By Ken Sehested
Pictured below is my Dad’s “Heart Shield” Bible, a copy of the New Testament on to which a metal plate front cover has been attached. The engraved cover, now smudged by corrosion, reads “May this keep you safe from harm.” It was sold by the Know Your Bible Sales Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, manufactured by the Whitman Publishing Company, Racine, Wisconsin, and was designed to fit into a soldier’s uniform shirt pocket. Multiple stories exist of soldiers reportedly spared serious injury when bullets struck this tiny piece of body armor.
An inscription inside the cover indicates that Dad’s sister, my Aunt Juanita, gave him this gift. No date is listed, but it was sometime before Dad landed with the first wave of soldiers storming Omaha Beach in the June 1944 Allies’ D-Day invasion on the French coast in World War II. Dad was among the fortunate survivors, though he carried for the remainder of his life a piece of German artillery shrapnel embedded in bone behind his right ear. Continue reading
By Ken Sehested (photo right with grandchildren), curator of prayerandpolitiks.org
Some years ago, writing in the days leading up to Easter, I realized important though tragic anniversaries arrived in the days immediately following that Sunday.
“Even before our resurrection flowers have wilted, we will be confronted again with the presence of evil. Since Easter falls early in the calendar this year, in the coming resurrection week we will be forced to remember the enduring power of death. In 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and theologian, was executed by the Nazis two days after Easter Sunday. This next Thursday, April 4, we will remember the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. right here in Memphis.” —continue reading “Open Letter to My Daughter: Easter morning, with the stench of death still in the air”
What it is
We have entered Eastertide, the liturgical season beginning with Easter and ending 50 days later on Pentecost (aka Whitsunday). The formulation of this season parallels the period in Judaism between the first day of Pesach (Passover, marking their liberation from Egypt) and the feast of Shavu’ot (Feast of Weeks, both a harvest festival and a commemoration of the giving of Torah at Mount Sinai). Parallel resurrection moments, setting the stage for resulting resurrection movements. Continue reading
By Ken Sehested (right with grandchildren), whose fluency tends toward poetic expression, in response to our 2019 question, “What is your definition of radical discipleship?”
“Always be ready to make your defense to anyone
who demands from you an accounting for the hope
that is in you: yet do it in gentleness and reverence.”
—1 Peter 3:15-16
To your feet, you pilgrims of faith’s long journey! Stand and pledge your allegiance to that nation-supplanting Realm to come.
For what do we hope?
We hope for the Beloved’s Promise to overtake the world’s broken-hearted threat. Continue reading
By Ken Sehested
It was a time of great turmoil in the land. The Spirit of God bypassed all the famous leaders and came to me with a dream.
And I saw the Ruler of All Creation sitting on a throne, high and lofty, with majesty filling the sky as far as the eye could see.
Angels filled the air, shouting, “Holy, holy, holy! Just and Righteous and Merciful is God’s name!” Continue reading
By Ken Sehested
The Resurrection is the Beloved’s own
Armistice, intimate seal on ancient covenant,
when the rain’s own bow arches in the flood’s
aftermath as divine reminder, animus receding
by act of divine contrition:
Never again. Never again.*
No longer will Heaven respond with drowning
contempt over earth’s profaning habit. Divine
remorse calls out for creaturely requite. The
soil itself destined for fertile bounty’s return. Continue reading
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
the face of the waters. Continue reading
By Ken Sehested
To my friends who question the value of voting, or have ethical qualms about choosing between the lesser of two evils: Vote, or don’t. Its significance will always lie somewhere between essential and useless. None of us is allowed to assess any action as ultimate—but that’s no license for skepticism or despondence.
Voting is such a small part of our commonwealth duty. I spend more time in grocery store lines every month than in polling stations every year. Elections are but the end result of an advocacy for the common good that starts in each watershed. Imagine a different future, find collaborators, and spend yourself extravagantly. Continue reading