Celebrant of mercy

From the Beginning, the Sovereign’s harness of the seer’s
     tongue assures a turbulent course. Announcing the
           surety of Providence among scarce-minded
           people—that’s no way to cover a mortgage.

            Blessed is the tongue that proclaims God’s ciphering.

To where may we turn for food that does not spoil,
for water that does not spill, for the bounty which neither
     rusts nor rots, unthreatened by thieves of every kind?

Read more ›

By the Beautiful Gate

By the Beautiful Gate doth my heart lie abandoned,
confined to the dust by crippled estate, dependent on
shame for a shekel’s remorse and a pitiful glance.

                  Look at me,
if you dare to compare your lofty composure.

Season by season, we watch for the light of the sun’s
promised rise and Messiah’s awaited approach.
We long for redemption beyond silver and gold,
           beyond every imperial consent.

Read more ›

Bread baking God

by Ken Sehested

Bread-baking, kitchen-dwelling, breast-feeding God,
We return to your lap and to your table
because we are hungry and thirsty.
Fill us again
with the bread that satisfies,
with milk that nourishes.
Drench parched throats with wet wonder;
feed us ‘til we want no more.
We come to your lap and to your table
We come to your lap and to your table
and rediscover your romance with the world.
As you nourish us with the bread of life and the milk of your word,
let your Spirit hang an apron around our necks.
Fashioned and patterned like that worn
by our Lord-become-friend, Jesus.
Instruct us,
Instruct us here in the halls of your kitchen-kingdom,
with the recipes of mercy and forgiveness,
of compassion and redemption.
Leaven our lives
‘til they rise in praise:
Offered, blessed and broken
for the healing of the nations.

©Ken Sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org. A Mother’s Day poem, 1994, in honor of my mother, Joyce Sehested, recalling her labors on the day of my birth.

Read more ›

Bread and breast of heaven

The signal of Moses’ ordination
erupted as bread, from the sky—
and water, from the rock—amid the
trackless and barren waste where
no tillage is found, no rivulet is formed.

      Bread and Breast of Heaven,
      feed me ’til I want no more.

Nourishment appears where none is
warranted, save by those who dare the
departure from Pharaoh’s granary.

Read more ›

Blistering Hope

A stonemason’s meditation on perseverance

When cutting capstone, carefully
measured, from a larger block with
nothing but hammer and chisel, you
come to know the necessity of blister-raising
toil to achieve envisioned result.

No guarantees are to be had, of course. Sometimes,
despite calculated scoring, tracing a careful contour
across one edge, ‘round to another, and another, and yet another,
with metered strokes and measured aim (fingers
are no match against the carom of sledge)
the rock stubbornly declares it own gnarly cleft.

Some fractures are costly; some rocks
just don’t cooperate in the prestige of
being mortared atop crafted columns.
(But even these—the jagged rubble hidden
behind hewn face—have their
anonymous, reinforcing roles.)

Read more ›

A Twenty-Fifth Wedding Anniversary Blessing

Twenty-five years ago, in 1982, postage stamps cost 20¢. George Bush the older was merely a vice president. “E.T.” and “Gandhi” premiered on the big screen. Alice Walker turned “The Color Purple” into prose.

Most of all, though, Satchel Page died, after having crossing the color line near the close of his brilliant baseball career.

Page is the one who created what I consider the greatest wisdom statement of the modern era: “Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”

Read more ›


A New Year's Day blessing

by Ken Sehested

May your home always be too
small to hold all your friends.

May your heart remain ever supple,
fearless in the face of threat,
jubilant in the grip of grace.

Read more ›