Yesterday’s five hour drive from Reyjkavik to Akureyri in the far north of Iceland ended up taking my friend and me nine hours–not for any reason except that we get easily distracted and like to stop and look. This time, jet lagged as we were, we also had to pull over for two fifteen minute naps along the way. 

Today we decided we would have a walking day. We spent most of the day walking hilly Akureyri, jacket hoods up and down depending on the rain, doing the same kind of easily distracted traveling that we usually do in the car. 

Walking with a friend, that means there is twice the stopping and starting.  With the extra stopping, more not so tiny treasures get found. 

A place to stop and draw in an art museum. 

Painted sidewalks. 

Stoplights reimagined after the 2008 financial crisis in Iceland. 

Stopping meant an interesting extended conversation with a shopkeeper. As is often the practice, Icelanders want to know where you are from. When my friend replied to the shopkeeper’s query that I was from Houston, and that, yes, I had flooded, five feet worth, his look of deep compassion was unexpected. He began to talk about how distressed the Icelanders were with the devastation;  he was even more distraught about the response of Pastor Joel Osteen to the flood, as had been reported in the news in Iceland. Iceland!

This gives me pause. I don’t know the whole front and backstory of Pastor Osteen’s actions. As clergy who has made her own pastoral mistakes, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. However, I am struck how viral such actions of perceived neglect from a person of enormous wealth and professed faith are noticed and remembered.  Especially when there was so very, very much more extraordinary responses offered, some of which the shopkeeper did speak also. 

Still, this is why we Christians must always strive to be known by our acts of love, so that is the Gospel that is always preached. People near and far notice. 

I ended the day praying LiveFeed Compline with my friends at St. Mary’s.  Revd. Alan will post it seven hours afterwards in St. Mary’s Compline hour. In the midst of the sunset outside my hotel window, a rainbow shone. 

In the morning, I’ll walk down the hill to the local church for Sunday worship; I understand it’s their version of “Rally Sunday.” That should make for a lively beginning of the day. 

Meanwhile. I’ll end in Icelandic for good bye:  Bless Bless. 

3 thoughts on “Stopping 

  1. What a lovely blog post Reverend Beth. It is a good point, it’s very important for us Christians to always try to treat others with love. It can be difficult sometimes, but its so important because we represent the Gospel and because “negative behaviors” are unfortunately remembered by humans more easily than positive ones! I’ll definitely try to remember and think about your post in the future, thanks for writing it and have a great trip!


    1. I should add of coursr those aren’t the -only- reasons why we should treat others with love, but just two additional ones to help us remember:)


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