Text: Hanna-Maria Jurmu
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
In October 2021, Päivämies published an editorial titled There is always hope that loved ones who have left will return into God’s kingdom. The editorial described the distressing parental experience of having a child give up their faith. The readers were reminded that the grace of repentance is completely a work of God. The article went on to say that no-one leaves God’s kingdom because of inadequate parents or friends or remains in it due to good upbringing.
The editorial concluded with the comforting message that many who have remained outside God’s kingdom for decades have received the grace of repentance. It ended with these words: ”The parents or family members may not live to witness the day when their loved one has the grace to return. But believers have the hope for reunion one day in heaven’s home.”
I remember that, when reading these final words, I briefly hoped that I would be allowed to leave this world. I was afraid of the distressing possibility that I might lose my child who had given up faith. But that notion passed as quickly as it had come. It is good to live and hope that good God would still grant a time of grace.
The December 1964 issue of Kotiliesi magazine included a beautiful article titled The things for which I am most grateful to my parents. The headnote of the article pointed out that high standard of living has become a magic word and the sole purpose of life. ”We think that mere material wealth is enough to create the source of strength that home means in the most profound sense of the word,” the text said. The writer of the article had wanted to explore the order of life values by presenting to five publicly known people the question: “For what thing I am most grateful to my parents?”
One of the respondents was Major General Kaarlo O. Leinonen, who served as an adjutant of Urho Kekkonen, President of the Republic, and, at the end of his career, as Chief of Defense for Finland. He was born in Loue village in Tervola. I was deeply impressed by the interview of Commander Leinonen, and I would therefore like to summarize its content here.
He started by describing his home, which was a typical farm in southern Lapland. There were more than ten dairy cows and about twenty hectares of arable land. The family had eight children. Farming was hard work, and the farm was so big that the father could not go to logging camps for extra income. Three of the children were sent to secondary school in Kemi. Leinonen said that this was mostly due to his energetic and enlightened mother. “It was no small thing to send three children to live in town for the school semesters during the years of serious food shortage.”
Leinonen said that, as an adult, he had a strong desire to visit his home area while his parents were still alive. He felt he always returned from there with renewed strength. The memory of his parents, especially his mother, still seemed to tie him to his home village. He was close to his mother. ”I received my most valuable instructions for life from my home – and my mother created the atmosphere of our home”, Leinonen said.
Kaarlo O. Leinonen remembered his mother as a good and honest person who was optimistic even at times of hardship. He said, ”I am happy and grateful I had parents like my mother and my good, taciturn father to show me the way. They were Lestadian believers. Their living Christianity was reflected in their speech and their actions, their whole life from morning till evening. That was how I learnt the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. I also saw that my mother and father treated all their neighbors in the same way. I learnt at an early age that the important thing is not external status but the person him- or herself.”
I will still quote Leinonen’s beautiful text: ”My parents left me a valuable spiritual heritage: a certain kind of seriousness that I cannot and do not want to cast off. Although I have not remained on their road of faith, I know where that road is. They gave me such abundant inner resources for life that I often doubt my ability as an educated person to leave a similar inheritance to my children.”
The interview ended with this personal memory: ”When I came home to see my mother for the last time, I had a premonition that I would not see her alive any more. That feeling persisted through our discussion. Yet, there have been times afterwards when I have deeply regretted that maybe I did not tell her clearly enough everything that I was grateful to her for. But then I am sure she knew her son so well that she understood even without words. Mothers are like that.”
It was not up to that mother’s goodness or weaknesses to keep or not keep her son on the path of faith. We can guess what she said to her son at their last meeting. We can guess what her prayer was when the son left his parents and went back south. And when she closed her eyes to this world, she had the hope for reunion – the hope that her dear child would receive the grace of repentance and they would meet again one day in heaven’s home.
That is my prayer too.
Opistovuosi-koulutuksen valtakunnallisten opetussuunnitelman perusteiden mukaan oppivelvollisille tarkoitetun kansanopistokoulutuksen tavoitteena on edistää opiskelijan omaehtoista oppimista, auttaa häntä löytämään oma opiskelutyylinsä ja antaa valmiudet opintojen jatkamiseen perusopetuksen jälkeisessä koulutuksessa.
Mihin syntien anteeksiantamus perustuu Raamatun mukaan? Kirjoittaja käy läpi Uuden testamentin anteeksiantamusta käsittelevät kohdat, joiden kautta avautuu monipuolinen ja selkeä kuva aiheesta.