Litanies & Prayers

Strangers we were

A litany for worship inspired by Ephesians 2:11-22

by Ken Sehested

Listen, O people of the Way, and take note. Your ancestors were once illegal aliens in the land of Southern Appalachia.* Boat people, all of you, undocumented immigrants. Scots-Irish trash; crackers and kaffirs, wetbacks and wops; gooks, goyim, gringos and gypsies.

Strangers we were, with no stake in the Promise; hopeless, helpless, beggarly-born.

Guest worker, day laborer, field hand, dark tan. Stay away from traffic stops—or disappear in a police van.

Strangers we were, with no stake in the Promise; stranded, branded, object of scorn.

But now in Christ Jesus your passport’s approved. The boundary of bounty has now been removed.

Strangers we were, with no stake in the Promise: profiled, profaned, with none for to mourn.

The wall of hostility, enmity, shame, lies shattered and scattered by blood-cleansing claim!

Strangers we were, but deported no more: with joy’s consecration on God’s blessed shore.

©Ken Sehested @

*Written for my congregation, Circle of Mercy, in the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Asheville, NC.