Litanies & Prayers

You shall also love the stranger

A litany for worship, using texts on immigrants

by Ken Sehested

Gracious One, who jealously guards the lives of those at every edge, we lift our heavy hearts to your Mercy.

We live in a fretful land, anxious over the ebbing away of privilege, fearful that strangers are stealing our birthright.

Aliens breaching our borders. Read more ›

Martin Luther King's birthday commemoration

A litany for worship

by Ken Sehested

Admiring Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream is not the same as being captured by it. Too many find it possible to respect the man but relinquish the mission.

It has become too easy to revere the dreamer but renege on the dream.

So let us now recall the deep roots of that vision as spoken in ages past: Read more ›

Living water

A litany for worship

by Ken Sehested

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God will quench the thirst of all who drink from this river of delight. (Psalm 46:4 ; Psalm 36:8)

Living water! ¡Aguas de vida!

O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land. (Psalm 63:1) Read more ›

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 ›