For the past two weeks, Scandinavia has suffered through the shocking aftermath of the massacre in Norway, perpetuated by someone as blonde and blue-eyed as the rest of us. The news reported that we have been robbed of our innocence. That is true. We mourn our loss; we mourn that such acts have forced our hands, have necessitated that we be suspicious of our own kind, of foreigners, of family; we mourn the absence of love.
Therefore, it has been good for my soul to attend the Christian camp in Sjövik, where members of various churches gathered together from all parts of the world--various cities in Sweden, Spain, Finland, and Peru--to worship God in one voice though with many tongues. Collectively we prayed in Spanish, Finnish, Arabic, Swedish, and Norwegian.
God blessed our time together. We swam in the lake and broke break together in the cafeteria and played baseball in a mix of Spanish and Swedish; we had water balloon fights; we stayed up late to talk; we listened to Pastor Eduardo share about his education ministry in Peru, my father about his work in Nepal aiming to release the Badi women from lives of prostitution, Pastor Renzo about his church in Sollentuna, Stockholm.
Amidst these times of mourning, we were encouraged by the hope we found in Jesus--hope in a humanity that can still pray together, that can share the burden of hard times, that can raise awareness about societal problems, that can practically and effectively move in the Spirit of God to seek out the lost and the broken to bless them with the grace once given us.
The church gathered by the lake to bear witness to three baptisms,
all the while accompanied by songs sung in Spanish, with guitar and djembe,
while the children ran around and blew bubbles.
A simple communion table. We work with what we got.
I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7b