Litanies & Prayers

Faith without fanfare

A litany for worship inspired by Galatians 5

by Ken Sehested

There are, to be sure, moments of high drama in the
work of holy obedience:
      marches to be made,
      confrontations to be staged,
      dangers to be endured,
      corruption to be exposed,
      trips made to distant and unfamiliar places,
Read more ›

Remembering Jephthah’s Daughter

A litany for worship, inspired by Judges 11:29-40

by Ken Sehested

Today’s text is the brutal story of the mighty warrior, Jephthah, whose bloody victory entails the sacrifice of his only child, a daughter, whose name is lost to history.  Hear now and testify your resolve to Heaven’s intent:

Oh you, dear unnamed daughter, pawn of warrior’s reckless vow,

You whose life was bound, requiting bloody vic’try, ancient row, Read more ›

Limb by limb

Repenting and repairing a legacy of violence against women

by Ken Sehested

Men: Our hearts sag with sorrow when the history of such misery is unveiled.

Women: Such truthfulness comes at a cost. But worthy is the truth.

M: What good can come from such vile remembrance? Can we not safely and silently dispose of such memory? Read more ›

Steal away

A litany for worship

by Ken Sehested

Introduction: To “steal away to Jesus” is not submission to injustice or passivity in the face of evil. Rather, it represents a strategic retreat to gather the weapons of the Spirit needed to reengage enemies in ways they fail to fathom and ultimately cannot thwart. Enemies are destroyed, by and by, when enmity itself is swallowed in death.

§  §  §

One: When the apostles were gathered, exuberant with tales of all they had done, Jesus said: Steal away with me to a quiet place. Read more ›

Elijah and the widow

A litany for worship inspired by 1 Kings 17:8-24

by Ken Sehested

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. Read more ›

Come home

A litany for worship inspired by Psalm 146

by Ken Sehested

All of you with voices, sing out! All who lack melodic
      tongue, raise the roof with joyful noise! If you have
      hands, clap them. Feet, tap them. Fingers, snap them.

Let even your eyelids blink out praise to the One whose
      delight drenches earth and every creature. Read more ›

Peace, like war, is waged

A litany for worship

by Walker Knight

Peace plans its strategy and encircles the enemy.

Peace, like war, is waged.

Peace marshals its forces and storms the gates. Read more ›

Enfleshed by the Word

A litany for worship inspired by Proverbs 8 and John 1:1-18

by Ken Sehested

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

By that Word were all things breathed to life from the breathless dark, knit into comely shape from nether and nil.

Even so was Wisdom present at the beginning, the great Sculptor of God’s delight, carving the depths of the seas and the heights of the mountains, assigning the waters their limit, the springs their origin and the soil its abundance. Read more ›

Holy Great Smokies

A call to worship recalling the mountain sites of covenant and confrontation in Scripture

by Ken Sehested

Call to Worship

Come to the place where horizons expand, and the gulf between earth and sky shrinks. Here covenants unfold and confrontations are staged.

It was at Mt. Ararat that Noah’s ark rested on dry ground as flood waters receded. From Egyptian bondage, the Hebrews came to Mt. Sinai where their adoption by God was sealed and commandments were set. Read more ›

Acclaim the One whose breath is your bounty

A litany for worship inspired by Psalm 148

by Ken Sehested

Let the room be filled with laud and laughter, oh people of Mercy. Fill the air with music and merriment, with the sound of delight annulling the wail of indigence.

Praise your Maker, you wind and wave. Sun and moon and Bethlehem’s star, shout in exultation!

Let all that swim in the sea give thanks; all that walk on the land, rejoice; all that traverse the open sky, extol. Read more ›