Abigail Hastings

for thousands of years

A wedding call to worship

by Abigail Hastings
“Call to worship” for the wedding of
Jessica Sehested and Richard Mark, Saturday 6 May 2006

for thousands of years
people have gathered
under a grove of trees
or an expanse of sky
beside an altar of marble
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Wintering over

A call to worship in a chilly season

by Abigail Hastings

We sing ~
In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone ~
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Resilience Mojo for the Bonobo Year

A bleak midwinter sermon

by Abigail Hastings
Text: Jeremiah 31:31-34

I bring greetings from my home church, Judson Memorial in New York City, a sister Alliance and UCC church with deep Baptist roots as it’s a memorial to Adoniram Judson, missionary to Burma in the early 1800s. One thing I love about Judson is that it’s always full of surprises—always swimming upstream with the unexpected. I was at a church last month that had a humongous cross up front that reminded me of the 18-footer we had at Judson over 50 years ago. Then we decided it was more authentic to desacralize the space, to recognize the deep marriage of sacred and secular when you see it embodied, literally for example, in our space with the dancers and artists of the time (Judson is generally regarded as the birthplace of postmodern dance). So in that tradition of “guess what we’re doing now?” — Judson’s been having Bible study, ya’ll!

And not the easy parts—we’ve been muckin’ around with major and minor prophets, and recently studied today’s passage, Jeremiah 31. It’s a familiar prophetic playbook: basically, clean up your act, O Israel, or Yahweh will go elsewhere. What the Lord required was pretty basic: treat others fairly, don’t exploit the stranger, the orphan and widow, don’t shed innocent blood, and knock off following other gods.[1] Read more ›

When grief sits with you

A call to worship

by Abigail Hastings

The poet Ellen Bass talks about
when grief sits with you, “an obesity of grief,”
and asks, 
            How can a body withstand this?

“Then you hold life like a face,” she instructs us—
“and you say, yes, I will take you
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Call to Adventuring

A poem for Advent

by Abigail Hastings

We gather here by lambent light
            in from the cool and rain — rain on rain on rain….
            here to collect what light we can, shining in the darkness
                        — brave us —

but this is not the bleak midwinter — it is the barely winter
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