Litanies & Prayers

Elijah and the widow

It is with careless ease that we say, “Bless God, for all life is good,” when the sun shines during our outings, when no strain threatens our budget.

It’s easy, when life is blessed with children and our ancient ones live long and die in peace.

It takes little faith to acknowledge God’s goodness when terror remains at a distance.

It’s easy, when health is secure and the future holds promise. Read more ›

Dueling psalms

Oh LORD, you are my shepherd, I shall not want.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?

You make me lie down in green pastures; You lead me beside still waters.

O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. Read more ›

Draw near

With haggard hearts each voice imparts this plea for constancy.

Draw near, dispel confounding fear, with Heaven’s clemency.

Each tongue, by supplicating lung, invoke bright morning’s rise!

Through darkest night let love’s Delight condole all mournful eyes. Read more ›

Don’t go cheap

Sisters and brothers, heed the appeal of Heaven’s approach: The sinews of life grow from bodies adorned with the countenance of mercy.

Conform no more to the ruling arrangements. Don’t go cheap for the marketer’s bribe.

Let the eyes of your soul be refocused. Let the ears of your heart be retuned. Hold onto your birthright. Hold out for more: Don’t go cheap for pleasant lies.

Don’t go cheap, no, don’t go cheap. Read more ›

Disillusionment

     Call to Confession
Many of us are attracted to this place because here, in this Circle of Mercy, we find the freedom to question dogmas and orthodoxies of every kind. But not just the religious kind. There is another set of dogmas and orthodoxies which entangle our lives more than we know. Over and over our social, economic and political institutions tell us that:

    •only the strong survive
    •you get what you earn
    •friends are to be rewarded and enemies are punished.

Lent is the season for exposing these illusions; for confessing and being delivered from their power; and for learning another Way to live. Read more ›

Crumbling of Empire

Oh, Blessed One, Beloved Abba, whose womb squeezed forth all that is, humus and human alike, animate and inanimate together, sun and moon and galaxies, without end.

Oh, Sweet Deliverer, fruit of Mary’s annunciation, troubler of worlds and troubadour of heaven’s fidelity
whose call to the table gathers the lame and binds every shame with the promise of feast
for the lost, for the least, for the last, and all willing to sing this insurrectionary song.

Oh, Wisdom of Days, breath of life in lungs of clay; pregnant promise to Sarai and Abram. Flaming visage to Moses, whisperer to prophets and confounder of priests. Answer to Hannah’s lament and Elizabeth’s regret. Read more ›

Create in me a clean heart

Invocation and thanksgiving

Create in me a clean heart, O God.

Mercy, mercy, have mercy on me.

In the measure of your abundant mercy, clear the debris from my life. Read more ›

Comfort my people

A litany for worship inspired by Isaiah 40:1-5

by Ken Sehested

“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.

Let tender resolve loose the bonds of revenge. All flesh is destined for Heaven’s Delight!

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, to America, to Asheville: your warfare is waning; your iniquity, pardoned. Read more ›

Come what may

The Prophet Joel foretold the day when the young shall see visions and the old will dream dreams. And the writer of Hebrews implored, “Do not lose heart, for you are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.”

Come what may, come what may: we long for a summons that calls us by name.

Be careful what you ask for—these dreams and visions could get you in trouble.

Come what may, come what may: regardless the fortune, no matter the fame. Read more ›

Come into the desert

The time has come to flee Pharaoh’s national security state for the insecurity of the wilderness.

Led by the Spirit and sustained by angels, we head to the desert for a throw-down with the Devil.

Fear not. God will sustain you. Your clothes will not wear out, your feet will not swell.

And yet we tremble: Why have you led us from the prosperous land of shopping and shiny plastic things on this highway to the danger zone? Read more ›