Field Devotional on 6 December 2019 in Tampere
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. On this Independence Day we now listen to the set Old Testament passage in the Book of Deuteronomy: ”When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.” (Deuteronomy 8:10 NIV).
This Independence Day offers us reasons for being grateful. Our nation enjoys well-being at an unprecedented level. Most people in this country have enough to eat to go to sleep feeling well after an evening meal but this does not yet apply to all of us. Therefore, it is necessary that we recognise those amongst us who remain in need of aid and help them.
How has this well-being then affected us? Not just in a positive way. Our overall satisfaction with life has not necessarily increased. We tend to overlook what we already have and rather focus on what we still feel like lacking. Thereby our minds remain dissatisfied and we try to grab for even more.
Rarely do we pause to ask what we could do for the life that we share together. Meanwhile, many of us feel left out with no opportunity to structure one’s own life or contribute to society.
Things were different eight decades ago. Our nation was engaged in war and all that was dear was in danger of disappearing. Families on the home front feared for losing their closest ones. Freedom of religion and the nation’s independence were in jeopardy. While defending this nation, the generation of the wars faced a task that was nearly overwhelming. However, as if by means of a miracle, the veterans achieved the most important objective set: this nation sustained its independence.
At present, our good life still rests on what the veterans defended, including our home and family, the possibility to have faith as well as the freedom of the Fatherland.
Today my mind is on one of the frescoes in this Tampere Lutheran Diocese Cathedral. This particular scene portrays burning terrain. Yet the focal point remains the wreath of life sustained by the young male garland bearers. Soldiers! Regardless of which types of fires start amongst us now or in the future, bearers of life continue to be necessary. Everybody remains needed in this.
Ladies and Gentlemen. We best appreciate the veteran generation’s work and achievements by seeing to it that Finland remains a good place for all people to live and lead one’s life. We need to safeguard equal treatment of people so that no deep demarcation lines begin to divide people. In this effort, the values that have sustained us continue to support us, namely, working hard, being honest and continuing to help those in need.
The Bible passage that we listened to urges us to give thanks for the good land. Our fleeting life is also a gift. The notion of something being a gift indicates a provider of this gift who deserves our thanks.
Each day and every moment are gifts that we receive from God, the Provider of Life. We appreciate both our own life and that of others by viewing life as a precious gift. This ultimately generates a mutual and profound sense of belonging together as human beings. We all belong to God, the Provider of Life. Therefore, He deserves our thanks for everything.
Now let us pray: ”Lord, we thank You for this Fatherland and her freedom. Please help us to develop this Fatherland together. Thank You for the gift of life. Please aid us in defending life now and in the future. Amen.”