The Promise of Pentecost

A sermon for Pentecost

by Ken Sehested
Texts: Acts 2:1-21; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Romans 8:22-23

      Word association: What images or associations come to your mind when you hear the word “Pentecostal”?

      Three texts intersect for today’s service:

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The Worst Alternate Ending Ever

The story of Jonah

Sermon by Ken Sehested

      Along with the weekly columns for my online journal, I’m also slowly adding other material I’ve written in the past. Back in February I decided to add four columns I wrote for the Asheville Citizen-Times a dozen years ago: one just prior to my last trip to Iraq and three written while I was in Baghdad. I left on that three-week trip in early February 2003, shepherding the last group of volunteers with Christian Peacemaker Teams to enter the country prior to the US “shock and awe” invasion.

      One of the most unusual stories from that trip started with dinner one evening at the hotel where I stayed. I sat down to eat with Charles, another team member, who had been in Baghdad several weeks. As we finished, he casually asked me, “Would you like to go bowling tonight?”

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A brief history of Mother’s Day

by Ken Sehested

Mother’s Day is celebrated in many cultures. Although others are given credit for founding the observance, Julia Ward Howe led in establishing what some believe to be the first observance of Mother’s Day in the U.S. (2 June 1872) after witnessing the carnage of the U.S. Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War in Europe. The Mother’s Day festival, she wrote, “should be devoted to the advocacy of peace doctrines.”

Born in New York City in 1819, Howe—author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”—was a published poet, author, and advocate of better treatment for prisoners and those living with mental and physical disabilities.

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Liturgical reform and worship renewal

Ken Sehested, Alliance of Baptists Convocation
17-19 April 2015 [expanded version]


Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and
to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism, falsehoods.

The liturgical movement must become a revolutionary movement,
seeking to overthrow the forces that continue to
destroy the promise, the hope, the vision.
—Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

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Holy Obedience

One Christian’s story of civil disobedience (calling for the closure of Guantánamo Bay prison)

by Ken Sehested


      Unfortunately, it’s too easy to write off Tim Nolan’s decision to commit civil disobedience at the U.S. Supreme Court, calling for the closure of the Guantánamo prison for the suspects in the U.S. “war on terror,” as political looney-tune. But no less a public figure than former Secretary of State Colin Powell has stated:

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The earth is the Lord’s: A collection of texts

Biblical texts which reveal the non-human parts of creation responding to God’s presence, provision and purpose.

Selected by Ken Sehested

And God saw everything that was made, and behold, it was very good. (Gen. 1:31)

§ Jesus answered, “If these my disciples were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Lk. 19:40)

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“The Top 10 Reasons You Know It’s the Sunday After Easter”

Sermon by Ken Sehested
Texts: Hosea 6: 1-3, Luke 24: 36-53

Every now and then I stay up late enough to catch David Letterman's talk show. You Letterman fans know about his "Top Ten" list which he does each evening. He starts with some kind of zany statement or conclusion to a question and then lists ten possible and equally zany variations of questions that fit the conclusion.

Well, I've got my own "Top Ten" list. Question: How can you tell it's the Sunday after Easter?

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If You Do Well: The Vanity of Vengeance and the Restoration of Righteousness

by Ken Sehested
Texts: Genesis 4:1-16; Psalm 133; Matthew 18:1-22

        "Why do we kill people to show that killing people is wrong?"

        The logic of that bumper-sticker aphorism sounds so simple. Is it simplistic? If you think so, ponder this more complex quote in 1994 by former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, who died earlier this year:

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Confrontation in Jerusalem

by Ken Sehested
Mark 11:1-11

This week we come to the dramatic events of Lent’s finale. Holy Week. Jesus’ so-called triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In order to figure out where this parade is taking us, we need to remember some clues that have been given earlier in the story.

The first thing we need to remember is that the nativity stories of Jesus’ birth were not originally sung as lullabies. Rather, they were provocative hints at the political intrigue unfolding with the birth in Bethlehem.

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