On the 7th of September 1986, the casket of Urho Kekkonen, who had been President of Finland for a quarter of a century, was brought into Helsinki Cathedral. After the funeral service, eight lieutenant-generals carried the casket into a hearse and walked by the side of the hearse as far as the Hietaniemi Cemetery. All church bells of Helsinki rang throughout the journey. All Finns seemed to share the grief for his passing. I listened to the ceremony broadcast on the radio, watching the large rowan tree that had turned red outside my window. Flags were flying at half-mast.
Soon after the radio broadcast, an elderly believing lady came to visit. I began to describe the funeral ceremony to her. I practically drowned her in my personal feelings of grief and nostalgia. I went on and on with my monologue! Suddenly, that sister said in a quiet voice that her son had recently died. If I had known about that, I would naturally have behaved differently. Even so, I felt myself the most tactless person in the world.
Whenever I think back to that visit, I remember the short story titled Grief by Anton Tchekhov. The writer has subtitled the story as Who could I tell about my grief. Jona, a poor coachman, is waiting for customers in the evening dusk. It is snowing, and both the horse and the man are crusted by a layer of snow. Finally, an arrogant officer comes for a ride. The passers-by grumble and criticize the coachman and his horse. When they fall silent for a while, Jona says, ”You know, Mister,… my son died this week…”
”Hrmh...Well, what was wrong with him?” The traveler closes his eyes and does not seem at all willing to listen. The conversation dies down before it has properly begun.
The next customers are three young men who are cursing and making a racket. As soon as they calm down a little, Jona briefly looks over his shoulder and mutters, “You know… my son… he died this week.”
”We all die some day," one of the men sighs having recovered from a fit of coughing.
Jona surrenders himself to his grief and turns his horse toward his home. Once at home, he sits down to rest in front of the big brick oven. The room is full of people sleeping on the benches, on the floor, and even on top of the oven. One young coachman wakes and gets up for a drink of water. Jona tries one more time, “You know, my chap, my son died… Have you heard? This week in the hospital… such a sad thing!” The young man draws the blanket over his head and falls asleep.
Jona gets dressed and goes into the stable. He begins to tell his horse about the death of his son. The horse keeps chomping on hay, listening to its master and breathing warmly into his hands. The story ends with these words: “And Jona is happy to tell the horse everything.”
Earlier in the story Tchekhov describes Jona’s thoughts like this: ”Almost a week has passed since his son’s death, but he has not been able to discuss it properly with anybody… He should be able to speak seriously and unhurriedly… he should be able to tell them about it… He would have such a lot to say…”
When I remember the visit of that elderly sister, I feel ashamed that, overcome by my own impressions and emotions, I was unable to pause and listen to her story.
Dear Savior, teach me to listen, so that other people could tell me about their concerns ”seriously and unhurriedly”, so slowly and quietly and for as long as they feel they want.
Text: Tuula Stång
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
Erilaisten riippuvuuksien eli addiktioiden määrä ihmisillä on länsimaisissa yhteiskunnissa lisääntynyt voimakkaasti viime vuosikymmeninä. Nykymaailmassa on tarjolla aiempaa enemmän sellaisia virikkeitä, jotka voivat synnyttää riippuvuuden.
Siionin Joulu on lehti joulun kristillistä sanomaa kaipaavalle. Lehti on värikäs, aikaansa heijastava. Hartauksien lisäksi siinä on haastatteluja eri puolilta maailmaa.
Lohdullisia ja riemullisia lauluja taivaasta Jämsän Kristillinen Kansanopiston kuoron laulamana.
Tämä levy vie sinut löytöretkelle lasten Siionin laulujen pariin pienten soololaulajien ja vähän isompien kuorolaulajien mukana. Kuuntele, kuinka koskettavasti, raikkaasti ja mieleenpainuvasti nuori väki laulaa näitä kristillisyydelle arvokkaita lauluja.
Vuoden 2021 ajankohtaiskirja käsittelee aiheita kuten uskonnonvapautta ja kristityn vastuuta sekä pandemian aiheuttamia muutoksia arjessamme ja yhteiskunnassa. Samalla se kertoo luottamuksesta muuttumattomiin Jumalan sanan lupauksiin ja hänen hyvän tahtonsa toteutumiseen.