I came back home from my adventures in Czech Republic (which can be read here) and found myself home for a few days before taking off again on another weekend adventure to Norway. This time I found myself participating in SÅ festival which is put on by the lovely folks at SubChurch in Oslo. As I said in my previous blogpost on my adventures in Czech Republic, it is a real joy to meet so many Jesus followers in the worldwide underground movement and see how God is at work in these communities and in our amazing world.
It has been twelve years since I been to Norway. The last time I was in Oslo, I preached at SubChurch. My relationship with Sub goes back 16 years (where has the time flown?) and so when I was asked if I could come, I couldn’t turn down this opportunity. In many ways in coming to this festival, I felt I was coming home and what a beautiful week it was.
The festival has already been going for a day and a half when I arrived in the middle of the night. From my first morning, I began to see old friends whom I haven’t seen for many years as well as making new friends. I was overwhelmed with love as we traded stories and caught up with one another. It was a real blessing to be around these people as it was something that I needed.
I led a seminar based on my book, Without Borders which was aptly titled ‘Living Without Borders’. In this seminar I shared how the spirituality of Jesus (which can be summed up as loving God and loving our neighours as ourselves) is a spirituality of no borders and what does this look like in our day-to-day living. Afterwards, there was a great discussion as people asked questions, shared their thoughts and experiences as well.
One of the highlights of the festival for me was the seminar exploring the history of the Jesus movement in Norway. I must admit that the Jesus movement is my favourite period in the history of the church/Christianity. The Jesus movement was a worldwide movement which started in the late 60s in San Francisco and spread across the world as hippies discovered Jesus. The Jesus movement came to Norway in the early 1970s and it was interesting to learn about how the Jesus movement played out in the context of this country.
I was asked to share a word at the closing service on the last day of the festival. The amazing David Åhlén led worship as I preached about the kingdom of God and what does it mean for us today. In this talk, I explored what does it mean to live in light of our future where we see in the book of Revelation people from every economic, social, racial, etc background living side by side in harmony. Many found it encouraging as I shared from my experiences of journeying with Jesus. The festival closed with communion and it was a beautiful reminder how we are one family and how wide and deep is the Father’s love for us, even for those of us who are considered to be the black sheep of the church.