Spring has definitely come to Medelpad. I took a short walk today, and saw rhubarb sprouting in the garden. I'm looking forward to some crumble.

Also, everywhere along the roads there were tussilagos, worshipped as the first sign of spring in Sweden (We do worship Spring).
Today was the day when the new[1] vicar was welcomed into the congregation. This happened in Haverö church, in the presence of Bishop Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund, Kontraktsprost[2] Anna-Maria Larsson, the church board and plenty of others, including clergy from various other congregations.

The ceremony was very simple and to the point, I suppose you could say. The bishop said a prayer, the document stating that Mia Ödmark had been appointed Vicar of Borgsjö-Haverö församling was read out and handed over, a small queue of people said their greetings (mostly bible words). Haverökören and Ånge gospel sang a couple of songs each. There were hymns, of course (good ones). There was also Communion (which I didn't take).

I have never been to a formal service like this before, and I must say that I looked forward to it. I always observe the religious ceremonies a little from the side, and they bemuse me: these people really are serious about that man who was executed two thousand years ago, and who, hrm, came back to life. I have no trouble understanding their fascination with the story -- it is a great story, and I'm a fantasy reader after all. I can also easily understand the consequences -- the moral and ethical discussions that underlies most of what is said in the church, and which are sensible most of the time, the communication with God, mixed with communication with each other, that is the service, the sense of togetherness, real or imagined, that the service reinforces. But I don't understand religious faith. I don't understand it at all.

That said, I enjoyed this experience.

After the service, when I was collecting my things, I spoke a little to a friend in the other choir, whom I don't see very often. Then Bishop Tuulikki came striding up to us, still wearing her embroidered golden cloak, and said: 'Thank you, that was beautiful!' She shook hands with us, we said 'Thank you' in return.

The lunch afterwards was delicious, and also filled with small but obvious signs of the religious context: grace, speeches with plenty of bible references (very good speeches, I might add), and a blessing song at the end[3]. All in all it took a little over three hours, which felt very reasonable.


[1] She has only worked here for a year.

[2] Sorry, I have no idea what that would be in English. It's the level between Bishop and Vicar.

[3] An Irish song apparently; in English it's called 'May the road rise up to meet you'
The choir sang at today's service in Haverö.

Music during the service )

I haven't posted in ages. Let's see if I can manage to make a habit of it this time.

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Karin Margareta

July 2017

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