Nancy H. Sehested Sermons & Writings

¡Las bienaventuranzas! (Good adventure)

Matthew 5's beatitudes in paraphrase

by Nancy Hastings Sehested
(the name for the Beatitudes in Spanish, literally “Good adventure to you”)

Good adventure to you when you don’t have it all together.
God is in the middle of the mess.

Good adventure to you who mourn life’s sorrows.
God is handing courage and comfort to you. Read more ›

All's wild with the world

A sermon on Mary's "Magnificat"

by Nancy Hastings Sehested

The stories this time of year are so familiar that we might be lulled into the idea that they are tame and reasonable. There is nothing much tame in these stories, in spite of the fact that Luke begins his storytelling to most excellent Theophilus, “friend of God," by giving a really good reason for it all: "I decided after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you (Luke 1:3)."

Really, Luke? After investigating everything carefully, this is your orderly account? Aren’t you glad he told us?

Luke expected us to know quite a bit about the backdrop of the stories. His very first line after his introduction: In the days of King Herod of Judea. Read more ›

After Tuesday

Electoral season pastoral prayer

Nancy Hastings Sehested
Sunday 6 November 2016

Thank you God, for the shaping from the saints in our lives…for the foolish and the wise ones, the serious and the silly ones, the reserve and the overbearing ones, the mischievous and the obedient ones…lives whose presence have broadened and enriched our own.

Free us from regrets by your grace. Strengthen us by the witness of your hope-bearing and love-embracing saints before us. May these days make saints of all of us in perseverance in the struggles, in resistance to evil, in reliance on your Spirit. Read more ›

Caught in the mess, caught in the mercy

An invitation to the Table

by Nancy Hastings Sehested

It was field day on the prison yard. A couple hundred inmates were competing in basketball and volleyball games and relay races. The cooler of fruit punch ran out, but they had a water fountain on the side of the building. But Montel was in a wheelchair and couldn’t reach the fountain. He wheeled over to the staff tent and asked for a cup of water from the staff cooler. Several staff said no. Then he turned to me, the chaplain, and asked for water. I said no.

I couldn’t sleep that night. Why didn’t I give a man a cup of water? Jesus said something specific about that, and if anyone gives a cup of cold water. . . .

First thing the next morning, I went to his housing unit to see him. Read more ›

Companions of comfort

A pastoral prayer

by Nancy Hastings Sehested

Holy One, 

We give thanks for places of sanctuary to tend to the heart. Thank you for this circle who practices your way . . . who are quick to laugh, generous in mercy, hearty in hope. 

We give thanks for curious stories that nudge us to act with cleverness, creativity and compassion within such agonizingly unjust systems. May we be found as your church that has some tricks up the ole sleeve for the common good.  Read more ›