spirits collide

A conversation with Isaiah 35

by Ken Sehested

A meditation written in the fall of 1990 as half a million US troops mustered in Saudia Arabia
for an assault (The Gulf War) on Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait. It was the presence of
these troops in one of Islam’s most sacred terrains that provoked Osama bin Laden
to create al-Qaeda to launch his terror campaign.

O God, I am frightened. Anxious are my waking hours and fretful is my sleep. Even as I pray I sense that desert sands in remote places are readied, eager, to bleach the bones of mothers’ sons, fathers’ daughters, children of us all. The corrupt, lustful glory of vain rulers now erupts across parched land. Hear our prayer, O Lord. Read more ›

My soul magnifies you

A contemporary midrash on the Magnificat, inspired by Luke 1:46-55

by Ken Sehested

My soul magnifies you, O Lord, and my spirit rejoices in your Saving Presence.

Everything in me comes alive when you look in my direction.

No longer will I languish among the unnamed, the unknown, the unworthy. Read more ›