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söndag 25 juni 2017

Summertime - again?

I know I am not very active right now as blogging goes.
From time to time my life just rushes on and it seems that friday comes right after monday.
We are having a bit of a hard time and I admit, we are not coping all that well.

At the same time, the world is in a bad state and need attention as well. In todays sermon I thought about the fact that we are surrounded by announcements, statements, warnings, appeals, political speaches, headlines. We are scared, downhearted, sad, angry, in despair, guilty.  And at the same time you can never know what headline will be altered in the morning, what astonishing news will be gone by evening, what everlasting truths will be lies ever so shortly.   We are tired of all these disasters and terrors, endlessly shouted at us.
We need to hear about something solid and good, something comforting that will stay the same tomorrow and the next day. We need statements and proclamations that can carry us however the wind may change.
This sunday ended the Midsummerweekend, it's the sunday of John the Baptist.  It's the proclamation of the solid rock, the Salvation and the neverchanging Resurrection. The Lord IS God, and no one else, the Saviour IS born, the Kingdom is real, the Covenant is real.

I for one need to hear that kind of proclamation, otherwise my soul will get tired by the suffering of people arround me and perhaps my heart will turn elsewhere and get cold.
But if I know that God is on our side, never letting go, I can let that knowledge carry me through the dark times.  And pray that it can comfort others!
Zacharia, Johns father, is giving voice and words to the joy he feels about this son of his, God keeps his promises so that everyone will know it and see it. It's a wonderful song.

In Sweden, we don't speak much of John the baptist, but we celebrate midsummer, both in church and in our homes, you can read about it in my post from last year:
If you want to know more about the Summer solstice, check with the Heron, he is the expert on that!!

This weekend I had one marriage, two christenings, one high mass and two services with lots of music.  I am a bit tired. We've had such funny weather too, for long we heard warnings everyday about the water, now the rain got back and so we are good again.  
The wedding was interesting, the bride was from Thailand and her sister sang for us, a song about land and family and speaking to your loved ones about worries and joys. Amazing singing technique!!! After that wedding I stood in the pouring rain talking to the couple who wants their wedding to be in the harbour beneath a certain tree, we decided there would be no rain on that actual day.......
I actually pinched this picture from Facebook, a man taking nice pictures of our choirs singing!!!! I couldn't take any since I am down there!! As you can see, the empty seats in the front rows belong to the choirs...100 year Jubilee!!!

Last weekend also was interesting and indeed a very pleasant event. Our choirleader in church turned 60 in february and that has caused him lots of agony. To cheer himself up he decided to give the parish something from his heart and as he has served in 40 years he set up for a 100 year jubilee.  The churchchoir turned 80 three years ago and I wrote a song for that occasion but since it never was finished I took help from a colleague and finished it now. I just wanted him to have it , but he actually wanted to use it so, oh dear, the choir sang it on that Jubilee concert. So he started out with Bach from the powerful church organ and then three different choirs took turns in the singing, we had amazing solos from several persons, by voice, by trumpet, by harmonica, by violin.....  oh, what blessed times!!! The church was filled to the brim!  Praise was sung, carefully chosen songs, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Swedish composers( and me!). You can see a picture above!!
We closed with  "Abide with me", varying between solo, trumpet, violin, choir and the entire congregation .  I heard now that we had it recorded and if we are lucky it's good so we can get a copy each. I wish I knew how to bring it to you, but I don't.  

Here is a little film about our church, it's in swedish but you can enjoy the pictures!! This is where I serve, one of our churches, that is!!

We need to share both good and bad, we need to take part of both darkness and light.  The terrible disasters that shake the world right now and have done so for a long time, are enough to discourage anyone, but there are so many heartwarming occasions in the middle of all this, that you still find it possible to carry on.
Since we are going to London again this year, we are following the news with great care.
But we know that terror hits everywhere, in Stockholm we experienced it for the first time.
I feel downhearted about the Grenfell , all those people, and for what gain?? But now we hear they are taking action all over the UK. 600 houses just like that one...600???!!!! Only in the UK? What about the rest of the world? Hurry, lifes can be saved!!

It's too late for those poor souls , but hopefully there have been lessons to learn. No more.
WE have to come to many of those NO more and NEVER again!!  At least we have to try taking charge of what we actually can do!  So much to do, so much knowledge to be used, so much experience to weigh in before we decide, so much concern to take, so fragile is the human life and so strong.  We are no fools, we know what is right, we have the tools. So as far as it is our responsibility,  when things are within our reach and we have the means to do right, then we must do it.  And while we raise our voices for action, we can take care of those in need, the love and care between people when times are dark, is the most hopeful proof that the words from the Scripture today - are valid and solid. God hasn't abandoned his people - so love still remains among us - we can see it with our own eyes!! 
And as a small token of bright days: some pictures from two weeks ago:

We went for a small excursion in the Osterlen county, this is the Chapel of Knäbeck. It can hold 20 if you stand tight...

Churchwarden Peter trying the belltower
The internal

lördag 10 juni 2017

The lark ascending - music to make you lighthearted

Just wanted to cheer my british friends up and let you all take part of something really wonderful.  This is "The lark ascending" by Ralph Vaughn Williams.
Since I compose a bit myself, I find great pleasure discovering new music and this I heard the other day, feeling gloomy about Brexit, Trump and personal matters.
When such music is possible , how great will not the heavenly choirs be like? I wonder.
So if you found time to plough yourself through my last post, maybe this one will fill your heart with light and blessings!

fredag 9 juni 2017

This is the season

So this is the season?

Mothers day is the last sunday in May, look what I've got!!

Come sunshine, come tourists, come flags!! 

The month of maying is long gone, there was hardly any spring at all, some say now that we have but two seasons left.  Pentecost was cold and windy, with our 55 voices big church choir singing at the service, our National Day was spent with anthems sung from every citysquare, speaches held and flags and banners waving. We payed our icecream boat a visit and then strolled over to the big(?) city square.  New swedish citizens welcomed, folkdancers and childrens choirs. This has been a holiday for 7 years now,  originally the day, june 6th, was celebrated because of the King Gustav Wasa ( yes, the one that gave his name to the skiing contest) With him the country was united under one king only in 1523. That same king also made way for the protestant church. In doing that he emptied the monasteries and killed quite a few monks, but hey, we were now lutherans!!

Our part of the country was still danish though... anyway, several hundred years went by and we then imported a new king for the new kind of kingdom, a new order of government was signed 1809 june 6th, by june 27 all the counties had signed and so we had a new reign. We now got one of Napoleons generals for king, they couldn't get along so it was a win win situation and we got the Bernadottes, first one called Carl XIV Johan, but he actually didn't speak french like everyone else did, more some kind of spanish.  Since 1818 this has been the Royal order in Sweden, the King has no real power today but is a very important symbol for our nation. We love our royal family. At first we celebrated the flag alone, then we started to call it a nationalday 1983, although we never had any victory or independence day to celebrate so this day never had the pregnance that these days have in other countries.  Norway f.i. 

Here is the national anthem, about great days of glory, this particular version is from the park in Stockholm, Skansen where the royal family celebrate every year.

This is also the time for graduation, schoolproms and partys in every garden, the barbecue time and in our community - time for Sweden Rock Festival - a week when we are invaded by 33.000 hideous and friendly rockers from all of Sweden ; Denmark, Norway, Finland but also Germany and more.
They arrive dressed in jeans and t-shirts or even suits and polished shoes and come out of their tents and caravans dressed in robes, with black or white eyelenses and walking sticks with skulls and demons on them. This year we have Scorpions and Aerosmith f.i, but last year Queen was here, sort of...Freddie....

This is the season when our children go on summer leave, in Sweden they have that summer from mid june to mid august. For some children this is a wonderful time of bathing, travelling, picnic and partys. It's a time for meeting relatives and friends. For others, it's a idle time, time to kill, time spent indoors with the computer as only company, for some children these are days when they don't get enough to eat every day because of the economical and social situation in the family. When I was that age the community sent me for summer to families in the country side, I have written about those days here: 

without that help my life would have been quite different, for sure.

This is also election time , it's not going very well for the conservatives in UK. Not in Sweden either, the right wing is falling rapidly, they call for changed leadership, and that is also the case in the left wing. A coalition is needed for next years election? In the UK, it seems that everything is no shaking, we hope for at good and solid solution, the Brexit has to be managed in a wise and sound fashion, now when its there to handle. I'm sorry about it, but hope for the best. 

Handling things wisely is also a deep felt prayer, when terror hits again and again. We need to take action, we need to be firm and we need to unite our forces. This is the season when the free world and the freedom of people is threathened by a thinking that is uncomprehensable to us.
It seems that an answer in military fashion is unevitable, so now it's on.  A sensible political thinking to prevent more bloodshed, must be layed on the table as well as those actions.  People are scared and angry, people are hurt and bewildered.  Who can we trust? No one?  I fear a closed and suspicious society. That was the goal, wasn't it? 

But then again; so comforting to see that there are no hayforks or angry mobs roaming the street, screaming for revenge.  Instead people start to sing, buy flowers, write poems and greetings, holding and comforting each other, side by side, young and old, christian and muslim.
We have to fight this, but we must keep the hatred out of our hearts - that is what they say these people who ran for their lives and now are back in the streets, seeking fellowship.  That probably wasn't intended but that is what we've got.  I pray that it will last. 
We are , I believe, strong enough to act for those who are in need right now, and we do,  and so hope is possible, because Gods children need eachother, He created us that way.

Same sparrow every day - tjirrp, tjirrp. I don't know what he is on about but I prefer him because at the rooftop of the parish home, we right now have an angry family of gulls, attacking everyone and everything, protecting the newly hatched babies.  I can understand them, children must be protected, but I still prefer the sparrows way.....
This is the season also, to hope for a better life ahead while trying to get through every day not worrying about the next.  We try to do this in our family, some of you know the difficulties we are facing right now, but we are not abandoned, just very tired.  Matthew 11:28 is called for!
" come to me , ye who are tired and burdened, I shall give you rest "( swedish translation, didn't check King James's )

And now, a bite to eat and then off to prepare for another christening of a little boy. 
This afternoon will be spent celebrating the 60th birthday of a woman in the churchchoir, fighting to live a good and bright life in spite of her handicap - this will be a good day!!!

lördag 3 juni 2017

No doubt about the drought.

Good saturday!!!

This beautiful cross was made of the talented old lady Eva Spångberg. She moved home to Jesus a couple of years ago.  On sunday we celebrate Pentecost with 55 choirsingers, musicians and a wonderful Mass with folkmusic. Blessings to you all!!!!!

Water, cool, clear water!!! We are having some problem with the waterlevel, mostly in the southern parts of Sweden.
Up north they still have snow..
We hade a flood this winter, the water rose to a level we seldom see around here,   covering backyards and parkinglots and gardens. Unfortunately that has very little to do with the water supplies. Many hot and dry summers and some winters almost without snow has created a situation that can become very troublesome and already is in some parts.
On my favourite island Öland they are trying a device for seawater, last year they had to take fresh water from the mainland in great tankers.  
The drought also has it's roots in how we use water nowadays.  We shower for hours, some take showers twice a day. We have swimmingpools in every second garden, we have recycling so we have to rinse everything in order to avoid smelling yoghurt bottles and oily trays. 
The farmers need to use sprinklers on the fields when there is no rain, the soil is flying around
like smoke. And in our part they are alarmed about the state of things when we start Sweden Rock Festival, four days of solid rock. The american bands are reluctant and some have backed out, they fear for terrorism.  Anyway, it takes huge amounts of water to serve all these rockers.
After the festival we will probably be drinking by teaspoon....
Still, we are blessed and spoiled, we still have water , clear and clean, for everyone to use. Soo many walk for miles and then the water is almost never clean, so....

Yesterday was also graduationday in our little town, hundreds of
young, singing, howling, happy and scared teenagers in their white hats
and white dresses or smart suits. The great ball took place last week,
with long dress, hairdo and limousines, they spend half a fortune on
dresses, hairdresser, makeup, shoes, champaign and parties.
The brightening future is ours - they chant or sing.
Our oldest is up next year....my husband and I fear the great
cavity that will evolve in our bankaccount.

Taking a stroll last night we saw the party tents and the balloons in blue and yellow , many graduates in our village as well. 
Our oldest is now 18, she can vote in church, we have a system with elected churchcouncils,
you can vote from the age of 16. But she thinks it's better to prepare for the real election next year. At the news we could hear the voices of young people in UK who have no intention of voting for parliament next week. They have no interest for it, they say, and it's no use voting, they wont care about us anyway a young girls said. Democracy has been fought for and dreamed of and is an impossible thought in many countries. Young people there can only dream of it.  But I can understand that when you find yourself standing last on the list of priorities, you may not think voting can change anything. They interviewed young people in Leeds, unemployed or underpayed, insecure and with no chans of university studies. Same kind of people that live in trailors and try to make ends meet with bad pay, bad health and no social security , in Trumps America. They found he was an alternative for them. How the young people in UK think of their future and who to vote for, is also troublesome. They never voted for Brexit, how then can they choose who is to make the exit !

Politics is important and difficult. We'll be having the Burma leader for a visit in Sweden soon.
Politics is a way of adapting the gospel to make society work. Martin Luther thought it was important to create a society where everyone was safe and every skill needed and valued!!
A good working society is a blessing.  Unfortunately he got involved with the uproar of the farmers and stood on the wrong side, I think he accused the farmers of a bloody uproar and therefore banned it, maybe he didn't foresee the bloodbath that his peers made of it!!!
It's nothing new this game of power, it will continue for as long as there is something to gain in oppressing, stealing and lying. Too many lies are being spread, too much of it is mistaken for the truth and too little is discovered before the damage is made. WE have a great economical scandal rolling up, even bigger than the first one a couple of years ago, the one with the false mailboxes... Now we see billions hidden in bankaccounts, while the owners declare nothing of it or only a trifle of it to the taxoffice. Democracy also need a system where everyone helps paying for everything we decide we need: schools, roads, trains, hospitals, welfare, security...
If you decide not to be a part of that when you actually have the means, you are no better than the young people in Leeds who say: "Politics is not my thing, I don't want to be part of it"

In Sweden the headlines are screaming about mistrust and bad leaders, may they be out out and ashamed, pictures and miscredits are visible everywhere, these people have families and feelings, the blaming society that Rachel spoke of is very true. We need a scape goat for the bad situation, be it the countries finances or the footballteams losses. 
I know, they chose to go in to politics , they get payed for it, they have plenty of advantages being who they are, but they are still people, humans, do to others...
We are not talking of crimes here, just failors in doing what I was set to do.  Mercy mercy.

Chestnuts by the church

Our little bee hotel got its first inhabitants, six of the small rooms are taken and this guard is watching over them!!!!!

Poppies are popping up everywhere, glowing red!!
Seeing the lupines in their nice pastel coats, makes me think of John Cleese. Ever seen Dennis Moore?  The rather sweet but confused Robin Hood character? Click and enjoy!!!


Lupines without the red are almost even more beautiful!!!!!