Rev Martin Lönnebo's brief on the Pearls of Life
Updated: Jun 7, 2022
Here is a short letter Rev. Lönnebo wrote about the Pearls of Life. Enjoy getting the flavor of the creator of the Pearls of Life!
Thank you for the conference “A More Reasonable World.” Think how much competence and good will you will gather. You are doing pioneering work in Sweden to break the isolation of the gospel.
You asked me to tell you something about the ecumenical Wreath of the Savior [Pearls of Life]. It would be my pleasure. It has surprised me and turned out to be much more than what the simple author thought when he tied it together. It spreads by its own power more and more, too, every year. It is perhaps used even more in Finland than in Sweden, and I would never have thought so. Quite a lot in Norway and increasingly in Denmark.
The book, “The Wreath of the Savior,” is now also available in German and English. One Chinese introduction is on the way, and, in Hong Kong, they have made a fine Christ Wreath of corals and stones. The Wreath is used [by everyone] from Pentecostals to Catholics and by three-year-olds to older professors.
What I like best is that it is centrally Christian. It's one Christ Wreath, but open, permissive and not judgmental. Even in that, in this respect, it wants to be like Christ. In every gem, you can come with your own experiences and thoughts. Probably the professor and the three-year-old have different ideas about God.
The meditation Wreath consists of 12 round pearls. I was happy when I came to think of the twelve-step movement. I was also happy when it was pointed out to me that the spiritual pattern in the wreath strongly reminded of Our Father. Nowadays I think the Christ Wreath is one simple description of a spiritual "law of nature," an order of grace.
My special calling in life
I have felt three tasks as a special calling in my life: to do something for our spiritual emptiness, for the environment, and for the poor. I think I have known all my life, despite my many words, special love for those who have difficulty with words. The intellectuals rejected by the traditional words, "ordinary" people who feel alienated from the great spiritual words and those who are harmed in environments with our dear theological words. I also think of the mentally retarded and children who do not have them pious words. So I discovered the obvious, that man can express faith and longing in a thousand ways, and that well-worded words are not always the most important - sometimes close them out.
I wrote a complicated book a long time ago with many learned words, which was called the “Five Languages of Religion.” You can talk with your hands and actions, one can listen with the eyes as well as with ear, one can praise God through music and visual art, one can take receive and give message through touch, (that is partly why the sacraments are so enduring).
As a result, I worked as a preacher with lights, icons, silence, interior images and most recently The Wreath of the Savior, which is a form of tactile prayer and meditation. Rosary, as an aid to concentration in prayer and meditation, is found in all world religions except in Judaism (but there, men have the prayer cloak with its tassels and the confessional capsules). The Protestant churches are the only exception in the whole the history of religion. I thought: maybe we're also equipped with feeling?
Dogmas are necessary. They are fences to protect against dangers; however, God is best approached in prayer, silence, and action.
The great motifs in the prayer wreath
* The image of God (threatened with diminution).
* The human view / self-image (threatened, by unreasonable enlargement and reduction).
* Man's path to himself, to his neighbor, all of nature and God (threatened by the confusion of the spiritual market).
The rosary is called the Wreath of the Savior or the Wreath of Christ, sometimes Wreath of Life, because most pearls describe the way and our road in his footsteps. I have written many books based on this spiritual foundation; “Frälsarkransen” is a general introduction, “Skatten” is for the little ones, “Själen” for adults who do not have much time, “Ängeln,” “Spegeln,” “Dopängeln” and “Konfirmandängeln” are for music director, “Väven” is for adults who seriously want to get closer the heart of faith.
The Wreath of the Savior is now, I would think, with a hundred thousand people, on wrists, in pockets, above the children's bed, under pillows, in prayer and confirmation groups. It is increasing rapidly, although of course it does not fit all. But if it helps us to both pray and act in the spirit of Christ, that spirit can be spread further, it is not yet an unnecessary toy that can be forgotten. The future is the judge.