Gifted liturgist, poet and pastor, Kenneth Sehested has followed up, “In the Land of the Living” with “In the Land of the Willing — Litanies, Prayers, Poems, and Benedictions.” It is a remarkable volume. Let me share three pieces from it and, if you would like to know more go here.
By Thy Might
Hasten now, all you whose life is spent with sorrow,
you of bone-wasting days, of sighing weeks and
You who endure contentious tongues, threatened
by gangsters and banksters of every sort.
Come to the Sheltering Presence of the One who knows,
your photo to
Heaven’s refrigerator door,
The One who rekindles in you
the gift of love on the wings of a dove.
(inspired by Psalm 31)
The Octopus, too
Do you wish to inquire into the purpose
of the Most High God?
Do you long for wisdom?
Do you pant for the breath of life?
Does the Song of Creation reach your ears?
If you ask the animals, they will teach you.
As the birds of the air, and they will tell you.
Ask the plants of the earth, and they will instruct you.
And the fish of the sea will declare to you.
In the Beloved’s hand is the life of every living creature.
The day is coming, says the Beloved, when the wild
animals will honor me:
The jackal and the macaw and the kangaroo.
The buffalo, the penguin, and the octopus, too.
(Inspired by Job 12:7-19. Written for a “blessing of the animals” service)
The breadth of Heaven’s reach
A life in Christ is
to live according to a different rhythm.
It stimulates the courage to
even when the path seems to crumble
beneath our feet, when every way forward
is shrouded in threat.
The Love of Christ is that embrace which
untangles the anxious heart
and calms the fretful hand
where fears are overruled by confidence and
trembling is tempered
with pardon and permission.
It is the still, deep stream amid
every tempest that knows
can separate us from the
length and breadth
of Heaven’s reach.
(written as a beloved’s funeral benediction)