Viking Travel Journal––Day 13

Godafoss, a fulcrum of history

Yesterday I wrote about the pagan chieftain who was instrumental in Iceland adopting Christianity.

His name is Thorgeir Ljosvetningagodi.

If you are wondering, his last name is spelled just like it sounds.

As I mentioned yesterday, after a a day and nights’ contemplation Thorgeir recommended to all the leaders at the assembly that Christianity be adopted and that those who wanted to could continue to practice paganism privately.

When Thorgeir returned to his village after the assembly, he gathered all his pagan idols, walked over to the waterfalls near his village, and threw the idols into the falls, hence the name Godafoss (“Waterfall of the gods”).

And that is where we went today. It was bitterly cold and windy, but it was worth the 45 minute trip by coach and 300 yard walk from the coach to the falls. It is places like this the GSB team get excited about, places that mark fulcrums in history. It reminds us not only of what has been but what can be and what one person sold out to King Jesus can accomplish for the kingdom of God.

Ann pointed out as we were standing at the falls that there is no way Thorgeir would have thrown his idols in the falls if was still a pagan. The fear of Thor and/or retribution from others would have prevented it. Only the Lord knows how Thorgeir was converted to Christianity, and whether the claims of the gospel were already brewing in his heart at the time of the assembly or whether he had a divine visitation or vision in his day or night of contemplation at the assembly. However it happened, there was apparently no relapse into paganism as far as history can tell.

The rainbow

On the 45 minute drive back to our ship in Akureyri, it began to rain. Then we came across a valley over which a rainbow had formed. It was the most distinct rainbow I had have seen. I could see where it met the earth on both ends and its full arc in between. I was immediately reminded of Genesis 9, and that the rainbow was the evidence of God’s covenant with the earth.

The idols of Thor Thorgeir threw into the falls represented a god the Vikings thought created thunder by pounding his hammer. How different is the true God, who stoops to covenant with His creation and put evidence of that covenant in the sky for all to sea, and a god who repeatedly pounds his hammer to strike fear into his subjects.

The Icelanders chose wisely. GS