Ek Says: “Sorry”

Pietisten Hires Horse

“I’m sorry we can’t respond positively to your request,” wrote Covenant Vice President Timothy Ek to Pietisten’s editor. “Thanks for your offer.”

Ek, Chairman of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee, was responding to Pietisten’s offer—sponsored by the Revs. Cassius and Ralph Sturdy—to place a free copy of this Pietisten in the packets for the delegates to the Covenant Annual Meeting.

Rev. Ek explained in his letter: “We have followed a policy that only materials from our Covenant denomination and conference ministries can be included in the Annual Meeting packet. In light of the huge number of requests we receive, this has been an important policy to follow.”

As Pietisten editors bemoaned what they perceived as a setback, they heard a voice that said: “Forget the packets! Get a horse, big saddle bags, fill them with Pietistens, and have a spiritual descendent of me, CJ. Nyvall, pass them out to the people.”

This word from the esteemed Swedish Lutheran colporteur and father of historic North Park President, David Nyvall, found a receptive audience. Recalling that the horse has been the choice of many colporteurs and evangelists (John Wesley rode 240,000 miles on horseback to spread the Word) and realizing that horse technology holds the all-time record for evangelical results (in spite of electronic communication) the editors sought to follow the advice. “We can rent a buggy and give people a horse-and-buggy ride around the North Park campus, too,” said one editor.

The voice came again, “Get the buggy. Forget the records. That’s not for pietists.” So, Pietisten’s confidence is not in numbers but in the personal spirit of the voice, confirmed by browsing again CJ.’s Travel Memories from America 1876.

“Salvation is free!” said the voice from the past speaking once more. “Christ is a giver. For you, receiving is living. By the way, Jim and Dick Sundholm have a horse,” the voice added.

Nyvall’s voice was not the only uplifting voice these aspiring pietists heard. Like Baalam’s Ass of old (Numbers 22:30), Ragnar, the Norwegian Fjord Horse who is in the care of Pastor James Sundholm, spoke, too: “Did not Hulda, my ancestor in the old country, carry colporteurs around Norway and across the border into Sweden?”

Ragnar made this utterance while David Hawkinson, Tommy Carlson, and Pastor Sundholm were discussing the news of Nyvall’s visitation and the possibility of renting Ragnar for Annual Meeting duty. No one noticed that the horse was listening carefully, until Ragnar posed his question: “Did not Hulda, my ancestor in the old country, carry colporteurs around Norway and E:u:t: across the border into Sweden?” The three men, shocked, exclaimed, “She did?!” Ragnar nodded. No more words did he say.

Made bold by these miraculous signs, plans were set to bring Ragnar to Chicago and do as Carl Johan had instructed. What, after all, could be more fitting as celebration of the North Park College centennial begins?

Then, where is Ragnar? He is on-call in Minnesota. The unavailability of a Chicago horse permit prevented the literal execution of Nyvall’s instructions. The understanding has grown among the staff that—though Ragnar stands ready—these words were symbolic endorsements of Pietisten colporteur activities in whatever form.

So, we editors and special friends of Pietisten regret we cannot give those attending the Annual Meeting a ride around the 100-year-old campus in a buggy pulled by Ragnar, but we can offer them this issue of Pietisten which we hope they will enjoy.