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Field devotional for the Independence Day in Oulu on 6.12.2023

Publication date 6.12.2023 12.30
Press release

Field devotional for the Independence Day review of troops in Oulu on 6.12.2023 Field Bishop Pekka Asikainen

In the name of the Father, and of the +Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 

The pericope for today from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (12: 15-6, 18 [RSV]) reads: 
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 
Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; never be conceited.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Soldiers, ladies and gentlemen. During the course of this autumn I have visited a number of training exercises. One key feature seems to be common to a successful unit. It is the mentality of mutual encouragement and respect that allows rejoicing with those who rejoice and sharing worries with each other when need be. In such a unit, the key word is us rather than me. No one is left behind, and all are cheered on. If a mate is in danger of falling behind, we stand by their side knowing that we may need help at some point too. Alone we do not thrive; together we are strong.

The spirit of a good unit and its attitude towards each individual could be summarised by saying that you are accepted as an individual forever. It is key to accept every person as part of the unit. And it is important to ask oneself what type of an atmosphere I bring along when I join the company of others. How do I relate to those closest to me and to my mates? All sorts of changes that occur around us cause restlessness in us. And this in particular is why it is permissible to spread around a positive spirit. In case this has not been done so far, there is still time to bring about a change and to start already today. You are accepted as an individual forever.

Dear friends! Each day of our life is meant to be lived for the good of those closest to us. Say out loud the nice words that were left unsaid before. Make the phone call that you shied away from. Reach out and extend you hand instead of a fist for reaching an agreement. Do the good that was left undone. 

Being able to trust in others is the basis for everything also among nations. The spheres of trust concern -the globe. By contrast, distrust separates people from each other in society, and, globally, distrust leads in the worst-case scenario to a war. It is for this reason that Apostle Paul tells us to live peaceably with all, if possible, so far as it depends on us.

”Live peaceably with all.” Especially at a time like this the message of peace is topical in the world. It is necessary to prepare for the worst to safeguard our closest ones, and the weakest in society, and to defend our Fatherland. To neglect national defence would be unethical. Securing adequate national defence capability equals realistic work for peace in this world.

The cross comprises the horizontal bar that denotes the relationship between human beings, whereas its vertical bar signifies God’s good deeds for us all. In the eyes of God, you are accepted as an individual forever. This is called mercy. Instead of setting merciless conditions, God offers us His unconditional mercy. This mercy of God means that we can start again with a clean slate. Even today, the thousands of promises of the word of God still ring the truth. Christ donates His peace to our innermost selves because of His redemption. This sends us forth to serve our closest ones also in the days to come.

Let us pray: 

Holy Almighty God. 
We thank you for this Fatherland
and for the important task entrusted to us.
Bless our nearest and dearest. 
We hope that they know how much they mean to us.
Help us promote peace among those closest to us, and beyond, so far as it depends on us.

Equip us to stand up against the evil,
to protect the weak, and to strive for the truth in everything.

Equip us with humbleness
so that we do not place ourselves above others or patronise them.

Almighty and Merciful God, Father, +Son and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever.