We made it to the end of our time in Stockholm. It’s been an incredible week. Our team worked together well and discovered new levels of trust, experience, and vision for church leadership and church planting. The city of Stockholm was beautiful, with lots of interesting people to meet and places to see. The ministry connections we made throughout the week were great.
But I’m emotionally and physically exhausted from all the poor sleep, intense conversations, extensive walking, and lack of time for introspection.
Our last full day in Stockholm has been filled with a bunch of loose ends like team debriefings, tourist shopping, purchasing train tickets for tomorrow morning, and that sort of stuff. We had a little bit of time to do some more prayer-walking and meet some more people in Södermalm. By the middle of the afternoon, however, we were ready to take off our “cross-cultural missionary” hats and put on our “tourist” hats, in order to meet up at a museum of photography on the northern shore of the island.
The Fotografiska had a few exhibitions from a few international artists — but something about the place seemed to really epitomize Sweden. Especially the exhibition on the main floor, featuring a Swedish artist named Jesper Waldersten. His work involved elements of photography, drawing, painting, and poetry — mostly done in black-and-white, and mostly dealing with very existential themes in a stark, surreal kind of style.
Honestly, most of Waldersten’s work didn’t land with me. But one piece captured my attention. A supine human figure rested inside of a strange, multi-legged monster, with a Swedish phrase typed over the white space on either side of the monster’s neck which translated as, “Man should look inward instead of forward.” And even though I don’t have time or space to expound at any length on the way this piece connected with me, I can say that this message felt true to my week. We effectively served others and promoted the cause of Christ in Stockholm this week, but the most meaningful ministry from this week may have been what God did in my own heart.
I feel like the same may be true for all of the people on our little team, our “Fellowship of the Swedish Butter Knives.” Our hearts have all been softened and spread out — before God, before each other, and before the others with whom we’ve come into contact — this week, and even though it’s exciting to think what that could mean for the months, years, and decades to come, it’s most powerful to experience it in the moment. And I’m thankful to God that we did.