Lavishness and Inclusiveness

Last Sunday, we celebrated a bountiful harvest with a special church service, høstgudstjeneste, high mass with communion, followed by the proverbial ploughman’s lunch of soup. For the occasion, the church stewards decorate the church with sumptuous displays of harvest products all offered by the local farmers. A good way to try to dispose of the profusion of apples everyone seems to be plagued with: no squirreling allowed, here.

The novelty this year was the first-ever performance of the newly founded children’s choir, a charming presentation considering that they had hardly had any time to rehearse and needed regular prompts to remember the words and gestures.

I had a special visitor over the weekend, Julia, a beloved friend from Geneva. Julia and I have known each other for almost 40 years and, together, we have helped each other over the peaks of excitement and out of the troughs of despair of a full and rich life.

Julia is a devout Catholic and we enjoy our interfaith explorations.The Danish people’s church is very easy on who can partake of communion. Therefore, for the first time, Julia and I were able to share the sacrament amidst the amazing Babette’s feast displayed close to the altar.

After the service, I took Julia on a guided visit of the church. Although both of us are British, we usually speak in French because we met in a French-speaking environment. As I was giving detailed explanations on the 13th century frescoes which adorn the central pillar, a woman came up to me, asking in French, if she could join in, amazed to find a knowledgeable person speaking French.

Once I had finished my scholarly talk on the paintings, we got chatting. It turned out that she is Jewish, born in Paris – I thought I could detect the Parisian tonalities – and now living in Israel. She was visiting her son who lives and works in Denmark.

There was something very special about three women, a Jewess, a Catholic and a Protestant, gathering among the harvest celebrations, for a brief encounter. So much was shared in a few words. Time stood still, all conflicts and warfare momentarily suspended, as we presenced each other, as world, representing different facets of oneness. It was short and sweet, and then our companion of a few moments backed off and retracted into some other world, as Julia and I continued our explorations into all-life, all-death, all-unfolding.