Reflections on the Norwegian Congress from Jostein Nielsen
It is congress-time for Salvationists and friends in Norway. It is good to be part of it. Like at most congresses in our territory over the passed 20 years I am “heavily” involved. Ever since my first personal experiences with congress in the early teens, I have both heard and verbalized comments about the event. In many ways there are parallels to the European Song Contest – “everyone” has a meaning about it. With regard to the latter, even those who seem to be indifferent to it still follow the program.
For a long time I was critical to the concept of congress. It was simply not spiritual enough. Then I realized that the congress is not merely a spiritual event, even though it intends to be such as well. It is created to meet a series of needs, and I believe it does.It is:
* a place for old and new “friends”
* a place for musical inspiration
* a place for the whole family
* a place for laughter
* a place for tears
* a place for contemplation
* a place for a good, and sometimes even deep conversation
* a place for information
* a place for encouragement
* a place for good preaching
* a place for prayer
It is our movement’s super-market. I realize that what I once criticized was the fact that I thought I had come to a store which specialized in my particular needs and interests. When I arrived to a congress with such an attitude I left disappointed. At the supermarket, I can go to the sections to find the goods I need. I do that this year as well, but I am thrilled to see the shelves with all the goods the “congress-market” has to offer.
Thank you Lord for this opportunity!