Or “Herrens Veje” in Danish. Herrens Veje is the name of a 2-season show we just finished on Netflix, which is so complex that I cannot do it justice here, but I’ll still say a few things, including: I highly recommend it.
The wall of photos in the rectory of Johannes Krogh.
An unassuming photo, perhaps, as many of us line our walls with photos (and/or paintings) of our ancestors. But, I agree with Frank that this wall of photos and paintings is extremely important as it summarizes what is going on in the show from the first episode to the last.
And that is the fact that Johannes Krogh (Lars Mikkelson, Mads older brother and currently on “The Witcher”) is being crushed beneath the weight of his history. The family of priests trace their lineage all the way back to N.F.S. Gruntvig, a Danish pastor who is one of the most influential persons in Danish history–someone that none of them have been able to live up to.
Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783-1872)
IMDB summarizes the show this way: The story centers on a family of priests: Johannes, Elisabeth and their sons August and Christian. Johannes is God-like to his sons – he gives, loves, and punishes. His favoritism for August and his disappointment with Christian forces both into making desperate choices in order to either gain his love or break free from him.
A rare moment of family togetherness.
Obviously, it’s more complex than that, and August and Christian aren’t the only ones struggling, because Johannes and Elisabeth are struggling as well, as are many of the people closest to them. I cried a lot during this show because it was all so painfully real.
And, one of the best things about this show is how all the religions/philosophies–from atheist and agnostic to Christian to Buddhist and Muslim–are treated equally as are the characters who struggle within the bounds of their own philosophies and religions.
One of my favorite parts of each episode is the beautiful rendition of the hymn–God Moves in a Mysterious Way–which was borrowed from William Cowper’s poem, “Light Shining Out of Darkness.”
The first stanza . . .
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
. . . also sums up the show pretty well. And the English name for the show is taken from the last line–Ride Upon the Storm.
William Cowper by George Romney
Cowper, 1731-1800, has a fascinating history of his own including a friendship with John Newton that led to a number of anti-slavery poems. He also suffered from deep depressions and attempted suicide several times and was even institutionalized for insanity. And yet, he was highly respected by other poets like Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth and is responsible, because of the above poem/hymn, for introducing the phrase, “God works in mysterious ways”, into the English language.
And after the final episode of Herrens Veje, I had to agree. God does move in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.