Summon your nerve

A call to the Table on Pentecost Sunday

by Ken Sehested

I would love to think approaching

this table conferred visions of

leisurely picnics in green meadows

beside gentle bubbling streams,

with cooling breeze matched by

warm sunshine and birdsong in

nearby long leaf pine and hemlock.


Truth is, it’s more like unleavened

bread, hastily prepared under dark

skies when death angels rout the

countryside, on the eve of betrayal

and the cusp of terror, in a land on

the brink of ecological collapse and

lead-lined water pipes poisoning

the young and an infestation of

woolly adelgid leaching the life

from majestic forests.


You will be disappointed if you come

here anticipating ease and distraction—

and, if so, consider making a quick exit

now. If not, if you brave the danger

circling this table, I can promise that

you will find sustenance, and persevering

power, Pentecostal power, for the living

of these days, come what may.


When he left, Jesus said something like

this to his friends, “I didn’t say it would

be easy. I said it would be worth it.”


Come, friends of Jesus, summon your

nerve. You’ve nothing to lose but your

fears. And the Beloved Community to gain.

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