Bright Sadness

indexA litany for Lent, to be read while “How Can I Keep From Singing” is played in the background, after which the congregation sings one or more verse of the song

by Ken Sehested

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the season of Lent is described as a “bright sadness.”

In the sadness that surrounds our lives, our community, our world, we give thanks, nevertheless. More is at work than we can see.

Lent is a time for clearing and cleansing. Dustballs happen.

In the midst of life’s crippling failures, we still give thanks. In the midst of Fox News’ deceptions, we still give thanks. Nevertheless, nevertheless.

Lent is a time for checking appetites. Longings and desires, created for pleasure in God’s bountiful creation, have come unleashed.

Nevertheless, the bright sound of earth’s promise brings joy to our lips. Tether us anew to your Provision.

During Lent we follow Jesus into the desert, grappling with the distorted longings and lusts that corrupt the world and even our own hearts.

Even so, more is at work than we can see. The Spirit is not quenched. How can I keep from singing!


Ken Sehested is editor-author of, an online journal at the intersection of spiritual formation and prophetic action.

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