Finland's second largest city has a beautiful coastline and a magnificent archipelago. The length of Espoo's coastline is about 58 kilometers and there are 165 islands in front of it. The multi-faceted archipelago now drew the Espoo brothers on a traditional boat trip for the fifth time.
The Espoo’s Ry (Association of Peace) was founded only in 1998 – before that it belonged to Helsinki. Despite the congregation’s young age, the number of members exceeds 500. More and more people are attending the brothers' evenings. The most popular is a boat trip in the last week of August.
Previous excursions have taken place on Pentala Island, Käärmesaari, and now for the second time on Iso Vasikkasaari. The weather this time was better than it could possibly be. Especially for sailing – the breeze was suitable to take the boats comfortably to the open sea. When we arrived on the island, the words of the hymn writer came to mind: “The ship gets to the port, the storm calms down completely. At His victory, the Lord’s Zion will be gratefully praising there. ” (VK 179: 7.)
At the edge of the dense spruce forest, in the barbecue shed were ready fires blazing. The young couple standing by the fire wondered who was this group that now appeared. One of the men immediately admitted that we are men from the Association of Peace, which belongs to the state church, also told where services are usually held. The woman replied contentedly, "Let us then serve the same God."
After the long corona break, services have been held in Espoo only twice. Therefore, even now it was decided to quieten for devotion. The maritime song of Zion SL 180 led Jukka Liukkonen's text selection to St. Mark 4: "And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship.” Evangelist Mark described how ”He rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
Many prayers have risen over time as the winds or even hurricanes have raged. Liukkonen also spoke about the storms of the spirit and the period of peace that has followed. I was particularly reminded of a book I just finished reading, published a year ago; In the Midst of Storms. From even these storms we were miraculously spared, by grace alone.
In his speech, Liukkonen also referred to the first sermon by Erkki Tala, who had just been blessed as a speaker, spoke the previous Sunday about the four kinds of ground in which seeds are sown. Believers are compared to sailors, fishermen and sowers.
A good seed has been sown, the harvest time of August is at hand, but this seed of the gospel is still worth sowing. It was even now abundantly available and audible, even to that passer-by with his dog, if he just lent his ears.
The speech was followed by a long chat session. It seemed as if the brothers had spoken that evening all that was left unsaid during corona restrictions. The same need for discussion was in the men's evening in Helsinki a week earlier, when even after three hours a brother wished the good discussion to be continued at the next gathering. Now comes the importance of talking about the way and the journey – how to stay on the right course.
This time, there were 9 boat crews on this trip, a total of 41 men. Leaving the port, someone said it was too hot when the sun was shining and the life vest was even keeping him warmer. However, now as dusk set in, it began to feel really cool. Returning from the island, reflections of moonlight merged with the wake behind our boat over the calm water’s surface. The summer in Espoo always ends with this trip.
The words of the final hymn echoed still in my mind:
The lands, the forests are silent and the seas are calm give thanks to God. He appeased the power of the winds. Silence, speech on the lips, only the heart to speak now allowed.
You, my God, / now I thank you with joy, when I feel your power. Everything is in your possession, heaven rings for your praise and your whole creation.” (VK 560:1–2.)
Voit lukea jutun suomeksi tämän viikon Päivämiehestä.
Kansainvälistä ja valtakunnallista muistiviikkoa vietetään ensi viikolla. Ihmisten eläessä yhä pidempään muistisairauksia sairastavien lukumäärä kasvaa joka puolella maailmaa. Muistisairaus liittyy myös yhä useamman suomalaisen elämään joko läheisen tai oman sairastumisen muodossa.