How the Gaza crisis inspires a Norwegian poet just before Christmas


Northern Europe


A copy of the new hymn. Photo Sindre Deschington

Priest Astrid Sætrang Morvik wants to encourage prayer for the Palestinians. Therefore, she wrote a Christmas song.

A scream from a thousand throats / where blind bombs fall mercilessly / is your voice between all those shouts.

These are the first lines of the new hymn, “Blessed are those who flee”. The song is composed by Astrid Sætrang Morvik and set to melody by Anne Kristine Merkesvik, who is a church musician. That is reported by Vart Land.

“We want to pray for peace in the Holy Land”, the priest explains to the Christian newspaper. “For those who are fighting and have been fighting for so long.” As a priest, she points out, she feels the need to lift world events that affect others and herself into the sanctuary of the church.

At the same time, she points out that the situation in Gaza is not the most important topic in her song. Instead, it is more about the message of the church on peace and reconciliation. “More people should join in praying for people affected by the war.”


The hymn was used in the liturgy in Østenstad church in November when the sermon was about the beatitudes. “There are a number of people who live in difficult circumstances who are beatified”, Sætrang Morvik says. “That is why it was appropriate to include “Blessed are those who flee” in the service.”

The priest sees poetry as one of the strongest means to convey a message. “All we can do is continue to pray for peace”, she adds. “This hymn is my contribution.”


Earlier, Sætrang Morvik wrote on Facebook that she believes that God will not end every conflict in the world. “But God has the possibility to create the individual from the inside... God can melt hatred and work a will to reconciliation. We can start by folding our hands and praying, and then we will see what happens.”



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