John 20: 1-2, 11-18. July 22 by Isak

John 20:1-2, 11-18

Good day to you all. Today I am sitting on the terrace of what was once my family´s home. We lived here in the eighties when I was a kid. It’s located on Houtskär, a small island in the finnish archipelago in the southwest of Finland. Having the sea on 50ms from our doorstep, and the forest on the other side, this was not a bad place to grow up.

When we lived here my mother worked as a deacon and one of her jobs was to visit elderly people. On one even smaller island this old lady lived alone, well there was another old lady too on the island, but these two old ladies never got along and basically never spoke to each other. They make them tough and stubborn in the archipelago.

Anyway, once this lady told my mother that she went out to pick some berries. It was fall and as you do when picking berries, walking with your nose to the ground, she lost track of time and place. When it started to become dark she realized she didn’t know where she was and she knew she would not survive the night as it would be cold. Bad eyes and legs didn’t help either. So she did what she used to when in pickle, she sat down and talked to God. She simply told Him, “God, I need help or I will die”. Looking out she noticed this glowing maggot or worm, that you can find here, in front of her. She got up and walked over to it. Then she saw a second one and walking over to that one, she noticed a third. This continued and she followed these glowing creatures all the way home to her house. She finished her story by saying to my mother: “You people on the mainland, does not need God the same way we do.”

Bear in mind that this island would be almost unreachable during fall and spring, when the ice would be too weak to walk on, or too thick to drive a boat through. Whilst I don’t completely agree with the lady, we do need God, she does have a point. As human we strive to be in control. I bet the disciples had felt in control following Jesus, they had this great rabbi to follow that attracted the masses, he was supposed to save them and possibly the whole nation of Israel. But then he gets executed and everything falls apart.

Today we have built a society to make us feel like being in control. We have hospitals, doctors, fire brigades and schools, social networks and homes for the elderly, all to make us feel safe. When we are “in control” we tend to dismiss God. But then something like Covid-19 happens. And suddenly we are no longer in control. We desperately try to find an explanation and someone to blame, when the simple truth is that in the face of nature there is only so much we can do. We will never be in complete control.

But God usually has his own solutions to things. With Jesus, he rose from the dead. That is out of the box-thinking, at least from a human point of view. By letting go of our need to be in control, we will gain as much of that as we’ll ever have. I think that we have to admit we are not in control, never will be. But God is. And that is a comforting thought.

Isak – West Coast chapter, Finland