The Greatest Commandmend in the Law

The Gospel according to St Matthew, chapter 22, verses 34 through 40 ——

—— first according to King James Version:

But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

—— then to the New International Version:

The Greatest Commandment
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

(for the People of the Book out there who aren’t Christian: this is repetition of what is the Old Testament of the Bible — the Old Testament contains the very scriptures which we have in common.)

What I have learned from going to church is that the love you need for your neighbor isn’t necessarily the love you feel for your significant other. The love you need for your neighbor is more of a respectfulness.
Either way, bullying someone else because of sexuality doesn’t seem very loving or respectful to me. Especially if it ends with a suicide.

Love = respect.
Bullying = disrespect.

Happy St. John’s!

John the Baptist – in Danish: Johannes Døberen; the name Hans is derived from Johannes – is said to be born six months before Jesus (according to Luke 1), which is right around now (according to the date of Jesus’ birth set by… Who??… Oh well).

I’d love to explain to you the traditions of Denmark in my own words, but for once I think that another source is actually doing a better job:

It has been celebrated since the times of the Vikings by visiting healing water wells and making a large bonfire to ward away evil spirits. Today the water well tradition is gone. Bonfires on the beach, speeches, picnics and songs are traditional, although bonfires are built in many other places where beaches may not be close by (i.e. on the shores of lakes and other waterways, parks, etc.) In the 1920s a tradition of putting a witch made of straw and cloth (probably made by the elder women of the family) on the bonfire emerged as a remembrance of the church’s witch burnings from 1540 to 1693. This burning sends the “witch” away to Bloksbjerg, the mountain ‘Brocken’ in the Harz region of Germany where the great witch gathering was thought to be held on this day.

Holger Drachmann and P. E. Lange-Müller wrote a midsommervise (Midsummer hymn) in 1885 called “Vi elsker vort land…” (“We Love Our Country”) that is sung at every bonfire on this evening.

Source: Wikipedia: Midsummer –> Denmark (as of June 24th 2010 @ 2:50 AM)

Additionally, I remember many a midsummer bonfire where a firecracker has been put in the witch, making her scream as she was burned.

Bonfire at Blågårds Plads, Nørrebro, Copenhagen.

Happy St. John's!

Last Brock of the season – catching up on Brocktour 2010

If you want to cut the latest and go straight to the last of the Brocktour, click here.

On Friday, we had the last Rock Service of the season in Brorson’s Church. The band was Turnip Greens, playing a very Southern kind of rock; very bluesy. They were, IMHO, one of the few bands that have been radically different from the rest of the lot I have heard live at the Services. Sure, I can tell the bands apart when I have to, but most of them are ususally one big blur.

This was also the first time I have ever worn a portable mic in my life. I think this came from having to deal with a presentation with two exercise bikes in front of everything, the two guys exercising having to use the portable mics anyway. So instead of having to deal with the extra cords/wires/jacks for the usual prayer mics when pulling the (heavy!!!) bikes aside, we (who read the prayers) just took over the mics as soon as the presentation was over. And just so we’re clear – using portable mics for the two individuals reading the prayers is GENIUS; no having to think of how to hold up the prayers and tilt your head in order to be able to READ the prayers AND having the mic catching the sound properly. Just attach the mic as you did when it worked through dress rehearsal, unmute it (it would be stupid and highly disturbing to the rest of the crowd NOT to mute it throughout the rest of the Service), and wham-bam-boogie – vi kører.

Having Per the Reverend back as the preacher was a true gift. In spite of him being the preacher through Easter, I had almost forgotten how he looked in his cassock and ruff; he’s been off duty for the Rock Services of March and April, plus the monthly morning service in May – and I haven’t been able to attend the very few services there has been in between (there are few enough for me to actually spend a lot of time in Jerusalemskirken in between without missing out on much in Brorson’s; most of Brorson’s services are at the most monthly or annual, depending on the occasion, not weekly). Seeing that Jerusalemskirken is a Methodist church (where the ministers either look like smurfs when dressed in their blue cassock and white stole for their regular morning service or are dressed slightly more informal for their second Sunday service), Per in his black cassock and white ruff was a divine sight!

We had visitors from Herning, a town in Jutland, who left us this wonderful message:

Super good service!! We enjoyed it! You rule! And keep doing that! God be with you! With love Herning ❤ P.S. Hope you see this

Catching up on the last of the Brocktour, we had our last Service in Skt. Nikolai Church in Holbæk. In my opinion, it was one of the greatest Services of that tour. You could argue that it was because it was the last one, that it was the only one on Zealand (the rest being in Jutland), and the worst had already happened (you may remember me cursing over the confirmands in Løgumkloster over Facebook). But I don’t think those are the actual reasons why.

I remember a description given by one of the others; that the last couple of back rows in the church were confirmands with their usual hormones – topped off with Red Bull. Yup, you can only imagine the noise they were trying to make; you might think it would be Løgumkloster all over again. But first of all, Skt. Nikolai isn’t as huge as Løgumkloser. Second of all – as soon as they started making noise, the rest of the congregation (including confirmands, I believe) litterally hushed loudly at them – every time! – and they stopped. I LOVE them for doing that, hushing down the rascals! Love. love. love!

Besides that, we had the same arrangement with the Sacrament/Holy Communion as we did in Løgumkloster; seeing that at least Løgumkloster is one of the biggest churches around (Skt. Nikolai isn’t the biggest, but it isn’t small, either), we had two stations with two reverends each serving bread and wine. Besides our own Reverend (Per), we had three other Reverends coming in from the local and neighboring perishes. In Skt. Nikolai, I remember receiving it from at least one Reverend (if not the two of them) from the neighboring perish (Tveje Merløse Church/Perish) – and I was surprised by how sincere he was. Not saying that other Reverends aren’t sincere, but I think it can quickly become a habit when having to say “This is the Body/Blood of Christ(, shed for you)” a humongous number of times every so often – and this Rev was jawdroppingly sincere and convincing, not just repeating a line. That gave me a great, positive energy to go up and read out the prayers shortly after, and that was the best read of prayers of the entire tour, no question about it.

I think no matter how sick and tired I become of dragging things back and forth from different churches, setting up, taking down, etc., I’ll always end up going back on tour again – just because I end up remember the good things. If I get another chance of touring, I may just take it.

Christianity and Socialism

This is one of those entries where I just vent and rant out of frustration, getting all hotheaded. Of course, I do understand that one can feel slightly stupid when working one’s butt off, only to risk having 60 % of one’s personal earnings taken away (the basic rates were – at least until Dec. 31st, 2009 – app. 35-40 %, depending on the municipality of your residence; additional rates are put into work if you earn a higher amount of money).
Still, knowing that it could save the weakest in society, that I can save someone’s day/education/basic economy/life/etc. (also referring to the blog entry I mention in the end of this one), I’m okay with it. I’m aware that some individuals may take advantage of it, but still – they don’t represent the rest of the lot.

Btw, Graham – I think it’s an amazing step you’re taking. Amazing, awesome, and admirable. Congratulations to the both of you!

Christianity and Socialism
Written in post-Christmas December, 2009.

Yet again, the darling Graham has sent me right up on my soapbox (or just right back behind the keyboard of my computer, quickly entering my dashboard, and adding a new post) with an entry on family matters.
Yes, I have been inspired to write a blog entry by one of his earlier entries, but reading another of his entries had me pausing, thinking for a moment (yup, I’m easily distracted every now and then. But, Graham, Canada?! Wowsies!!!), and the entry ended up as a draft only. It may just be reviewed, polished, and presented on a later occasion (but don’t hold your breath – at least breathe while you stock up on canned goods).

Let me just start with saying that I generally agree with Graham on family/friendly matters; he just reminded me of my opinion on Christianity and socialism – and the handful of reactions from the US I’ve seen on TV. I just started writing in the Comment box, and in the end it seemed to me to be more of a blog entry for my own blog rather than a comment for Graham.

I remember watching something on TV – a sort of news story or somesuch – about a family from the US. It was connected to President Obama and the health care reform.

Not specifically in that news story, but in news from the US in general, socialism seems to be a bad word in the US; something created by the Devil – only one thing seems to be worse (to those it’s not equal to): Communism.

The specific news story in question showed a married couple – I think with one or two children – who were opposed to public health care. They and their children were all covered through their places of work, so they had no need for anything public (apparently). A useful fact for the following is that they are Christians and attending a local church.

They were asked what would one should do if one wasn’t as fortunate as them and couldn’t afford health care. Their answer? They should go to their church for help.

And my reaction? Heck yeah, I got pissed. How about those not being Christian? Not attending church? Not being ABLE to go? Don’t they deserve to be taken care of?

I live in a society based on socialism/social democracy/reformism, and being born and raised here with a universal welfare state, I’m used to high taxes – and through that the right to receive free health care, free education, to receive student grants never to be paid back, to receive social security, pension, etc. from the State, paid through the beforementioned high taxes, no matter my religious and ethnic background, skintone, etc.

Being a Christian, raised by Socialists, listening to sermons about “loving thy neighbor” (and may I just add: “as thyself”!), and having a Reverend (the very Rev from Brorson’s ChurchChurch Sanctuary and all that) re-telling the Parable of the Good Samaritan whenever he gets the chance, it’s beyond me how Christians can’t approve of money being redestributed through a universal welfare state, making sure that everybody are “home” safe.

Yes, I’m a socialist – and I believe that since a country asks people to be legal, good, responsible citizens with legal passports and various other official ID (varying from country to country), paying taxes, the country also has a responsibility to keep its citizens safe; even going as far as to get them home if something serious (illness, harm) happens to them abroad (yes, this USED to be a part of the package in my country).

*sigh* If I didn’t get all of my bitterness out right here, an old blogpost may be dusted off and republished right here on this very blog. Nope, this subject never gets old to me.

Song/Prayer: “Take Me To That Place”

Since I got the CD “Great Joy” by Kefas Gospel Choir (who is also @ MySpace), there has been one song with the ability to calm me down. Be it the funky/jazzy feel and the café-like sounds of coffee/teacups, glasses, spoons… Or be it the text of the song, which is a perfect prayer when feeling off course.

Take Me To That Place (Hans Christian Jochimsen)

Take me to that place
Where there will be nore more pain
Help me run the race
Lord, I have all to gain
Fill my life with grace
That I may smile again
Take me to that place
Let me hear angels again

Lord, will You take me to that place
Where the angels sing and I can smile again
Take me to that place
Will you take me
I don’t want to wait until I die
To have peace of mind, I need a resting place
Take me to that place
Please let me go back

Take me to the mountain’s top
Take me through the valleys low
If I should give up
Show me which way to go
You know I’ve been there before
Lord, when I first saw Your face
Now I need You more and more
Fill me again with Your grace

Show me how to love again
The way I used to love
Show me how to live again
The way I used to live
Take me to the place
Where I first saw You
I want to be
Where I saw You…