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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Back to ser­vi­ces

Vieraskieliset / In-english
27.10.2020 10.05

Juttua muokattu:

27.10. 09:48

Deep in thought I walk through the doub­le doors. There is a tab­le with four hand sa­ni­ti­zer dis­pen­sers. I rub the li­quid in­to my hands and look around. Cheer­ful exp­res­si­ons. But al­so some be­wil­der­ment. How should we go about this?

Benc­hes in the sanc­tu­a­ry have been pus­hed to­get­her to pro­vi­de more space bet­ween the rows.

I sit down where I usu­al­ly sit. Fa­mi­lies sit to­get­her, ma­y­be so­mew­he­re dif­fe­rent from their re­gu­lar pla­ces.

The or­ga­nist be­gins the hymn ”Come with us to His temp­le; let us go lis­ten there”. Such a fit­ting hymn in this si­tu­a­ti­on! I join in the song. But what is this: my voi­ce can­not car­ry the tune? It swings from high fal­set­to to thro­a­ty ho­ar­se­ness. It is months sin­ce I last sang. Could that be the re­a­son?

Five months have pas­sed sin­ce I was at re­gu­lar ser­vi­ces. I al­re­a­dy doub­ted if I could drag my old por­ti­on to come af­ter all those months of lis­te­ning to on­li­ne ser­vi­ces at home.

A fa­mi­li­ar spe­a­ker brot­her ta­kes his seat at the Bib­le. I feel a bit emo­ti­o­nal, and so does the brot­her, who has not been to ser­vi­ces for an even lon­ger time. The spe­a­ker be­gins his ser­mon. Eve­ryt­hing seems qui­te nor­mal – this is how we have been sit­ting here for ye­ars. I fo­cus on the spe­a­ker’s words. It is cer­tain­ly ea­sier to con­cent­ra­te on the ser­mon here than it is when lis­te­ning to on­li­ne ser­mons at home. I do not need to check my phone, leaf through the day’s news­pa­per, walk around to wa­ter my hou­se plants, cook my lunch. I can sit here, en­joy this gift of God’s grace, and ex­pe­rien­ce this pre­ci­ous mo­ment that God has gi­ven us.

When the ser­mon ends, we are inst­ruc­ted about how to le­a­ve. The back rows go first, and eve­ry­bo­dy should use hand sa­ni­ti­zer again. The first ser­mon was me­ant spe­ci­fi­cal­ly for se­ni­ors and high-risk per­sons, but ot­hers can stay for the se­cond ser­mon if they want. I le­a­ve, ho­we­ver, be­cau­se we are ce­leb­ra­ting the con­fir­ma­ti­on of a yo­ung fa­mi­ly mem­ber. I am ab­le to exc­han­ge some words with my friends. It is a joy to see them face-to-face, stay for a while in the hall, at the door or on the yard and share some news.

My se­cond time at ser­vi­ces is spe­ci­al be­cau­se the cong­re­ga­ti­on sings a song in me­mo­ry of those who pas­sed away du­ring the lock­down, inc­lu­ding my mot­her. The spe­a­ker brot­her re­ads the me­mo­ri­al ver­ses for the five sis­ters and brot­hers in the or­der of their de­ath da­tes. “The shore of pe­a­ce and be­au­ty brings rest so sweet in glory”. Such touc­hing words about the cor­rup­ti­on of hu­man life, the tri­als and sick­nes­ses, but al­so about the joy of fin­ding God’s king­dom at the ele­venth hour. I can sing again now that I have had some prac­ti­ce.

The spe­a­ker brot­her ad­d­res­ses the grie­ving fa­mi­ly mem­bers and friends and tel­ls us about a per­so­nal ex­pe­rien­ce he had a coup­le of ye­ars pre­vi­ous­ly. God gi­ves him com­for­ting words. Not all be­lie­vers ex­pe­rien­ce a pe­a­ce­ful de­ath. Some may suf­fer from an­xie­ty, pain and even fear at the time of de­ath. The spe­a­ker re­mi­nis­ces about Je­sus’s de­ath on the cross. ”My God, why did you aban­don me?” Tra­gic, yet so com­for­ting.

The ser­vi­ce gu­ests slow­ly file out of the sanc­tu­a­ry. I feel a bit lo­ne­so­me. There is no cof­fee to­get­her, no con­do­len­ces and sha­red ex­pe­rien­ces, which we nor­mal­ly have af­ter a me­mo­ri­al song. I would have nee­ded them now. All pe­op­le just go home qui­et­ly.

We have not yet been ab­le to re­su­me our nor­mal ser­vi­ce prac­ti­ces. But I am very hap­py that we can come to­get­her again – even with some rest­ric­ti­ons.

Text: Au­lik­ki Pii­rai­nen

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal blog post here.


Her­ra sa­noi is­ra­e­li­lai­sil­le: ”Älä sor­ra muu­ka­lais­ta; olet­te­han it­se­kin ol­leet muu­ka­lai­si­na Egyp­tis­sä ja tie­dät­te, mitä on elää vie­raas­sa maas­sa muu­ka­lai­se­na.” 2. Moos. 23:9

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