Pitch Black – Church at Buðir

Black Church at Buðir, Iceland - 1
Black Church at Buðir, Iceland – 1
Black Church at Buðir, Iceland - 2
Black Church at Buðir, Iceland – 2
Black Church at Buðir, Iceland - 3
Black Church at Buðir, Iceland – 3
Black Church at Buðir, Iceland - 4
Black Church at Buðir, Iceland – 4

The Black Church at Buðir (in Iceland) is a striking, black, wooden structure with white door and windows. Black pitch (or tar) preserves the church from the weather and has done so for most of a century at a time. This same black pitch is used to preserve the hulls of wooden sailing vessels against rot. The aphorism pitch black describing darkest of nights derives from this same black pitch. The church began serving parishioners in 1703. The rebuilding of the church occurred in 1847. A woman petitioned her King for permission to do so after the hamlet of Buðir encountered a decline in trade. Steinunn Larusdottir won her King’s consent to rebuild the church.

My curiosity about this church stirs. What would Sunday’s service be like for a parishioner when the church was first built? What would the order of service have been? How would the parishioner come to know God? How would he or she meet the people within the narrative of old and new testaments? Was the church the place to meet in the hamlet of Buðir for fellowship through each week? A broader curiosity, involving centuries perhaps, is how Viking heritage / culture came to resolve and coalesce with Christianity.

Quotes to Consider – ‘Prayers are tools not for doing or getting, but for being and becoming.’ – Eugene Peterson, Montana-based Pastor, author-translator, translating the bible himself into what would become ‘The Message Bible,’ the Bible in current, everyday, layman’s language.

Listening to – an unabridged audiobook memoir by Bruce Springsteen entitled, ‘Born to Run;’ current songs include ‘My Debts Is Paid’ (Brian Houston), ‘When One Door Closes’ (Carrie Newcomer), ’24 Frames’ (Jason Isbell), ’78 Eatonwood Drive’ (Garrett Viggers & a Thin Places Band) and ‘Hope’ (Sarah Masen).

7 Comments on “Pitch Black – Church at Buðir

    • Hey there, Pedro:

      Thank you … Iceland intrigues with its architecture. I was surprised to find that many (perhaps most) buildings have a cement-aggregate kind of structure; there are not many trees, with the latitude … more of a tundra.

      Hope you’re enjoying the season. Take care … 🙂

    • Miriam – thank you.

      Iceland does stir curiosity, thought and imagination.

      No doubt these are things you are talking about in Week 52’s post, ‘Forbidden Pleasures.’

      ‘McCormack’s Wall,’ a tune from Glen Hansard, is one place my mind draws following your post, a looking back to wanderlust’s past and resolving shared present. Another orientation is found in Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen’s walk along the Camino de Santiago – partaking in pilgrimage and camaraderie along a shared journey that holds reflection, grounding, discovery and revelation; a film, ‘The Way,’ intrigues and holds a kind of forbidden pleasure … that of breaking you free from the ruts of Life. And, Robbie Robertson offers a lyric in one of his songs, ‘don’t let the rapture pass you by.’ Rapture is also a part of this.

      Well done on being ‘out-and-about’ through to week 52. Very good schtuff!

      Take care … enjoy this season! LB 🙂

      • Thank you for your thought provoking and insightful comment. Wishing you all the best as the year draws to a close and a new one begins.

  1. Oh thank you so much for the backstory, history, and speculation. Photos are gorgeous too.

    • Happy New Year, Laurie:

      It looks like you’ve put 2016 to a good end in your photos.

      For me, much of this year has been learning to edit images in Lightroom and April’s Iceland images have been solid learning fodder. From April on, I’ve been cycling on the highway with a hybrid Giant and once snow took hold I’ve been on back trails with a Felt fat-tire bike, the tires studded to deal with snow and ice. Getting out for a ninety minute ride each morning before work has been a good, good thing. And, I’ve got my camera with me to help collect images … as potential shots meet me.

      Keep on with that camera of yours … and that Harley Davidson.

      Take good care of your good self through 2017.

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