Volume XXVII, Number 2
In This Issue
On Sunday, October 21, 1894, the public in and around the neighborhood of North Park College was invited to a celebration of the opening of the school, which had recently relocated to Chicago from Minneapolis.
In the climate of dry humor in which I was raised, there was no shortage of historical quotes and proverbs shared, often creatively adapted to the situation at hand. The game was to use them incorrectly, but cleverly, so as to get a laugh.
One of Sweden’s vibrant, yet relatively unknown, sacred musical traditions can be traced to the late-fourteenth-century abbey at Vadstena, the Ordo Sancti Salvatoris (more commonly known as the Birgittine Order). Over the past year, I delved into the archives at Uppsala University and trekked to Vadstena Abbey itself to understand how these traditions developed and why they became so important in Sweden’s musical and religious history.
During my doctoral studies at Northwestern University/Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in the late 1970s, I heard that one of the professors at North Park Theological Seminary, Dr. Fredrick Holmgren, was being severely criticized for a recent book. I had been attending the Winnetka Covenant Church for a few years and knew about North Park but had not yet met Fred, who was later to become a treasured friend and colleague.
As every year, our faculty at Bethel University ended its annual pre-semester retreat this August with a time of worship. Our campus pastor shared a brief meditation on one of my favorite passages in Scripture, John 17, which records Jesus’ prayer not long before his crucifixion. Every time I read it I’m struck again that Jesus spends so much of the prayer asking that those who follow him be unified — not just his disciples in that historic moment but “those who will believe in me through their message,” including you and me!
In the recent book When I Was a Child I Read Books, one of my favorite authors, Marilynne Robinson, writes: "I have reached the point in my life when I can see what has mattered, what has become a part of its substance — I might say a part of my substance.”
“Do you want to buy a ‘hottuh’?” Alder asked. “A what?” I questioned. “A hottuh,” Alder restated. “You know, you could buy it with your money bubbles.” I looked into my hand and gently scooted around the seven colored glass drops, again batting around the word “hottuh” in my head, trying to figure out what Alder was talking about. Five-year-old vowels and topics can often be mysterious, so I quickly debated a way to get more information without letting on that I had no idea what Alder was saying.
A man decided to learn how to sky dive. So he enlisted the services of an expert and together they flew to the appropriate height whereupon he jumped out into space for his voyage back to earth. At the proper moment he pulled the ripcord only to discover it did not open his chute. Realizing there was no other alternative, he resigned himself to his inevitable fate.
In the most recent chapbook of my poetry, I wrote a poem about THE BODY. I meant to convey the notion that the body is a declining gift. It won’t be around forever. It has so much to teach us. It should not be despised, but cherished!
I give thanks for knowing and loving, and being loved by this most remarkable person. With joy I bear witness to her faith by inviting the fresh breezes of the gospel word to blow across our tears and lift our feet to dancing.
I’m pleased to report that I spent part of Saturday, June 23, 2012, at the Augustana Heritage Association’s “Gathering VIII” at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. The Augustana Synod was formed by Swedish immigrants in 1860.
Glen Wiberg’s new book; 30th Annual Dusty Larson Memorial golf tournament
Sandy’s family lived in Weymouth, Massachusetts and she was born in nearby Quincy Hospital. She was raised in the Pilgrim Covenant Congregational Church in Quincy. Church was a big part of her life. The neighborhood library was a favorite place of hers. She loved school and loved singing with her next door neighbors. She was thankful for these wholesome influences on her young life.
Helen B. Swanson, member of Cape Cod Covenant Church in Brewster, Massachusetts, and widow of Covenant pastor Richard J. Swanson, died September 9, at her daughter’s home in Chicago. She was three days shy of her ninety-first birthday.