Sunday, April 27, 2008

Confirmation

This morning we went in to Odda for a confirmation service. David and Liv-Marit picked us up and we drove to the pentecostal church that they are part of. This is not the state church (Lutheran) or the free church (Free Evangelical), but the Pentecostal, which believes more in the gifts of the spirit. From what I can gather, most of Norway practices a cultural Christianity somewhat like you would find in the US, but far fewer people believe in Jesus as their savior and have a personal relationship with him, also like the US. There are a large number of Congolese Christians that have been attending the pentecostal church recently, having just relocated here.
What is 'confirmation', you ask? Well, in the Lutheran state and free churches, they practice infant baptism, and so just like the Roman Catholic church, they have classes for young adults so that by the time they are 12 or 13 years of age, they should understand the Christian faith. For most people, this is just cultural - some view it as a way of assuring their salvation, others simply as a ceremony, and a few take the opportunity to commit their lives to Christ.
Confirmation, though, is probably the most important ceremony for a young person in Norway - almost like a coming-of-age. This is the time when they are made much of, when they are given expensive gifts like a car or money or clothes. Almost like high school graduation in the US - for some people at least.
It was a multi-ethnic service, and the music reflected it - some Congolese songs, some Norwegian songs, and they even asked me to share some songs. So I borrowed a guitar and sang "There is A God" from Ghana, and a gospel tune I wrote, "Jesus Christ is All I Know" - which I think was my first post ever on this blog. I got everyone to sing and clap along.I think this might be a church I can really plug into - maybe help out in the choir and on Sunday mornings with music. I think it will help me learn Norwegian as well, and interacting with some fellow Africans will be a lot of fun.

1 comment:

Darin said...

Way to go Hiram! I've been thinking of you and praying for you. Sounds like God is using you in Norway already! Praise the Lord!