Saturday, February 05, 2011

THE ALTARPIECE OF TYSVÆR

Norwegian Protestant churches all have an altar, often with a painted altarpiece, an altar table, candles and a Bible. The most common motifs of the altarpieces are the crucified Christ or The Gethsemane scene.

Not long ago Liv and I attended a funeral in Tysvær Church.
It was one of these harmonious ceremonies; a long life, a peaceful ending, with lots of friends and relativities gathered, praising the dead man's life on earth as well as his entrance into heavenly dwellings.

I was breath taken by the altarpiece. Jesus sitting with the Emmaus wanderers and the text "Abide with us" carved in wood underneath.

Last Sunday, after having done some research, Gunnar and I went back to attend Sunday mass. I brought my camera, and shot from the hip, as the congregation were leaving.
The painter of the altarpiece, Ole Frøvig , was a local artist with a personal message and a brave angel, even though his works are seemingly conservative.
The framework is woodcarving work illustrating the beatitudes.

The minister was a heartwarming and straightforward chap, the psalm song mighty and the church members plain and friendly. I think we'll make that 30 minutes drive to church once more, it truly is a place to revisit .

11 comments:

Mrs. Mac said...

That is a most humble picture of Christ. The way it's framed appears as if one is peeking through a doorway. What a treasure find .. and different church service is good for the soul.

Sonja said...

What a great picture Felisol. The painting is wonderful, and the little church sounds like so many we saw in Norway. They are so special for us in America to see, but the same God is Lord over all. Isn't that awesome??

Hugs from Texas where we have been in the house all week with ice and snow. We aren't as hardy as Norwegians!! :)

Terry said...

dear felisol...i have always love the story of cleopos and his friend![or his wife..we are not told.]
what a blessing to them that they actually walked with the saviour!
and they constrained him to come in and eat with them and to even stay the night!
it has been said that some have entertained angels unaware but just to think that this couple entertained the lord jesus himself and when their eyes were opened to see him, and jesus left, even though they must have been so tired from the day's event and the long walk home, they RAN the eight miles back to jerusalem to tell the glad tidings that the lord was arisen and he was truly in their midst!
i love this picture felisol and you know i so love the catholics..they of anybody i know, when they get saved never ever deny anything that is written in the bible and they make such true christians!
this is a great post my dearest friend...love terry

Amrita said...

This is a very life like painting of Christ well captured in your camera. The hapo round his head signifies the revalation the men recieved as their herts burned within them.

I really like the carving of the beattitudes, never seen anything like this before. Lovely

Steve E said...

Not a bad looking chandelier. Ooops
I am supposed to be viewing the painting of Jesus and the Emmaus guys. Yes, you ARE smart to take that camera everywhere. Sometimes it 'sees' what we do not.

I have many pictures of churches, another favorite subject for me is cemeteries.

PEACE!

Annie said...

What a lovely place to receive the embrace of friends and solace in a time of loss. Your description made me think of how I would imagine a church meeting in our old west. Simple, prayerful, filled with encouragement and hope.

Felisol said...

Dear Mrs. Mac,
Yes the painting is humble and clean, that's why it spoke to me.
It made me long to be the forth person around that table. I can see there's a place for me there.

The side boards are supposed to be modern triptychs,or "altar cupboards"in Norwegian.

Dear Sonja,
I should have posted the picture I made from the outside of the church too.
It's situated between a mountain and the sea on an even older church site.
I find God in every church I visit. Search and ye shall find...

I think you are well equipped to handle ice and snow, but maybe the houses aren't built for arctic climate. If I remember right, you have wonderful fireplaces in your home. Hope you have some fat logs to make a cosy fire.

Dear Terry,
I too love the story about the Emmaus wanderers.
How depressed and hopeless they felt while walking; Jesus, their master, had been crucified, they were deprived of all hope.
But they were not alone, not for a second.
"Their eyes were opened."

I too like Catholic churches, their prayers and their awe for what is sacred.
The church we visited was however Lutheran Evangelical, like most Norwegian churches. To receive the communion we gather, kneeling around "the altar ring". That is called "altar going".

Dear Amrita,

Good of you to detect the halo. I didn't see it until I came home and enlarged the photo on my computer.
Neither was I able to read the carvings on the sideboards.
How happy I was, when I found the beatitudes.

Dear Steve E,
The chandelier IS beautiful. That's why I chose this picture.
I didn't spot the beauty of the nave mirrored in the sphere until a week later..

I wish I'd carry my camera with me more often. I had to return to the church in order to take these pictures.
Then again, it was a most successful revisit.
I'll probably return
more often.

I find cemeteries peaceful and like to pay a visit, especial the old ones. Churchyards we call them. They used to be situated close to the churches, a tradition from pre- Christian time.
Even now people feel security to be buried in consecrated ground.
Until recently this was the only way to be buried in Norway.

Dear Annie,
You have interpreted my feelings and intentions perfectly.
Thanks.

John Cowart said...

Hi Felisol,

I puzzled over the wood carved side-panels when I first saw your photo... then, when you explained that they illustrate the beatitudes, you opened my eyes to their meaning.

It would be nice if you post more photos of this lovely church in the future. Is this one of the "Stave Churches" you posted about a year or two ago?

John

Debbie said...

What a beautiful picture of Christ! I love this kind of church. I remember visiting some stave churches when I was in Norway years ago. I also noticed the board on the right side with the hymn numbers. Years ago, in our little church they had that kind of board and it also included the number of people in attendance each Sunday.

Blessings and love from,
Debbie

Felisol said...

Dear John C,
Thanks for your nice comments.
I shall certainly post more pictures from our simple, yet lovely Norwegian churches. Most of the country churches are build of wood, this one is only about 160 years old. It replaced a smaller church from the 16th century. Before that time a Catholic monastery owed both the land and tan even older church. (The state of Norway was converted from Catholicism to Lutheran Evangelical shortly after Luther himself revolted the mother church.This was done mainly because the king wanted to lay his hands upon the proprieties of the church.Successfully.)

When Norway was Christened about year 1000 a.c.small churches were built on the sites where the old hoofs had been.(The ones where Odin, Tor and Freya was worshiped). Therefore any church site in Norway also is of archaeological interest.
I'll post some stories about the stave churches later.

Dear Debbie,
This is only a common white wooden church, not very unique, but yet lovable to me.
The stave churches are special, most of them from the 12th and 13th century.
I hope you saw some of them on your Noway trip.
Sadly satanists have burnt down about a dozen churches the last decade.
It has been scaring, and a loss for the country as well as for the Christian congregations.

You are right about the little boards hanging on each side of the altar telling which psalms to sing during the worship.
We don't have a board for visitors, but I know they are counted along with the ones receiving communion.
One more reason to fill a place in church. It helps heightening the statistics in a escalating secularized society.
Blessings back to Arizona and you.

Crown of Beauty said...

What a beautiful piece of art... the meal that Jesus had with his two disciples after walking down the Emmaus Road. What a lovely intimate moment when Jesus revealed Himself to them... and as soon as recognition came, he left. It was enough that He had journeyed with them, and broke bread with them..

I truly love the pictures you shared.

Dear Felisol... somehow the art encouraged and spoke to my heart today. As I am now at the airport awaiting my flight, I feel naturally sad at having to leave Manila... and Obedient One behind. You know this city is the place of my birth and my upbringing. I was born and raised here...

So the picture you shared warmed my heart. Jesus is with me through all the seasons of my life.

Love
Lidj