Sunday, 26 June 2011

Danish Pastries, Danish bacon, Sweden and of course Abba.

How different are these two countries and how close! 

I was amazed on crossing the ferry from Sweden that in a short 20 minutes we were in Denmark. Helsignor to be precise, or Elsinor as Shakespeare fans would know it.  Didn’t meet anyone called Yorrik, which is just as well as I am sure I would have made some dreadful puns. Not even a Gertrude or Ophelia but we did meet some great Danes and shared some great food all of a Danish variety. We even got to celebrate the mid summer festival warming ourselves by bonfires along the beach with crowds of people watching  the sun drop into the Kattegat until late into the evening.

The coastal path at Gillilije boasted some memorable spots including one favoured by Soren Kierkegaard who loved to sit and gaze out across the grey sea thinking great and deep thoughts. These mostly eluded me to be honest as I never was much good at philosophy, but we did sit at his bench and like him gaze, think and reflect. “The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about,  nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived.”  Nice one Soren!

Then we came across a monument raised by a grateful nation of Israel, to the fishermen of Denmark who smuggled hundreds of Danish Jews to safety in Sweden a few miles across the water in 1943. A sobering moment.

In Sweden we had fun with Abba.  At a conference in Boras the translator was Agnetha and the keyboard player was Bjorn but there was no sign of Benny or Anni-Frid.  The whole weekend we talked about Abba, not the band but our real Abba who loves us with unfailing love.  It is amazing to see lives transformed when they realise that God is not some distant judge with a heavenly ledger weighing us in the scales of his wrath but a loving father who is totally interested in knowing me knowing you, is willing to take a chance on me and says I’ve been waiting for you.  He is a real Abba.

To quote Kierkegaard again, "God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners."

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