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lördag 31 december 2016

Ring out, wild bells!!!!

In Memoriam, [Ring out, wild bells]

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Yes, we use this poem every New Years eve, on national television and long before that, one of the most celebrated actors would read it , in Swedish I dare say, from the Skansen-park, the one I told you about in The Stockholm post. Below you find my personal favourite- Georg Rydeberg, long lost from us. What an actor he was, the voice, the face!!!
This New Years eve we have spent alone, friends couldn't come over, teenagers are sulking and the 17 year old have given me my first ( and last ) full make-up. Salmonsandwiches for starters, chicken with bacon, tomatoes and cream and roast potatoes and frozen cheesecake with gingerbreadcrums and raspberries and saffron.  In church we heard the vicar preach and our local tenor sing . The weather is grey and windy, torches go down and fireworks go haywire.  On national tv we've seen that BBC sketch with the countess and her butler, celebrating New Year with her 4 long gone friends. Hilarious and sad. It's been on tv since I was a child and I know every line from mr Winterbottom. 
So I look back on this year and regret things done and words said. I can clearly see what could have been done better, kindlier and wiser, from my part.  I also think about the beggers outside the store yesterday, a 25 year old girl called Maria, on her knees with a papercup and my old friend Christoff that asked for me, haven't seen him for many months. None of them have a regular base, not in our town anyway. That is one of the things I regret - not doing more for them. 
The world is uneasy and shaking, let's pray that He who holds us in his hands will be more firm handling our chilled hearts. Let's hope for courage, less second thoughts and political crap, more light, more truth and more action where it's needed. Let's pray for common goals and wisdom on the path that leads us there. More walking, living, talking, working,laughing and crying together.  More mercy and O Lord, more of grace and comfort to those who suffer.
A very happy , bright and blessed New year to you all, out there!!!!!

torsdag 29 december 2016

And so they are both gone!!!

Debbie Reynolds passed away only a day after her beloved daughter Carrie.

Sad year this, for the world of entertainment. On Christmas eve we lost one of my favourite authors - Richard Adams. Age 96, so you could say he got a long life. In our family his books have been a great source of joy and excitement.
As for Debbie Reynolds I know rather little, but I always loved Singing in the rain, she was both funny and beautiful. This is one of my favourite scenes:

A friend of mine made a comment when I was moaning about all these famous people dying, she said that I might considder having rolemodels that are more resistant, like saints.
Saints, will keep shining.  Yes, I do have a few very dear saints in my collection of important people, but these stars also mean a lot to us. The voices, the talents, the performances, the joy.
I am very grateful for ALL people that brings joy and warmth to my life. And I do feel bad and sad for every family that looses someone dear, be it tragic or natural. 
Still, when we loose a celebrity, the feelings we carry inside will come forward because it's okej to mourn someone not very close, in public, but it's hard to put words to sorrow when it's hurtful and close.  I've said it before, there are reasons for this massive reaction when someone famous dies,  we need to practise on letting our feelings find words!

tisdag 27 december 2016

Enough ,enough ,enough!! RIP, Carrie!!

Good evening!

This has been a dark year indeed, both in our family, in the world among fellow humanbeings
and in the world of entertainment. Now this morning we learn that Carrie Fisher died from that wretched heartattack she got on the plane!
That lovely, funny, independent and strong princess!!  How we adored her!
Carrie have also been a very strong personality, her life has been everything but glamorous some years, she has been very open about personal disasters and that has brought hope to many.  
So, again, I know my Redeemer liveth, but I also know that Carrie Fisher is dead,  luckily the former outweighs the latter but I'm still very ,very sad.  My thoughts go to her family and friends.  
Read my post from 21 of october, her 60th birthday, if you want to know more about her http://thebadhipperspective.blogspot.com/2016/10/carrie-frances-fisher-brightest-shining.html     .

måndag 26 december 2016

RIP George!

Well, I must be getting old.  
In the middle of celebrating the most bright and wondreous times, we are being saddened with yet another entertainers death.
George Michael, the talented singer, has left us.  I know, there have been headlines on him, for sure he had a tough life every now and then, but that voice!!
I have followed him since Whan broke loose and he really was gifted.
A sad loss for his family and close friends, a sad loss for the musical world.
Here is a Youtube clip where he performs a Queensong, two great things in one.
This year it would have been Freddies 70th birthday....
Michael Parkinson, the very talented talkshow host, did some great conversations with George, I will look them up shortly.

söndag 25 december 2016

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain, it's Christmas!

Merry Merry Christmas!!
Malmoe, 1944, how say you to this, mr Stephenson!!!?

6.30 this morning we sang Silent night, In the bleak midwinter and O holy night, celebrating the birth of our Saviour.

This Christmas is raincloudy and there is a storm coming in tomorrow. In church where about 125 people, teenagers halfasleep. Yesterday morning we celebrated with about seven different nationalities present in the local chapel, always very exciting.
We took a brisk walk this afternoon and now where in for some coffee, perhaps some scrabble or other treatment and peace will slowly come to the world. Or so we hope. For safety we watched a Christmasfilm - the Polarexpress. Nice and cosy.

This years tree was actually cut in the garden, growing inside a pinetree of some sort. Below is an old elf from my grandmothers house and a goat of wood.  Decorated with no sense for theme or order of any kind, not in our house

It is somewhat strange this commercial celebration, someone made a calculation on how much of the typical Christmas soda we drink in Sweden every Christmas. The money spent on it would buy us 26.000 typical middlesize villas....and that was only the soda!

But still, so many great and heartwarming intitiativ have been taken this christmas, as it has many years before.
Even if many never attend any services, tokens of love between people are very obvious. So, in many places, people don't have to fear celebrating alone, there are places to go. Families with no means can in some cities get help with food and presents, people who lack roof over there heads can find shelter.
But not everywhere I'm afraid. In our own town there is no place to go to celebrate Christmas, there is no place to stay if you are homeless. This is a shame. I hope we can change this.
But still, blessed be all these people who made a difference for someone unknown this Christmas, all over the world.

"God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay, cause Jesus Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas day, to save us all from satans power when we were gone astray -

 O tidings of comfort and joy!!!!"

Yes, I know that this crib is somewhat unorthodox....but it's ours!!!   Blessings to you all!! May the light stay on!

tisdag 20 december 2016

Adeste fidelis!! O come ye!!

  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I can absolutely say that this has been a very dark and strange year for our family, but we are trying hard to fight it through. One thing that really makes the difference is the running of  our church year. Reminding me of the promises and revelations.  However dark I find my days, night shall not prevail. However bad the world is turning, His love will stand victorious.

And so when we got home from church this evening, after this years Christmasconcert, our oldest had almost finished decorating the house. Too early for me, but she really needed to do this and there it was!
Since Ray shared some music on her latest post, I would like to do the same. On Youtube I find some of the songs we sang tonight: This is Natt skall ej förbliva,  Night will not prevail, this you can listen to here, I really love it:
The one below is rather old and here sung by a choir in my old church in Malmö. It's simply called Jul Jul,  Christmas, christmas, radiant Christmas..Nice. 

Of course we also sing swedish versions of Silent night, Adeste fideles, O holy night and several english hymns that have been translated. 

 Here below is one classic swedish that we always sing on the morning of Christmas day: "When Christmas day is dawning, to the stable I will go"
Several I couldn't find, I have to come around to publishing my own recordings here, how??
If you read music sheets, below is one I wrote some years ago, adapted for three-part choir. I can't write any musical notes, let alone read any, but I shamelessly use my collegues to put my twiddlings on paper. This one turned out rather well.  The lyrics translated perhaps like this:
"December night, hours that stray, longing to see the dawn of the day. Wander in hope, believe in the word - a child will be born to save all the world. For the Lord will share his light, and the star will shine so bright over Betlehem where my heart will find peace."

This is called "Longing for Betlehem". A simple tune, I'm no great composer,  rather nicely set for choir by my collegue.  Above I tried to translate some, that is really rather difficult!

The Christmas concert of last year, I didn't hold the prayer so I'm somewhere in the middle.

A typical swedish christmas some hundred years ago had traces of pagan rituals, so Santa Claus is a rather late invention here, we had gnomes living in the barn, lepricons perhaps they could be called, looking something like this, but much simpler in clothing:
When these little goblins were treated badly they could act real mean but in folklore they eventually got round to take care of the house, deliver presents, here with the goat that for many years precedented Santa. Children of past days where scared with many things, goats, witches, trolls, gnomes, ghosts and other pleasant creatures lurking in the woods or in caves or underground. Before the days when father ,dressed as Santa ,came banging on the door, people used to wrap up a gift, bang loudly on the door and throw it in. 21 of december is Thomas mass, after that date it was not allowed to argue or fight, Christmas peace should reign. That is also the longest night of the year, then the light slowly returns.

These two gentlemen are about hundred years old, they come from my grandmothers home.
This church was made by some elderly gentlemen in Ystad where we used to live. It's suppose to be a model of one of the many churches in the countryside around Ystad. We bought it 1992 , inside there are benches, an alter, a priest and a mixed congregation. We do have a crib but it hasn't arrived in it's place yet, too early still.....

A typical swedish Christmas of today would probably start with some odd presents in the morning, round 11 some have the tradition to attend church, a service around the crib. Later in the afternoon we have the Christmasprayer. But most people are at home watching Donald Duck wishing a merry Christmas, waiting for the man with the bag.

We eat a lot, smoked and cooked ham with pickled cabbage, mustard and potatoes, sausages, meatballs, liverwurst, pickled herrings of all kinds,smoked salmon, eggs, a dish we bake in the oven with striped potatoes, anchovis, onions and cream. For desert we eat rice porridge with fruit sauce. After the Santa has payed his visit the presents are opened and we have gluhwein or coffee and cookies and pastries. Like these here.  
When I was a child we would sometimes sing some hymns and then plays cards or Monopoly. 

Every year we have a host on tv, we've had that for 50 years, in the early days of television people needed a guide for the tableau, and it was considdered important for  lonely people to have someone kind to spend the Christmas with.  For many years it was the same man, lighting the candles and looking all fatherly and kind . Cartoons where scarce so we watched Donald Duck and friends.
  At 6.30 in the morning we celebrate Christmas day, choir on the organloft, me leading the service, the service is very traditional and called Julotta, meaning VERY EARLY. 
But today it's wednesday morning/night and I have to sleep a few hours before heading for the local chapel where our villageschool holds a ceremony to celebrate the end of this semester. The holidays will last until january 10th.  I'm invited to speak.  Later in the afternoon the mood shifts and I will hold a funeral, one of the three this week. Life in church is just like life itself, ever shifting.

tisdag 13 december 2016

Lucia - the Saint that Sweden adopted !!??

Such beauty even in an outburned candle from the lantern on the front doorstep!

So now we are approaching the fourth advent sunday, the holy mother of God will come forth and be heard in the vaults of our churches. But first:

Sweden has it's mysterious traditions, just as other countries have.
The countryside was filled with myths and legends and folktales and some became a part of the christian inheritage.  This is Lucia, more or less. This tradition is a mixture of pagan rituals, folklore and an italian saint spreading light in the name of Jesus.

We noticed Lucia in the 13th century and started to celebrate a hundred years later.  We used the Julian calender then and the 13th of december was the longest night, so dark forces were in motion and needed be battled. The pagan tradition contained several light rituals to persuade the forces of light to return, I know at least one druid who could tell more!!
Since that night was dangerous with evil spirits of the dead and demons of all sorts rampaging the landscape, everybody stayed up for safety and so the prechristian traditions are for certain plenty and some more perilous and outrageous than others. The same thinking can be found around midsummer in lots of countries.  
The Luciatradition as it came to be handled in Sweden, fitted very well in to the line of thinking that darkness must be warded off and the light of Christ was introduced through already established customs and beliefs!! So the rituals slowly transformed into traditions of sacred nature, with influences from the southern catholic church.  After we became lutherans,the tradition transformed again.  The Saints where not to be worshipped but held in respect. But Lucia stayed on developping in both shape and performance and moved indoors of the greater mansions.

When we changed calender the dates for midwinter altered but the 13th stayed on for Lucia.      
Christmas preparations had to be finished by the 13th, the slaughter and such. The wardingoff traditions became the younger ones chance to have a laugh, in the 18th century young boys got out in the darkness, singing and begging and probably making a lot of scary noise around the farmhouses.   In recent days, the need to stay awake all night was appealing to the swedish teenagers, so the dancefloors and bars where filled to the brim that night, making the early morning singing in schools and churches a somewhat hazardous quest.....

In around 1893 the tradition from mansions and university of singing girls in white robes, became commonly celebrated in Skansen, the park in Stockholm I told you about in my Stockholm post, some decades later a big newspaper made up a competition for young, pretty and singing girls to become Lucia, with her maidens. One, particularly pretty girl with a good voice would be chosen the Lucia of Sweden for that year. A weekly magazine picked up the challenge and made it more of a beautycontest.    The habit spread and today we choose Lucia in every school, daycarecenter, kindergarten and in every community.

 In church we try to keep the tradition somewhat sacred.  The songs are about heavenly light, waiting for the holy child, it's about St Stephen, the stable boy who saw the star first, a popular figure for the boys, white robes, a white pointy hat and a star in hand and so on.   Lucia, we are told, many different legends around this girl, was a young girl with a passion for helping the poor in the name of Jesus.It's also said that she made a secret vow of chastity and was bethrowed without her mother knowing and when it got out they had her reported to the emperor Diocletan.  Her husband to be  treathened her and she was imprisoned. She wouldn't yield so he had her eventually burned. Or somehow tortured and killed.  Another legend states that she tore her eyes out and send them to him. On older paintings you see her with a tray or plate, containing her eyes!!
Yes, and in the swedish tradition, that tray is filled with coffee, Lussekatter and Gingerbread.....
Lussekatter, a wheatbun with saffron and raisins. Very Swedish! They can be shaped as single  double , crowns , brades and larger figures. Wheatbuns was the privilege of the upper class, today we could use a bit of rhye now and then, but not at Lucia!!
The burning of Lucia is represented with a crown of burning candles on Lucias head, although the Lucias around 5-6 years of age, have battery candles.. There is also a pagan tradition of a light godess involved in the lights -on -the -head part ..And yet another legend stating that Lucia helped the poor souls in the dungeons, bringing them food and to light her way she put candles on her head.

 As a child, I dressed up for Lucia with the other children ( never got that leading part though, always maiden) and walked the alleys and doorsteps of our neighbours, singing Lucia and Christmas songs.  We could be 8-10 children. In school we did the same, I got no solos and no lightcrown, I got the reading of poems!
Later on, in the churchchoir, we were enough girls and boys below our twenties, so we did a gigantic Luciaprocession every year.
Confused?  Look here, first the angellike voices of Norrlandskörens Lucia, then a Chaotic and sweet Lucia in Kindergarten and finally - tadah!  Lucia, age 87, and her maides in the oldfolks home a couple of days ago in our county!!

In Kindergarten, Lucia is quite a different story, with gnomes, starboys and gingerbreadmen and whatnot. Every song is offkey and sung in various versions simultaneously but we still cheer and cry.

This galant lady, age 87, made her first appearance ever as Lucia. No time like the present!!!

When Lucia has marched in and out some tenthousand schools, churches, malls, squares, markets, hospitals, factories, it's time to buy the Christmas tree, bake the cakes and prepare for Christmas de luxe. As you can imagine, the Lucia of today has very little to do with the Italian Saint.  Since the legends differ among themselves, it's not easy to know head or tale. But a saint she is and Lucia will stay on in Sweden!!!

Next post will share some swedish Christmas songs and hymns , and some traditions.  Blessings!!!!

onsdag 7 december 2016

The TATINOF experience!!

And so we were again going to the big capitol, Stockholm!!
Why, you may wonder?
My oldest has a better camera than I.
Well, you know we have two teenage daughters and we try to indulge ourselves in their world, strange as it may be. You have seen two of the characters they follow on Youtube, that is, Thatcher Joe, in the post about London and John Cozart in the post about Hogwarts. 
Now I'm keeping you on the track with Dan and Phil or Dan is not on fire and Amazing Phil, both nowadays Londoners. Still confused? No wonder, so am I. 
A Youtuber is a person that communicates his or hers talents, hobbies, thoughts or pranks through a Youtube channel. Then they hope that someone will find them interesting, amuzing, annoying or worth looking at and come back to watch more. That wraps it up, I think.
A Youtuber can be anyone, perhaps your grandchild or the neighbours daughter!!
This is Cirkus, a 19th century theatrehall, very beautiful. As you can see, the running show is Phantom of the Opera. The hall was inaugurated may 25th 1892 , to house the larger circustroups that came to Stockholm to amuze the royals. All of Djurgården, as this large setting is called ,was actually a  playground for the King. It was used among other things, as huntingground were animals were implanted that didn't belong there, big game, like lions.....
We stayed here, the girls were amazed since we had but 25 metres to the entrance of the theatre!!! This hotel is almost as old as the Cirkus, quite nice. No, this is no advertising!!!
The ceiling is beautifully coloured and there are statues and carvings inside the Circus hall.
After about 90 minutes of showtime with song, dance, challenges and a lot of things I knew absolutely NOTHING about, the show ended and the schrilling, hysterical crowd with teenagers in llamahats and whiskers rampaged out. I was short of hearing for quite a while, not beacuse of the lads, but because of the audience, good Lord!!!

This is the park, Skansen, were we went this summer, it looks quite different now!! And it was rather nice to take a slow walk in the chilly air before getting back to the hotel.
Here , by the way, is Dan and Phil, a bit more modest in the adverticing than the Phantom!! Their channel is actually two, they make things together but also apart. They take challenges, answer questions, prank each other, speaks of embarrassing things and mistakes they've made, plays videogames , well, they have millions of followers, it has to be a hit!I find them sweet.

Please, do listen to the song, it really is NOTHING of what you would expect from wild Youtubers!!

Since this TATINOF ( the amazing tour is not on fire, please don't ask what that means...)
was not scheduled in Europe at all, they had been to Australia and US , we were taken aback when they suddenly announced Germany and Sweden.  So, against my better judgement we bought tickets, booked hotel and.....flight!!! I know, fly within the country is against my every line of environmental concern, but time was crucial so we took to wings!
All in all, the trip went well. I learned however, that check-in via internet is no use, something ALWAYS goes wrong and you have to do it all over again any way.
If all goes well, I'm back in Stockholm on friday because long time ago an old friend of mine invited me up to go and see the show celebrating what should have been Freddie Mercurys 70th birthday. BUT I'M TAKING THE TRAIN, mind you!!
Blessings from the flying minister.

torsdag 1 december 2016

Linear life

I find it awfully strange to realize what actually goes on in mine and others heads these days.
I spend time and energy on things that really has no impact on anything important.
Like the fact that the Christmas gift of the year i said to be Virtual glasses. Virtual glasses? 
Is that anything like the progressive lenses I am stuck with?  No? I should have guessed.
Virtual reality is just one other way to avoid real reality. Many seem to have a great urge to do that. But those who actually are living their nightmare has no option. There is no other reality to grasp but the one at hand.  The very thought of calling that progress makes me feel sick. 

Another thing that drains my energy is something they said on the tube the other day: linear tv-users. They are rapidly changing the means for tv-watching, channels and frequenses being altered and programmes being delivered in new versions, digital.  What really gets on my nerves is that it's considdered some kind of salvation for people that they can watch their tv-shows and everything else, anytime and anywhere. No need for tv-schedules, no need even for a tv-set, no need to mark the calender for your favourite tv-show. You can watch whenever you wan't, wherever you want and incessantly as well.  Linear watching is out!!  Analog is dead. In the early days, tv closed down at 22 or perhaps 23. When our primeminister was shot tv couldn't spread the news because everything was closed down and the technicians went home to sleep.  So? He wouldn't be less dead because we didn't know anything until early morning.  Today we are reached by the news even before they have happend it seems and anyone can make news, true or not. 

We are available around the clock and now we can take part of the entire mediaworld around the clock. No need for tv-sets or cinemas, we can watch everything in our mobiles or Ipads, never rest, never close, never quiet, never dark. That's progress and the blessings of technic solutions.

But I still sit myself down when it's the nine o'clock news. This evening I had my laptop working simultaneously, yes, stupid!!! But I dropped it when I watched a young man, a boy almost, showing the cameramen where his mother and sister just had been blown to pieces , this was Aleppo. Around him lay bodies, shoes, bags, shattered windows. When he turned to point out where the second granade hit, his voice broke and his eyes stared blankly around him. That was virtual reality? No that was real reality. And I don't want to rerun it at will. 
But I really ought to spend my time and energy fighting for those who lose everything in front of no one and in front of the tvcameras.  Progress will continue,  I can't stop it by moaning about it,  I really have better things to do.  So, goodnight and God bless. May this world once again be safe and beautiful.  And may we dare to live linear lifes, in the real world.