The Danes are coming!

Dear Friends,

“The Danes are coming! The Danes are coming!” That was the cry of the Saxons in England in the 600’s when the raiders from the north invaded in their long ships. I just finished watching a Netflix series titled “The Last Kingdom” that dramatizes that time. Well, the Danes are coming again… here!

A little context: around 1900 Christian Hansen came by himself to this country from Denmark, married, had a family, and made a place for that family in southern Minnesota. He never saw his Danish family again. He died the same year his youngest grandson was born. He left before I arrived.

In 1985, twenty-nine years after Christian died, and ten years after his youngest son Bruce, my dad, died, Julie and I visited Copenhagen and spent several days with some of Christian’s Danish family. They did not know us, or what to expect of us. We didn’t know them or how they would receive us. Early on however they spoke of our “coming home.” It felt very much like that. Days later when we left, we all cried. Recalling that even now brings tears.

Since then, the relatives we stayed with, my dad’s cousin and her husband, have both died. They were delightful, funny, sweet people. And now, this coming week, their daughter and son-in-law are coming to visit us!

Soren and Bente traveled here in 2004 when we lived in Alexandria. Their 4 teen-age children came with them, and a good time was had by all – I mean they saw Big Ole and shopped the Mall of America! This time, Bente and Soren are on their own. They’re going to Washington D.C. and New York City and eastern Pennsylvania (to visit my brother and sister-in-law) and on to New Hope and Golden Valley, Minnesota… and Spirit of Hope UMC!

I hope you know that you are pretty special if these (to us, extremely) special people are making it a point to be here on a Sunday morning so they can join you in worship! And that’s exactly what they plan to do.

Now, this can be our little secret, yours and mine…shhhhh…. You can show up and pack the place, and sing your hearts out, and applaud the musical gifts, and laugh loudly and often at the many funny points in the message, and fill the offering plates to overflowing, and simply act like this is what we do all the time! It will give our guests one more thing to tell their friends and family when they return to Denmark.

And the next Sunday, you can do it all again, if you want. It could become a habit. And a good one I think. Well… I think so.

Of course the Danes will have left by then. You see this time they’re flying; no long ships, no scary face paint or strange haircuts or beards, no pillaging or plundering. They will be swordless (can’t bring a sword on a plane anymore). They have no plans of taking over or staying, though they would be wonderful neighbors and great fun to have around.

So…. Just whisper it, “The Danes are coming! The Danes are coming!” Hope you are too.