Reflections, Part 2: Steeples (Sweden)

The past few months have been a huge blessing to me; I cannot thank God enough for providing me with such amazing opportunities that I, more or less, did not deserve. It would be foolish of me if I neglected sharing with you these emotions, events, and places. Every moment has planted something new inside of me, and each person, shared an everlasting light.

There is something truly stirring about an old cathedral.
High stonewalls stretch beyond the imagination.
Booming acoustics transform a whisper into an overtone.
Powerful shades of grey, red, and yellow accompany curious smell, a hundred years in the making.

Our venue for the tour was a plethora of churches throughout Scandinavia. Many of these churches actually paid for our stay in the hostels and retreat centers nearby.

While on tour the Chorale discovered the hospitality of the Scandinavian Christian community. In Sweden, Norway, and Finland the official church is Lutheran, so many places of worship we visited were beautifully crafted structures built around tradition.

Consequently, our audiences consisted of conservative, older Swedish couples. Among many generous and kind people on tour were the Swedes at Olaus Petri Kyrka in Orebro, Sweden. Many of them hugged and embraced members as they left the concert, and thanked us profusely. Our host for the night gave us a tour throughout the hundred-year-old church; it was rich with ivory painted pews, an enormous organ, and an ominous stone exterior. The steeple in the photo above is part of Olaus Petri Kyrka.

It took me a few days to gather my thoughts together for this post. There is something about singing with such an amazing collection of singers, unified by the same faith and worshipping in a quiet cathedral overseas. The opportunity to sing can be presented to anyone, but sharing a sixteen-day tour with a tight group of college students overseas rarely does. I was beyond humbled by the entire experience. Words cannot do it justice.

The church Orebro was the first of many spaces at least a century old that we were blessed to perform in. The gorgeous sound shaped by the tall cathedral-like ceiling was haunting. It was easy to lose oneself in the overtones and echo during rehearsal.

What really caught me off guard was the wise, reserved attitude of the Swedish churchgoers. They are called to approach worship with respect, and God with reverence. You could see it in their bright eyes and radiant faces: they’ve learned to live sufficiently and be at peace with the Lord.

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