My new hobby is to collect countries. It has been a while since I last checked, but I would guess that about 50 different countries are represented at our Holy Communion Service. The newest additions to our collection include Vietnam, Bosnia and Egypt. In the coming weeks I plan to go out and get a map of the world. The idea is to get an overview of how many nationalities are present at our services. The map will be at display when we drink coffee after the service. I’m also thinking we should get a guestbook going. It is a great way to remind ourselves that we are part of something much bigger – a community of Christians that world wide. Please join us this coming Sunday at 5 pm in the Cathedral. Gunilla Aquilon Elmqvist will lead the service.
Last week I needed help. I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough people to help with the different things that needed doing – preparing coffee, greeting people, reading, taking up collection. Because of this I sent out an e-mail asking people if they could help. One of the people wrote back that she could help, but also added the words “The Lord will provide”. And the Lord did provide – ALL the people I e-mailed wrote back saying they could help out. In the end my biggest problem wasn’t finding people willing to help – it was finding things for all of them to do. At the General Information Meeting I also remember that I spoke briefly to a student that wanted find an organ so he could practice playing. I remembered directing him to the musician working in the Cathedral. Last week Stefan, who together with Tomas have been playing at our services, came to me and said that he had found an international student, an accomplished organist, who wanted to volunteer playing at our services. This is a dream come true! And not only that, he will also help me finding new hymns – something I’ve struggled with. I have also found that information about our Services at 5 pm in the Cathedral have started to spread by itself. People tell other people who in turn tell other people. In the beginning getting out with information was a big problem – not so anymore. So yes – the Lord will provide!
I don’t think anyone have missed the fact the student are back in town! The international students came last week. I actually meet all of them Wednesday before last – that is I stood in front all of them telling them about, among other things, our Holy Communion Services at 5 pm. I also invited them to take a free guided tour of the Cathedral and 15% of them took me up on the offer. In the last week I have guided about 300 of them in our beautiful Cathedral. It is my hope that some of them will come to our Services in the coming weeks. This is an excellent opportunity for us to meet them and to get to known some of them. It would be good if those of us who have been here in Lund for a while, and know our way around, could be there for them in different ways. Let us make them feel welcome when they come to our Services. Help them find their way Don’t forget that this is an opportunity for us to make new friends. Several people have told me that ours is a very warm and welcoming church with a strong feeling of community. I’m very proud of this fact. So let us invite the new students into our fellowship. You are all welcome to our Holy Communion service, this coming Sunday at 5 pm, in the Cathedral.
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
The last couple of days I have been think a lot about this parable. It is one of my favourites in the bible and I often reflect over it. I think most of us can recognize ourselves in Jesus’ words. Sometimes, when everyday stress seems to take over my life I wonder if I’m not like the seeds which fell among thorns. Then there are moments when I feel really blessed doing God’s work – being God’s servant.
The last week or so I have been just about everywhere telling people about the Holy Communion Service in the Cathedral handing out information left and right. Yesterday I stood in front of 2000 student all together when I had presentations at Lund University General Information Meeting. Looking out on all those face I can’t help but wonder how many of them really listen to what I said. Still I know from experience, because people have told me so, that among those 2000 faces there were some people who really wanted the information I was giving them. We also had a table at the General Information Market where volunteers helped me to hand out information. So in the coming weeks we will see what happens. I planted the seed, my wonderful volunteers watered it….but only God makes things grow!
As I said earlier – next week the International Students will arrive here in Lund. Right now I’m busy spreading information about our congregation all over the University and all over Lund. The obvious goal being that everyone should know about our Holy Communion Services at 5 pm every Sunday. It is still not unusual to meet people who have found us by chance, coming to the Cathedral a Sunday afternoon, afterward telling us that they have been looking for an English-speaking church for months, sometimes years, without knowing about us. So please – help us spread the word! If you want information material to hand out please contact mer.
Also, please join us for Holy Communion Service in the Cathedral this coming Sunday at 5 pm.
In less than two weeks the new International students will arrive in Lund! On the 22nd of August between 10 am and 5 pm the University will organize the General Information Market. This is where International students go to collect information about Student Organisations, Churches and Businesses here in Lund. We will have a table there spreading the word about our Congregation. I will be attending several information meetings that day so I will need some help. If you can help out a couple of hours during the day it would be a great help! It is a great opportunity to meet Students from all over the world. If you can help – please contact me – email@example.com.
We have now reached the time of year when the town of Lund changes gear. In the next couple of weeks anyone who stays in Lund will notice that it’ll get less and less crowded in the streets and in the shops. In the middle of June the metamorphosis will be complete. Lund will have transformed from a busy University town into a ghost town. Sometime it feels that the only people still here are the tourists coming to see the Cathedral. I actually like this time of year in Lund. There are no cues. You can go to a movie without planning it ahead of time. You can go into a shop, grab what you want and be out there in no time – without having to stand in line. The atmosphere is very mellow and the parks and outdoor cafés are very nice in the summer. If you want to go sightseeing you can buy a Jojo summercard and travel all over Skåne between 15th of June and the 15th of August for 550 Skr. Some of my favourite places to visit are Västra hamnen in Malmö and Ale Stenar outside Simrishamn on the East coast of Skåne. The Holy communion Services in the Cathedral will continue all through summer but we are going to use a slightly shorter order of worship without a sermon. – Coffee afterwards as usual for anyone who wants a bit of company after walking around in an empty town all day. In August things will wind up again. The new International Students arrive in the middle in August and they are followed by the Swedish students some weeks later. In the beginning of September the peace and quite will be over – so enjoy it while it lasts. This is my last blog entry this term. I will start writing again in September. There will be updates on our Facebook page – search for Lund´s Cathedral/Services in English. Have a great summer!
In a recent Facebook comment I argued the merits of Lund as a University town over Uppsala. It was a friendly repartee where I, among other things, argued that there had been a school for higher learning in Lund, founded in 1424, long before the university in Uppsala was founded. The person from Uppsala, which prides themselves of being the oldest University in Scandinavia, then replied that a school for monks couldn’t be considered to be an university – a brilliant response except, of course, for the fact that almost all universities started out as schools for monks! Living in a secular society I am frequently amazed about how little knowledge people have about the role Christianity and the Church have played in the building process of our modern society. People often know about the crusades, the inquisition and the burning of witches (things the Church rightly should be ashamed about!) What they often don’t know is that the concept of children going to schools to learn and the founding of Universities is also closely linked to Christianity. The same is true with hospitals and almost all other forms of care provided by today’s society. Without Convents and Churches, which kept Libraries and copied books, a lot of knowledge would have been lost. Without the Church we wouldn’t have the music written for the Church by for example Bach and Vivaldi. Christianity has played an important part in our history. The fact that so many seems ignorant of this is a sad fact in our modern and rational society.
This coming Sunday there will be Evensong in the Cathedral at 5 pm. You are most welcome!
This coming Sunday I’m going to be talking about a form of Prayer which is connected to our breathing. Breathing in we are receiving life. Breathing out we give our life back to God. This form of prayer is sometimes called Contemplation. It has been practised by Christians for centuries – especially in monasteries. My favourite place in Lund , beside the Cathedral of course, is Liberiet – the 15th century building next to the Cathedral. On the second floor you are invited to silent contemplation four times every week. (Mondays 12.30 – 13.30, Thursdays 17 – 18, Fridays 7 – 8 and 8.45 – 9.45) For me it is a place of inner peace. Whenever I climb the stairs I find my self relaxing. Sadly, few people have discovered this opportunity to find peace in the middle of town. If you would like to try it out you are welcome on Mondays 12.15 for a short introduction.
Last Summer was my first as minister for the English-speaking congregation in the Cathedral. As Summer drew close I realized with horror that lots of people were leaving the congregation for good. Students who had finished their courses were returning home. Others left because their Visas had run out or they had been employed somewhere else. Only a handful of people would still be there come autumn. In August I was filled with dread as only a couple of people attended our Services. But then it happened. Every Sunday new people would turn up, until in September the congregation had grown to be bigger than ever. Our congregation is special – it goes away in June but return to life in September. A few remain from year to year (Thank God!), but there is always a majority of “new” people in our congregation. The hardest part with being a minister is to say goodbye to all the wonderful people one has gotten to know during the year. The best part is welcoming new people all the time. As Summer draws near this year I am not filled with dread, but with hope. People will leave and we will miss them, but this time I also know that our congregation, by the grace of God, will return to life in the fall. It is like watching autumn leaves falling and knowing that they will be back when Spring is here. Or to see the migrating birds leave and welcome them back early next year. Now, a few weeks after celebrating Easter, we are also reminded of the Gospel – that in Christ, death is not the end, but a new beginning. Knowing this in our heart we can approach life’s changes with hope in our heart.This year the Holy Communion Services will also continue all through Summer. I will write more about this later.
This Sunday at 5 pm we are visited by a congregation from England. The Holy Communion Service will be held at the High Altar. Our guest John Toy will hold the sermon. Readings: Genesis 18:26-32, Ephesians 3:14-21, Luke 18:1-8. Welcome!