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Sunday, July 9, 2023: Church of the Rock

When I write posts, I always dedicate Sundays to writing only of my faith in Jesus Christ. We seek out a church where we can hear from God and fellowship with our brothers and sisters. Today we attended one of the most unusual churches in the world: The Rock Church. It was hewn out of rock.”Upon this rock, I will build my church.”

This Sunday was Confirmation Sunday when teenagers confirm their baptism and publicly declare that they are a disciple/follower of Jesus Christ.

There were about 50 teens with most wearing full-length white robes. Others were in nice Sunday clothes. I can only guess that they had gone through the class but were not ready to commit. Proud parents, grandparents and other family members were there in their finest apparel. We were in tennis shoes and ski jackets.

Since this was a special Sunday, there would not be any English brochure to follow along. That is ok. The Holy Spirit would be present. We were also told that we would not be allowed to take pictures.

As I watched these smiling excited faces in fire for the Lord as they participated in the service, I could not help but wonder: How many will stay the course? Who would fall away? It would be like Christ saying to these new fresh disciples as he said on the night that he was arrested: “On this very night, one will deny me and another will betray me?” Each one of these teens would be shocked and declare TODAY that it wouldn’t be them and fully believe that.

Parable of the Sower

Behold, the sower went out to sow;  and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.

Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and they sprang up immediately, because they had no depth of soil. But after the sun rose, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.

But others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times as much.

Parable of the Sower Explained

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one sown with seed beside the road.

The one sown with seed on the rocky places, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution occurs because of the word, immediately he falls away.

And the one sown with seed among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word, and the anxiety of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

But the one sown with seed on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces, some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times as much.

Sermon to Myself

But when all is said, will these teens continue to live to Christ??? And do we expect them to do what we haven’t we done? I think that this parable talks not just about when you first hear the good news, but during your lifetime, what are you doing with the good news today??? May we all be productive every second of our lives, not complacent, tired, worried, too busy, excuses, excuses, excuses. GUILTY AS CHARGED. I fall on the mercy of His courts where one day is better there than a thousand elsewhere!

Discrimination: We were there for about two hours. We sang, gave an offering, and said Amen to The Lords Prayer. As we left the sanctuary, Rob went to use the bathroom. This lady came flying over and said that tourists were not allowed to use the bathroom. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Truly, the first time I felt the full brunt of discrimination and Rob felt the pain of a full bladder.

We started to leave full of shame and heads hung low. Wait a minute! I walked up to the lady.  “You may not allow us to use your bathroom, but we have just fully participated in the confirmation service for the past two hours and my husband would like to use the bathroom.” “Oh, of course. I didn’t know. We have lots of tourists.”

This is a church boat that we saw at Seurasaari Island yesterday. It holds 100 people. There weren’t many roads and people lived along the water so this was how they traveled to church. Church boats would race each other to and from the service.
This was an early church and would be where the church boat people would attend services. It must have been an all day social activity as well.
Unique Finnish design goes WAY back. I love these candle holders.
This was a repentance bench that we saw in the museum of Finland. If it was a small sin, one had to sit on the low step. If it was a big sin, one had to sit on the top step! Ha! Sin is sin and each has the same consequence: Death.
This is called syncretism, a blending of two religions!
This is a huge church in Turku is called the Turku Cathedral!! Do you see Rob??
It was originally a Catholic Church but is now a Lutheran Church. Saint Henry, who is part of Finnish history, is their patron saint.

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