It is Sunday, and we decided to go to our neighborhood church.
I have felt a little adrift after all the American news of politics and divisiveness. Sometimes I am shocked (and embarrassed) by some of our policies and the hatefulness of people. Then, we had the shooting in Annapolis, and all the hate hit home even more.
So – I have felt a little lost this last week or two and not sure what to make of this world.
We walk by this beautiful church every time we go to the harbor. It is the oldest building in Bergen, dating to the medieval 12th century. So it one of the starred items in the guidebook, and there is always a tour group around it.
And my parents visited this same church on their trip to Bergen 20 years ago (page from their scrapbook below).
So we decided to check it out and noticed a small sign out front that announced a service in English on Sundays at 11. It seemed that God put that sign there for me.
The church itself is beautiful inside (picture taken from Internet – no pictures allowed).
But it was the congregation who welcomed us so warmly. It turns there are several regulars and lots of visitors like us, even some crew from the cruise ships in port. And believe it or not, the minister is from Tennessee and married to a Norwegian.
We prayed for our world leaders – that they might have compassion. And as I sat there, I thought, “Think of all the tumult this building has seen in the last 900 years.” Whole kingdoms have been conquered, wars have been fought, leaders have risen and fallen. And yet this church endures – and we will, too.
After the service, the congregation invited us for coffee in the fellowship hall. We had coffee, tea, strawberries, and biscuits. It was wonderful.
- Frank hit it off with a retired physician from Hungary who volunteers his time in Bergen for the summers – they bring in extra doctors who speak other languages since they have so many visitors and many of the local doctors go on vacation themselves.
- We met a man who was developmentally disabled (he was in charge of handing out the programs). He was super excited and told me he was going to the Hurtigruten. His mother explained that the Big Brothers Big Sisters program takes him each week to greet the Hurtigruten as it arrives in port. He loves the Hurtigruten and they all know him and let him go aboard on Sunday afternoons for a cup of coffee.
- And the ladies told me all about their cookbook, which raises money for the church. They each showed me the recipes they had contributed, and one lady told me how she had drawn the artwork on the front based on designs in the church. (I bought 3 – Mommy and Cindy – you will get for Christmas!!)
I left inspired and hopeful. The world is a big place full of personal stories of love and joy.
Thank you to this little church – dating all the way back to medieval times – for restoring my faith.
Peace be with you.