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Prenumerera på listan via RSS Se inlägg taggade Stockholm

Nationaldag dixiebandnationaldag field


National Day celebrations in Humlegården with dixieband "Humlegårdens promenadorkester"


The sun broke through the clouds, bringing us warmth on a windy day. A good crowd of people had now gathered on the lush field in Humlegården park. Many were standing up as the national anthem was played by the dixie band on stage. Some were singing, though only quietly. A company of young actors dressed up as royalties were posing to the side of the stage. Children were running around, chasing balloons. No flagpoles in sight. No one dressed up in blue & yellow, the colors of the Swedish flag. Behind the field, on the playground, children were making paintings and putting together vehicles in wood. Welcome to Sweden, country of lagom. Even national day is celebrated the lagom way!


I think back of the way in which national day (Koningsdag) is celebrated in the Netherlands, where people massively dress up in orange, gather for outdoor concerts, sing, dance and celebrate. Where the street turn into giant flea markets with children selling off their toys and trinkets. Where the king and his family walk the streets of a selected town, greeting people and admiring different performances and creations. With a history of more than 130 years, it has truly turned into a feast for the nation, embraced by all.


Swedish national day was previously only called “Day of the Swedish flag” with a tradition of celebrating since 1916. Renamed to national day in 1983, it only became a bank holiday in 2005. I remember those first years where colleagues were happy to have a day off, but had no idea how to observe or celebrate national day. Hardly any events were organised and my church at that time jumped in the gap by organising an outreach with activities for kids. These days however, there seem to be many events organised by local municipalities and cultural institutions, with the main event - hosting the royal family - being at open air museum Skansen of course.


nationaldag MJ

National Day celebration in Hagaparken, photo: Michelle Job Photography

As a Christian, one could argue that national days are nothing to celebrate. Why lift up the nation state and the monarchy when we are citizens of Heaven, serving the highest King. But I feel that it is quite beautiful to observe a national holiday that is not affiliated with the Christian religion. It allows for people from all backgrounds and beliefs to come together in celebration of the country we call home. It reminds us of the values that characterise this nation and that bind us together, such as peace, democracy, equality, solidarity, freedom of speech and religion and environmental consciousness. These are values to cherish and celebrate. In addition, in a country where 16% of the population is born in another country, we have a day to come together and build new, common traditions.


I pray that national day will be a time for us to lift up diversity as a strength and to embrace one another as neighbours.


Träffar: 2188

“Why does the wind blow away the seeds?” asked my son early one morning. He paused from his bowl of yogurt and cornflakes as he looked at me with curious round eyes and waited for an answer. We were reading Images of God by Marie-Hélène Delval, as had become our ritual at breakfast these past few months.

The question made me pause and think...all of the following in perhaps three seconds.

Reproduction of course. The plant has seeds in order to produce offspring. But why does it need the wind? Why could it not just drop the seeds right there where it lives? Well, there would not be enough sun, or water, or nutrients from the soil. The seeds need a good environment to thrive. Not too close to the mother plant...

Having just read the post-Easter texts where Jesus commissions his disciples to go out and make disciples of all the nations, I could not help to think about the similarities between the story and the image of the wind, carrying the seeds. The wind being the Holy Spirit that Jesus emphasised was a prerequisite for the mission given.

I answered my son and he was content with the answer. Quietly, he kept on eating his cornflakes.

And I continued to think about the image of us, disciples, being seeds. Carried away by the Holy Spirit, into the city, among the people that we spend our days with. Growing shoots, bearing fruit and producing new seeds and new offspring.

Even though the wind carried a flurry of snow and hail this week, there are sure signs of spring life around us. And most certainly in our hearts.


God is wind

Taggad i: Hopp Staden Stockholm
Träffar: 1981

Two days ago, our city of Stockholm was struck by a terror attack killing four people and wounding others. Still fresh in our minds was the gas attack in Syria last Tuesday killing at least 50 people, including children.

Today, as we gathered for our Palm Sunday celebration, there was a bomb attack on two coptic churches in Egypt, killing at least 40 people. They too, were gathering to celebrate Palm Sunday.

How can we sing, dance, wave our palm branches and welcome our Messiah while our hearts are sad? In what way is Jesus really King when innocent people are slaughtered?

This is my encouragement for you today: We welcome our Messiah because He won against all the powers of darkness and destruction in our world and in our lives. Not by means of terror, power, violence, fear or intimidation. But with the ultimate sacrifice of his own blood. That is our reason for hope.

“The thief´s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” (John 10: 10-11)

...I hear you. The pain is real. The gut-wrenching anger at the loss of innocent lives. The continued presence of evil. Jesus himself wept for those that would not come to accept the kind of peace that He came to bring (Luke 19:41).

But the hope is real too. It allows us to see beyond terror, to believe in a good God and to see goodness in people around us. It allows us to be bold and fearless because we are part of a bigger narrative, one of which we already know the ending.

And as tens of thousands of Stockholmers gathered in a demonstration of love today, presenter Rickard Sjöberg found the perfect words to end the gathering when he quoted Martin Luther King: “Hate does not drive out hate, only love can do that.”



IMG 1552In the sea of flowers left behind in memory of the victims of the terror attack in Stockholm on 7 April, there is a note saying "goda grannar" (good neighbors) showing a church and a mosque in the skyline.

Träffar: 2036


Born and raised in the Netherlands. Great interest...
Pastor i Immanuelskyrkan med ansvar för den svensk...
Pastor och föreståndare i Immanuelskyrkan

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