Articles, Essays & Sermons

Labor’s bread and lovers’ roses

A Labor Day meditation

by Ken Sehested

My primary Labor Day memory comes from seminary days. I was assistant pastor at a church in New York City [Think: Typing a stencil and mimeographing the Sunday worship bulletin, etc., etc.], and for several years running I was the designated preacher on Labor Day weekend. The congregation shrank to 8-10 people that Sunday, given the New Yorker tradition of leaving town in August, returning on September’s first Monday evening.

Right: Art by Ricardo Levins Morales

My favorite Labor Day tradition (unfortunately cancelled this year) is also a churchly affair. Members of my congregation hike in the Black Mountains east of Asheville, then convene under a picnic shelter in a nearby park for a leisurely, intergenerational potluck dinner and conversation, with plenty of playground equipment and a gentle stream for wading. Read more ›

Testifying on my beloved’s birthday

On the occasion of her 7 August 2020 birthday

by Ken Sehested

Once a year in August my beloved catches up to me. For 14 weeks from late April, I maintain seniority in the house of age. But then, in the dog days of summer, I lose my precedence. To be truthful, though, neither of us relish the accumulation of candles on our cake.

Oh the joy of these decades of trips around the sun, and these near-50 years (counting the courtship) of pledged troth, our wedding topped off with a make-your-own-banana split reception: Me in my burgundy red velour suit, frilly shirt, and bow tie; she in a breathtakingly gorgeous gown handmade by my Mom.

Much bread and plenty of roses are in the rear view mirror. Beautiful babies and more beautiful grands. I was able to cut the umbilical chords of most of those. It was, comparatively, lightweight work. Read more ›

The US Postal Service and the struggle for democracy

by Ken Sehested

Who would have thought that Mr. McFeely, the lovable deliveryman and avatar for our nation’s postal carriers on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” could be the flash point of a fierce struggle for the preservation of democratic institutions in the US.

Of course, Mr. McFeely worked for “Speedy Delivery,”  and because of copyright laws couldn’t sport a United States Postal Service (USPS) logo.

Time was, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Now, with the pandemic making life dangerous in long lines at polling places, the USPS has become the center of a big time partisan spat. Our president and many of his minions vote by mail but do not want hoards of citizens doing the same. Read more ›

Good news on the environmental front

Six very significant wins for Mama Earth

by Ken Sehested

In an attention-deficit-disordered culture, alongside a news cycle that feels like a gerbil on a spinning wheel track, important news often goes unnoticed.

Taken together, in just the past few weeks, six dramatic actions on slowing ecological disaster are worth celebrating—even when you recognize that we’re still in deep doo-doo with regard to our climate crisis.

#1-3. Within a 24-hour period in the US, “three major oil and gas pipelines were stymied—two by court decisions and one by economic pressures—in moves that represent a suite of successes for the indigenous and environmental activists long opposed to pipeline development.” Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic Read more ›