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Iceland – round 2

Observations about the land they call ICE – round 2

The history of this Island is remarkable.  Vikings were real people :).  This is not a myth and no I am not one – although looks can be deceptive :). 

The Viking history (I have no sources to confirm these beliefs – the ones I tell are passed on orally), is unique.  They seemed to love this land – its beauty, mountains, rivers, oceans, isolation etc.   It was an isle unto itself – and they could remain 100% self-sufficient.   Lacking one problem – woman!   Ok, I am sure there were women, but there weren’t enough women and the land was large enough for more.  Tradition had it that they would go and pillage villages – and they would do all sorts of bad things that I won’t mention here – only to take the most beautiful women back to their land of Ice!

Icelanders are taught in school that the reason why Icelanders are so beautiful is because the Vikings kept only the best looking!  Now I didn’t know if this fable was actually true.  To be completely honest I never even knew to ask such a question! But I met a man who told me a tale and Pastor Armann confirmed this stories truth.

PAUSE in history

When I was flying to the hard water land, I had a significant layover in the land filled with maple leafs and blue Jays – 11.5 hours.   The airport was so noisy with reminders, that I trecked outside and found a beautiful hotel.   I pretended to be staying there:) I marched up the escalator with my suitcase in hand, looked at my invisible watch as If I was waiting for someone.  I looked around casually, pretending that my ‘friend’ would appear out of no where to meet me.   Eventually I sat down in the most comfortable wing back chair and chose to talk to God about the trip I was beginning (that whole line was hilarious to write.  I was laughing at the irony of sneaking in, pretending, and praying).  

I had been sitting there for quite some time when a man walked up to me and asked if he could charge his phone.  I asked him the type of phone that he had and he pulled out a phone I had never seen!  He assumed the apple cord would work – he even tried to plug it in :). He thanked me and left.  The best way to describe him is someone who had likely been at sea.  At least that’s what I imagined.

Roughly 30 min later he came back and asked if he could join me.  I barked back and told him to ‘back off, I was waiting for a ‘friend’’:). Ok I’m kidding – I invited him to join me.  And then the fun really began.   No matter what we talked about – this guy had a story :).  So I played along assuming he was amusing himself by making things up.  Well, at one point he begins to tell me about his grand daddy (or great grand dad – something) who was a pirate.  (I played this so cool, totally going along for the ride).    He said that his grand dad found one treasure and it had been passed on through the generations.  It was a ruby ring.  He told me he wore it all the time – but his fingers got fat and the ring started to fall off – because his fingers only got fat by the top knuckle :). This was so funny.  He said that he now carries the ring in his wallet because he had lost the ring a number of times and didn’t want to lose it again!   So I asked him to see the ring (clearly calling his pirate bluff).   So he obliged – opened his wallet – and there was this old ruby ring!  It was old and beautiful.  Maybe he was telling the truth 🙂

So the stories continued and I learned that he was a voice coach for Hollywood films. He told me to remember his name and go and watch the credits for three specific films that he was a voice actor in (can’t remember which ones). He hung out with Robert Dinero and many others!  He told me that when I meet famous people I needed to just play it cool – and don’t just talk about their jobs.  I needed to ask other questions because they are humans too :).  He was an inventor, a truck driver, ran an organization in BC where they bring food to the victims of the fires (that was why they were in Toronto – for a conference), he put nitrogen in ice to make it thicker  etc.  His stories didn’t stop!!  

I eventually told him that I was a pastor!  He immediately said ‘Thank God I wore my cross’, which he promptly pulled out of his shirt :). We carried on about faith, God, the church!  His childhood, how he went to church and hasn’t lost faith – it just isn’t as important anymore.   But in the last years with his health failing some – he was coming back to it.  And we just talked!  We could have talked for hours – but then my friend actually showed up.  So I went outside Only to find out that my friend was at the wrong door – and sure enough my pirate friend came out to ‘join me’ for a smoke (although only one of us was really smoking – I was eating his smoke as I was down wind)

Then he told me about the history of the cold land and the women.  He also explained how the women in Australia were ugly – because that is where Britain sent ugly women – but the Brit’s didn’t realize that they were sending them to paradise.  Now he said “all the beautiful people are moving there – because the land is so nice – so Australia is not ugly anymore:)”.  An odd convo?  Ummm yes!  But I loved it.

So if you wonder why Armann and his family are so beautiful – thank the Vikings 🙂

Back to History:

The Vikings loved their nation so much that they didn’t want anyone to come there.  It was ‘their’ frozen tundra.   At least that was the ploy to keep people from coming.  They didn’t want the world to know that it was beautiful – so they called it the land of ICE to make people believe it was always cold and miserable!   Well, it worked.  Even when I was flying here, several people made comments about the weather.   I am a Winnipegan – cold is what we do 🙂

Greenland on the other hand is very cold!!!  This was all part of the plan!

The ‘ice cubes’ (code name for the people of ‘that’ land) have a history of a few different things.   They drank a lot (random news – the drinking has really changed in the last 10 years due to new laws in place), they work incredibly hard, they have sayings like ‘it’ll work out’, ‘don’t worry about it’, ‘pay for it later’ etc.   That is how the people are :). They seem to be people that live out the phrase ‘you only live once’.   

It was only 150 years ago that these people were still living in huts.  In fact the last people to stop living in a cave was in 1908 (#dontfactcheckthis).  And in 100 years they have become a world class tourist location.   They have produced some world class musicians, artists and of course their football club.  

They used to be part of Denmark but eventually decided independence was a better way of life.  I’m not sure it was.  Seeing as Denmark is one of the most stable nations and Iceland is most definitely not :).  But none the less they are independent.   As a tourist I would love to have their economy stable – so that things don’t literally cost 3 times the amount as in Canada :).  But that is selfish none the less!

Around 1000 AD this land became a Christian nation and it truly was and is a marriage between church and state.  Slowly there are independent churches rising up and a few state churches are really good as well. There are many gorgeous state churches that are owned by the government and the priests are paid by the government.   This is the reason why we have the old adage that says we are to have separation of church and state – so that the government doesn’t interfere with the church freedom’s (not the other way around).

Anyway, this is likely enough about the culture.  Wondering if any of you will have made it to this point :). I have learned that the people of Iceland are just people.  We all long for a real and authentic relationship with Jesus.   We want to know God is real, that he speaks, that he forgives, that he guides us, that he really loves us etc.   It’s interesting how a culture can wear away on people over time.   It happened with the children or Israel, its happened in Canada and its happening in Iceland.   Truth be told we are all wanting to have someone live their faith out before us – someone that is a little further ahead in the journey.  IT gives us hope, perspective, trust etc.   This is actually discipleship.  Someone to model Christ likeness, someone who has our trust, someone that we give access to speak into our lives!

So what can we learn from the Icelandic trip?  Be someone worth following (Don’t try to be a leader); and submit yourself to someone and give them permission often to speak into your life (Don’t put yourself in this position for someone – put someone in this position over you).

Ok, that’s all.  My flight is about to leave!!

See you all on Sunday!  Looking forward to sharing about the trip and sharing the last part of our series on the book of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Pastor Donavan

ps. I haven’t had enough time to proofread.  So i will assume that it’ll all make senses 🙂

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