Hymn Festival ‘A Glorious Finale’

by Eloise Nelson

A Hymn Festival brought a magnificent conclusion to the Covenant and Augustana Lutheran anniversary symposium at North Park University Nov. 5-6. Covenanters and Lutherans came together as one voice to sing “Swedish Songs of Pilgrimage and Grace.” So fervent and heartfelt was our singing that we could have been Pietists in a Swedish house church.

Glen Wiberg described his grandfather’s Swedish family prayer expressed in the hymn, “O How Blest To Be a Pilgrim,” which years later motivated Glen to “take the risk” of translating it: O may none give up the journey, left in darkness on the shore, may we all at last be gathered when our pilgrimage is o’er. Amen to that.

The singing was augmented by soloists, a saxophonist, organist, and brief spoken words. We didn’t want this historic hymn sing to end, but we Covenanters and Lutherans (Two Streams−One River) joined our voices in glorious finale for that great Luther hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

The last page of the hymn festival program declared, “Through the church the song goes on.” May it always be so.

Eloise V. Nelson formerly served as communications director for North Park College and Covenant Ministries of Benevolence. She serves on the board of the Swedish-American Historical Society and resides with her husband, LeRoy, in Northbrook, Ill.

See all articles by Eloise Nelson