Joy’s ascendance

This stuff could get you in trouble

by Ken Sehested

“For Jesus, there are
no countries to be conquered,
no ideologies to be imposed,
no people to be dominated.
There are only children,
women and men to be loved.”
—Henri Nouwen

Yes. This. Of course. No doubt about it.
I stake everything on this claim.

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Resurrection’s approach

A poem for Holy Week

by Ken Sehested

In praise of the Blessed One who
refuses to be named and tamed,
Who emboldens those previously
bearing no name—no privilege,
no recognition, the illegitimi of
the world—to rise up with
astonishing courage and against
all odds to challenge the webs of
corruption, injustice, and mortal
threat fashioned by politicians,
peddlers, prosecutors, and priests
who honor no truth save that of
their own seething imagination,
who broach the ancient boundaries
of shared beneficence, who sell
Heaven’s manna to the highest
bidder, whose security demands
foreclose on all who lack tribute,
and whose blessing is confined to
those staid to the lies inflicting
every plundered field, deaf to the
cries of those prostrate in mourning
and affliction. Easter in us, Tree of
all life and Trestle of every hope’s
flight from ruin’s despair. Vouchsafe
the promise, to earth’s castaways,
of the resurrecting morning to
come, whose approach opens
wide the gates of hell swallowing
every crucifying power.

©ken sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org

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Don’t go moonshining on the empire’s behalf

Or, what to do with disconsolation

Ken Sehested

You are encouraged to listen to Roberta Flack and
Donny Hathaway’s rendition of “Come, Ye
Disconsolate
”  before, during or after you read.

We are often suspicious of words of comfort, and
for good reason: such sentiments too often coax us
into being comfortable, too often keep us on our
couches, too often justify passivity in the face of
pillage. As if sanitizing our own hands is the end of
our duty.

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Annunciation

Mary's song of praise

by Ken Sehested

Hail, O favored one!
But Mary was greatly troubled
at the angel's erupting, interrupting greeting.

No wonder.
The annunciation of heaven
splitting earth
is always troubling
trembling
tremulous.
Mountains shake
hearts quiver
at the sound of God's rousing.

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Pacem in terris

by Ken Sehested

We are indeed strangers; but not foreigners.

This “world” is not our home; but this earth is.

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A Prayer for Children

©Ina J. Hughs

We pray for children
who put chocolate fingers everywhere,
who like to be tickled,
who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
who sneak Popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who’ve never squeaked across the floor in new sneakers,
who never “counted potatoes,”
who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

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Till earth receive her rest

New lyrics for "Amazing Grace," inspired by Luke 18:9-14

by Ken Sehested

Kyrie, kyrie, eleison
Let mercy magnify
May all my days reflect thy praise
And earth and heav’n reply

Let nothing justify my way
Save grace, unmeasured still
Let every hour reflect thy power
And life with love instill

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Days of hysteria, promise of hilaria

Response to a presidential debate

by Ken Sehested

There is a certain pathology in our current season,
electoral follies punctuated by fresh tales of human
fury and nature’s duress—the combination exaggerated
if not unique. All the more reason to be reminded:

There is a life beneath, above, on the other side of this
present madness, a brightness excelling all expectation,
but not necessarily the one imagined, a surprise ending
beyond the sadness, a gladness for which we can only

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Grayed days and clouded sighs

Note to a friend

by Ken Sehested

A note from a dear friend—hospital-bound, IV-fed, on New Year’s Eve and in the isolation ward, no less—
accompanied by a gray landscape photo from her window, inspired an impromptu poem
which captures my emotions in the haggard season in which we live.

The colorless days spur us to stir memory’s store

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Most ordinary of days

A prose poem for "Ordinary Time"

by Ken Sehested

There are, to be sure, moments of high drama in the work of holy obedience:
      marches to be made, confrontations to be staged, dangers to be endured,
      corruption to be exposed, trips made to distant or unfamiliar places,
      occasional rackets to be raised, maybe even jail cells to be filled.

On rare occasions, the whole world is watching.

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