While reading about the Wool Trail (local yarn! handspun! natural dyes!), a church, for some reason, was listed on the trail. Researching the church further, turns out the church had an excellent website (with English translation). In fact, this church, miles from any town, was actually a cathedral and had worship Monday through Friday at 9 and 6. I emailed the cathedral to make sure they would indeed be offering worship and received a quick and welcoming reply. There would an 11 AM service in lieu of the 6 PM service for Ascension Day. They hoped I would be able to come.
So today, the Feast of the Ascension, our plans centered on being in Skalholt for worship. With yet another mass murder by gun in a school back home on Tuesday, my soul needed to gather for prayer with others.
The drive to the church was as all Icelandic travel, extraordinary. The clouds seemed to be celebrating Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
The building in which we worshipped today is the tenth in this location; the first was built in the 11th century (earthquakes, volcanos, fire, ice, and wind take their toll on Icelandic buildings). There is quite a tumultuous and bloody past in the cathedral’s history due to religious disagreements.
Thankfully, worship today was peaceful and beautiful. The building itself is a piece of art and the music (choir, organ, and piano) was the kind that invites prayer. Although I couldn’t mentally understand the words spoken (all in Icelandic, of course), the rhythm of the Eucharist and the sound of hymns (some with familiar tunes) along with exquisite places to rest my eyes within a community of praying people made for rich, rich worship.
After worship, we were invited for coffee and bread in the parish hall.
It’s difficult for me to have hope that we can make America safer again with sensible gun laws. But worshipping in a place where the foundation had been bathed in blood due to religious disagreements gave me a pause to hope that perhaps things can change in my own country. I know God can make it possible and desires to do so. God is only waiting for us to say yes and to partner with God.