Articles, Essays & Sermons

There is a new creation

The Apostle Paul’s vision of the ministry of reconciliation

by Ken Sehested

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything
has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given
us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,
not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.
—2 Corinthians 5:17-19
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Essay in celebration of the global Youth Strike 4 Climate movement

Choosing between Wednesday’s penitential ashes vs. the scorched aftermath of Earth’s burning

by Ken Sehested

“God gave Noah the rainbow sign / No more water but the fire next time.”
—lyrics from the Negro spiritual “Mary Don’t You Weep”

        I haven’t been able to get Greta Thunberg’s face out of my mind, especially since Ash Wednesday. Read more ›

Good News for Yahoos - "The Year of the Lord's favor"

The emphasis on justice in the biblical theme of “jubilee," cf. Luke 4:14-21 & Isaiah 61:1-5

by Ken Sehested

In his first sermon, Jesus chose to read from Isaiah 61, an explicit references to the
covenant terms from Mt. Sinai regarding jubilee observance and its profound
project of social, political and economic restructuring.

{Written in 1998, prior to being a founding co-pastor of Circle of Mercy Congregation, Asheville, NC.) Read more ›

Wiseguys and One Scared King

A sermon based on Matthew 2:1-12

by Ken Sehested

Circle of Mercy Congregation
Asheville, NC
1 January 2012

      Eleven years ago—when the calendar turned from 2000 to 20001—I got inspired by the televised review of New Year’s celebrations around the world, starting in Australia, and stayed up to write a poem. Here’s a part of it—and, by the way, the reference to “Gregory” is about Pope Gregory. It was during his reign as Roman Catholic Pontiff in the 16th century that the Julian calendar was replaced by the Gregorian calendar.) Read more ›

Commentary on Colossians 3:12-17

1st Sunday after Christmas Day, Year C

by Ken Sehested

 

        Mohandas Gandhi is popularly known as one who confronted empires. Yet those who knew him, or have studied him since, acknowledge the Mahatma spoke often of a more complex struggle against tyranny. The conflict is not only with the British, he would say, but also within our own communities and “with myself.”  The Pauline vision generally, and the specific pastoral advice in this text, is rooted in just such a multidimensional understanding of reconciliation. There’s a seamlessness to the task which communities of faith are forever separating and assigning graded priority.

        Empires do dominate, then as now. But such domination has its claws in us, too. Which is why the struggle is not merely against “flesh and blood”—against particular personalities or ideologies which guide the beastly ravaging of governing regimes. The struggle is also against what Paul elsewhere spoke of as “principalities and powers,” the spirit of those regimes whose cunning capacity transcends political structures. We, too, who claim allegiance to God’s Reign, are standing in the need of prayer. Read more ›