Rembrandt, Dream of Joseph, 1645, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
By Ken Sehested
consigned to the margins
of Incarnation narrative.
now shield the shame
of sagging face, drooping, disgraced.
Chiseled lines prematurely sculpting
age in youthful countenance.
Thoughts of Mary smudge the heart
as tears smear the face.
Mary. Beloved. Betrothed. Betrayed?
Mary. With child. Whose? How, and why?
Joseph, companion in confusion
over God’s intention.
No multi-colored coat for you as for
your scoundrel namesake of old.
But who dares answer, much less complain? Continue reading
By Ken Sehested, new lyrics to “Amazing Grace,” inspired by Luke 18:9-14
Kyrie, kyrie, eleison
Let mercy magnify
May all my days reflect thy praise
And earth and heav’n reply Continue reading
By Ken Sehested, originally published last month at Ethics Daily, a publication of the Baptist Center for Ethics
We need to recognize, and adjust in appropriate ways, to the
fact that we humans maintain a perverse fascination with
disaster. I’ll leave it to psychologists to explain why, precisely;
but this habit is easily illustrated: From “rubber-necking” on
the highway (slowing down to view the scene of a wreck), to
the media’s 24/7 coverage of hurricane news. We rarely recall
the car trips made without incident, or the sunny days that
predominate in the Bahamas’ and Outer Banks’ weather
patterns. Continue reading
By Ken Sehested
A meditation on Ordinary Time on the church’s liturgical calendar
“He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars.”—William Blake
When people of faith speak of God, and how the love of God leads to the flourishing of souls and soil alike, such language appears on the surface as something being done to us, as from the outside.
Merely being acted upon—being objectified—hints at coercion, manipulation, feeble dependency, indignity. As if we are to be kept in chains and, moreover, taught to love those chains—lovely as they may appear, but chains, nonetheless. As if we are merely utensils in a cosmic drama. As if we are chess pieces on a divine board game. Continue reading
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