In Vårmland, the Beautiful
A homily for my wife by C.A. Bjork
If you stand still, look, and listen, I will give a small homily. Yes, we are now in Värmland where you and I have never been before. First, a bit of an orientation.
That's West, and now to the right, is North. North is not always to the right; it's only when we are facing West. When we come from August Julin's through this gate to this road we are coming from the Southwest. See way over there—Father Julin is cutting clover with a machine pulled by a horse. Look, what beautiful gardens and verdant fields are there. Isn't that a beautiful sight?
From this spot we can see three provinces which border each other. Just South, a long way from the lake, to the right, you see smoke rising. That's Västergötland. The smoke you see comes from a locomotive as there's a railroad there. Just behind us, on the other side of the lake, is Närke. And here where we stand is Värmland, the province where you were born and where you have your childhood memories. You know the Värmland's song well and know how people from Värmland celebrate their own province—as long as they have never seen Småland. This beautiful lake here is named Skagern. And down by the beach is Skagers-spa which is visited by healthy and cheerful pool guests of the highest class. They want to hear God's word, and I am now on the way there and will preach for them this evening.
Don't bother about "the fence," as there are none in Värmland except by the gardens. Let us close the gate, turn East and follow this path which leads to the spa. We will be at the mission house in five minutes.
Look, here comes a man with a camera! Hurry, let's go, otherwise he will take a picture of us!
Our land, our land, our foster land!
Sound it loud, Thou cherished word!
No peaks toward heaven do higher stand
No valleys deeper; no purer strand
Are more loved than here in the North,
Than our Father's world,
We love our murmuring streams
Our rivulet's cold springs,
The fierce forest's melancholy sigh,
Our starry night, our bright summer sky,
All, all which appears here as song
Moves our heart as it sings.
Translated From Hemåt, Illustrerad Kalender För Cr 1908, Otto Högfeldt, editor. Chicago, Mission-Vännen Expedition, pp. 20-22. Note that Björk concludes his homily with two verses of the Finnish national anthem by R.L. Runebérg.