Jutlus 15.05.2022 - Jaakobuse 1:17-21
Gustav Piir, koguduse õpetaja

Kui me tõesti tahame olla targad, elutargad, tuleb Jumala tarkus teiselt eksistentsitasandilt, et aidata meil luua selles maailmas alternatiivset hoolekandekogukonda. Kui elame tarkuses ja laseme sellel tarkusel endas juurduda, oleme paremini valmis seisma vastu selle maailma ihadele ning pahedele, mis häirivad meid ja koos meiega lõpuks hävitavad meie kogukonda ning ühiskonda. Jaakobuse kirjas leiame Vana Testamendi õpetussõnade traditsiooni. Õpetussõnad manitsevad inimkonda vabadusele ülalt sündinud elutarkuse kaudu, selle asemel, et alistuda inimeste seest tulevatele kirgedele ja soovidele. „Jumala ja Isa silmis puhas ja laitmatu jumalateenistus on käia vaatamas vaeslapsi ja lesknaisi nende viletsuses ja hoida iseennast maailma poolt määrimata,“ kirjutab Jaakobus (Jaakobus 1:27).
Me kuulame, hoiame keelt, maandame oma viha, et saaksime teha seda, mida Jumal tahab, selle asemel, et käia mõtlematult maailma teedel. Nii oleme Jumalale meelepärased. Maailma kurjad viisid levivad aga väga kiirelt ning laialdaselt, isegi märkamatult. Kogukonna ülesanne on peatada kuritegelik käitumine, enne kui see kogukonna ühisesse ellu end sisse seab. Iha raha, rikkuse ja staatuse järele viib tihtipeale tegudeni, mis hävitavad mitte ainult kristliku kogukonna struktuuri, vaid ka terveid ühiskondi. Seevastu õige suhe Jumalaga, juba Vana Testamendi Seadusest tulenevat, on see, mis toob esile käitumise, millega kiirustatakse aitama vaeseid, leski, orbe, neid, kelle seljas rikkad oma varandust ebaõiglaselt kasvatavad.
Jaakobus just kui hoiaks meie ees peeglit, et saaksime mõtiskleda selle üle, kas meie teod reedavad seda, mida me oma mõistusega teame vale olevat, aga tegudes siiski välja toome. Seega peame meeles pidama, et on olemas lõhe teadmiste ja tarkuse vahel. Kas on olemas midagi, mis takistab meid elamast Jumala sõna järele ja soovimast seda, mida Jumal meilt ootab? Sellele küsimusele aus vastus on see, et meil tuleb jõuda selleni, mis on tegelikult oluline, kaaludes seda, mida ette võtame meie enda ja meie kogukonna ning ühiskonna elus. Oluline on, et püüame Jeesust järgida, tema järel käia ning tema eeskujul elada, mitte ainult temast teada saada. Kui anname endale aru, kuidas kristlastena omal ajastul ja omas kohas targalt koos elada, peame samas paljastama teadmiste ja elutarkuse vahel olevat kuristikku.
Jaakobuse kirjas on selles surmavas tühimikus patud: ahnus, isekus, isikliku naudingu ja mugavuse otsimine, kõik see, mis meie ühiskonna tervisele ning tervikule halvasti mõjub.
Usk, mis on tõeline, on selline, mis avaldab ennast keset igapäevaseid toimetusi. Inimesed võivad öelda, et nad usuvad ühte, kuid teevad midagi täiesti erinevat sellest, mis öeldud. Seetõttu rõhutab Jaakobus oma kirjas, et tõeline usk on seotud kõigega, mis meie elus toimub. Usk, mis pole aktiivne, pole usk. Usk, mis ei ela ega kanna vilja, on surnud usk.
Tõe sõna on Jumala loov agent. Tõe sõna sünnitab inimeses uue elu. Sõna sünnist on sõna elust. See osutab elule, millel on kehaline mõõde, kuid see uus elu ei piirdu ainult südamelöögi või kopsude hingamisega.
See uus elu tähendab uut elu suhetes Jumalaga. Jaakobus kirjutab, et need, kes sünnivad uuena, saavad „esmaviljaks“ (Jaakobuse 1:18b). Pühakirja traditsioonis on esimesed viljad need esimesed küpsed viljavihud või esimesed viljad, mis ilmuvad ja valmivad puul. Need on märgid suuremast saagist, mis alles on kasvamas ning valmimas. Vanas Testamendis leiame, et esimesi vilju ohverdati regulaarselt Jumalale tunnuseks sellest, et kogu saak kuulus Jumalale. Olla esimene vili tähendab kuuluda Jumalale, olla Jumala poolt nõutud, olla Jumala poolt soovitud.
Tavaliselt võib peegli ees seismine tähendada seda, et näeme end kõhna või ülekaalulisena, plekkidega, sassis juustega, kortsus või armistunud nahaga. Kuid see pole see, mida Jumal meis näeb. Peame mõtlema asjadele äsja öeldu valguses. Kas me näeme seda, kes me oleme? Kas näeme end olevat inimese, keda on õnnistatud Jumala andidega, selle inimesena, kes on Jumala sõna kaudu uude ellu äratatud? Kas näeme end esimese viljana, mis on asetatud Jumala ette sellepärast, et kuulume talle?
Mis juhtub, kui unustame, kes me oleme? Elu võtab tavaliselt teise suuna. Kui unustame, kui palju meile on antud, siis miks annaksime midagi teistele? Kui unustame, kui palju oleme saanud, taandub kogu meie elu otsingule, et saada seda ja toda, mida saame, kuni saame. Orvu ja lese olukord võib meile tunduda kahetsusväärne, kuid järeldame, et maailm on selline, nagu ta on, sest hätta sattunud inimesi on alati meie keskel. Aga kui meie peame saama seda ja toda, mida saame, kuni saame, ja meie võtame nii palju, kuniks võtta annab, siis oleme unustanud Jumala sõnast tulenevaid korraldusi. Mis siis, kui unustame, et Jumala sõna on andnud meile uue elu, viies meid uuenenud suhtesse Jumalaga, kes meid lõi ja soovib, et oleksime Tema omad?
Kui unustame, mida Jumala sõna meile annab, siis tundub, et see, mida meie oma sõnadega ütleme ja teeme, on ainuõige. Niisiis kutsutakse meid üles: „Vaata uuesti ennast täiusliku vabaduse seaduse järgi“ ja ütle, mida sa näed. Vabaduse seadus on armastuse seadus ja armastuse seadus toob vabaduse. Armastuse seadus toob selle vabaduse, mis on tõeliselt vabastav, sest armastus nii vabastab, kui ka ohjeldab meid. Teadmine, et kedagi armastatakse, on kõige vabastavam asi, mida ette kujutada saab. Armastus hoiab meid suhtes Jumalaga. Vaatame armastuse seaduse valguses meie identiteeti, sest meie oleme need, kelleks Jumal meid loob: Jumala omaks, Jumala lasteks, Kristuse poolt lunastatuks, Kristuse kaaspärijateks, Jumala poolt armastatuks.
Kas on mõni põhjus, miks me ei taha, et inimesed teaksid, kes me oleme? Kui me kristlastena järgiksime Pühakirja ettekirjutusi ning õpetust, räägiksime palju vähem ja kuulaksime palju rohkem, loobuksime vihast ja enesepettusest. Oma usu väljendamine isiklike suhete tasemel, nii kõneharjumustes kui ka oma tegudes, mis suunatud teistele meie ümber, mõjutavad lõpuks ka kogukonna ning ühiskonna tervist ning vaimset kliimat. Oma hoiakute ja tegudega täidame Jumala poolt antud eesmärgi avalikustada Jumala armastust ja hoolivust, eriti vaeste ja tähelepanuta jäetud inimeste seas. Seda tehes saame Jumala loodu esimesteks viljadeks.

Sermon for May 15th 2022 – John 13:31-35
Reverend Gustav Piir, priest-in-charge

For stories to be a success, especially stories about rescues, bravery and love, during World War II we perhaps need to add an SS officer with a cruel glint in his eye, and a saber scar from his university days. Then we throw in an archaeologist with a fedora, looking for religious relics. Perhaps, maybe a raven-haired beauty with a heaving bosom, would add some spice. Why? The answer: „because why not? It gets our attention and awakens in us our sense of what is true justice, service and love.” Today the scene could be anywhere in the world, the SS officer would be replaced by a conscript or mercenary mercilessly killing innocent civilians, let us say women on a village street out searching for food and water. The archeologist with the fedora would be replaced by a news reporter wearing a helmet and tactical ballistic vest in search of the stories from the front line. The raven-haired beauty would be there to add some spice.
In the Gospel of John we have Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus into the hands of the high priests and ultimately Pontius Pilate. We have the disciples gathered in the upper room for the last meal with Jesus as he washes their feet as a symbol of service and love. The raven-haired beauty is the Mary who anoints Jesus at Bethany and wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair and she does add spice.
Stories of violence and love, villains and heroes/heroin, the struggle between evil and good, examples of self-giving love and service are a mainstay of history throughout the ages.
Throughout the Gospel according to John, the understanding of any key word eventually leads to all the key words. Key words and images draw meaning from each other, or more accurately, from their connections to the words and works of Jesus the Christ. The key words and images presented resist definition, serving more as pointers to Christ. One knows what these words mean to the extent to which one knows this incarnate Word sent from God into the world: The living Christ known in and through Jesus. The meaning of the words and images emerges within the narrative of Jesus Christ’s incarnation, life, passion, death and resurrection. The glory and love are inherent in the Son, something he had in God’s presence before the world was made and it is this same glory and love he brings with him into the world. Those who are Christ’s can see that glory and love as the ultimate outward signs of inward grace and truth. At the same time, it is inherent that this glory and love in Jesus, however, does not reach their fullness until Jesus Christ has completed the work his Father sent him to do.
Thus, although Jesus’ glory is revealed to the disciples at Cana in the water made wine, promised to be shown again following the illness of Lazarus, and promised again to Martha at Lazarus’ tomb, in a real sense, it is only with the arrest, crucifixion, and death, that the hour finally does come for Christ to be glorified and his love fully revealed and expressed. Our actions show God’s glory, too. At least, we are charged that it be so. As was true for Christ is true for us. We cannot fully show the glory until we have completed the work God has sent us to do. Or, more positively, we show the glory as we complete that work. As stated with regard to glory, we cannot speak about the commandment to love in isolation from the larger narrative. Only in its depiction of Christ can we see what it means to love one another as Christ has loved us. This is crucial, since Christ establishes love as the defining characteristic of true believers.
For more than two thousand years Christians have been identified as the people of the cross, a symbol of self-sacrifice in the gospels but a symbol of conquest and violence in more recent history. I wonder what would have happened if instead of the cross we Christians would have been identified by the basin and the towel. Why the basin and the towel? It is because the basin and the towel recall Jesus’ washing the feet of the disciples as a sign of Christian service and love. Perhaps our world would be less divided, and everyone would love each other a little bit more, if we used the basin and towel as a sign of who we really are and what we are really called to do as Christians, those who bear Christ’s image. On the one hand, loving one another as Jesus has loved encompasses the mundane; it means serving one another, even in the most menial tasks. On the other hand, this love encompasses heroic acts of great risk; it extends even to the point of giving one’s life for another. The love of which Jesus speaks, then, and which Jesus demonstrates in his life and death, is a love which extends from the mundane to the heroic and encompasses every kind of self-giving act in between.
Jesus tells his disciples that it is by this kind of love that everyone will know that they are his disciples. It is true that Jesus commands his disciples to love one another. Nevertheless, Jesus also declares God’s love for the worldwhich surely includes those outside the community of faith. Jesus demonstrates the depth of God’s love for this often-hostile world in his death on the cross. Jesus demonstrates his love for the same disciples who will fail him miserably. Jesus washes and feeds Judas who will betray him, Peter who will deny him, and all the rest who will fail to stand by him in his hour of greatest distress. The love that Jesus demonstrates is certainly not based on the merit of the recipients, and Jesus commands his disciples to love others in the same way.
We disciples of Jesus Christ have continually fallen far short in our love for one another as well as in our love for those outside the community of faith. Theological and ethical arguments often descend into personal attacks and name-calling; personal interests often trump the common good of the community; those in need of compassion find judgment instead. We often become the villains of family and world history.
Jesus the Christ could not be clearer: It is not by our theological correctness, not by our moral purity, not by our impressive knowledge, nor that we are heroes, nor raven-haired beauties that add spice, that everyone will know that we are his, Jesus Christ’s disciples.
It is quite simply by our loving acts — acts of service and self-sacrifice in the spirit of true love, true compassion and true justice - acts that point to the love of God for the world, that we will be known as Christ’s disciples witnessing to God at work through Christ in the world today.

Sermon for May 8th 2022 – The Good Shepherd
Reverend Gustav Piir, priest-in-charge

Our modern society has a largely romanticized image of the shepherd. The image of the Shepherd to which our psalm today (Psalm 23) comes from the life of the Middle Eastern shepherd. This life, however, is neither consistently quiet, easy, nor sedentary.  For several months centered around the summer, there is very little or no rain in most of  Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Syria. Even in the rainy months of winter, some areas still struggle to get more than ten to fifteen centimeters annually. As a result, the pastoral life is on in which semi-nomadic shepherds today are able to settle for is centered on planting and hopefully harvesting winter wheat. However, moving about is still the norm for most shepherds who tend flocks for much of the year in an effort to find ample pasturage and water, which can be quite a challenge, especially during the summer. In fact, much of the land utilized by shepherds is quite hilly and rocky. As a result, the daily task of tending flocks, who tend to venture widely, requires constant attention and can be dangerous because of both terrain and predators. So while the shepherd may occasionally experience picturesque solace and repose, it is more the exception than the rule.
Upon close examination, our psalm today, Psalm 23, reflects the movement, both daily and annually, that the pastoral semi-nomad would know well. To be made to lie down in green pastures presupposes having been brought there in the first place. This motion which ends up with being “led” to a place beside still waters. Leading in right paths and walking also point to movement.  Even the verbs “prepare” and “anoint” and “follow” point away from quiet and still toward activity. Psalm 23 is not about a disposition that can or even hopes to avoid difficulties and dangers in life. It is not about a life of still leisure.  Instead, our psalm is upfront about the fact that the movements of life, the activities involved with living will include going through deep, dark valleys. By viewing the valley as deep and dark, it becomes readily apparent that the rest of the psalm addresses not so much the time when we are “ready to lay our burdens down,” but the everyday, even ordinary, experience of life.  Green pastures and still waters are not just for the sweet by and by, but for the here and now.  
Our soul, our “life force” need not wait until the other side of the grave to be restored or renewed or refreshed. Here we have a God who offers, who has promised to be with us.
When it is summer, and the water and the pasturage are hard to find, and the shepherd is tired and the sheep are thirsty and hungry, and a deep, dark valley lies ahead. These are the times when we need to and can know that peril and evil pose no ultimate and lasting threat.
It is especially during these times that God becomes our shepherd and makes sure that we lack nothing, adding to green pasture and still water a prepared table and abundant anointing oil. God’s goodness and mercy never simply follow at a distance, and certainly don’t maintain some kind of holding pattern until we breathe our last. Psalm 23 speaks to us in this Easter season in the Year of Our Lord 2022 to reinforce the proclamation that the risen Christ promises not only to greet us in the midst of and beyond death, but shall also appear to and meet us behind the locked doors and in the dark valleys of our lives.  We look eagerly to experience resurrection life beyond the grave. Let us not overlook the resurrection life which includes the very refreshing of our souls that the risen Christ offers daily to those who follow him, to those who hear his voice and those who obey him.
In today’s world there are many voices that tell us how to grow closer to God: by having a prescribed religious experience, by believing the correct doctrine, by reaching a higher level of knowledge or a higher level of morality. By contrast, Christ the Good Shepherd tells us that everything depends on belonging to him. Never does our status before God depend on how we feel, on having the right experience, on being free of doubt, or on what we accomplish.
Our status before God depends on one thing only; that we are known by the shepherd who says “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish” (John 10:28). The voice of the Good Shepherd is a voice that liberates rather than oppresses. It does not say, “Do this, and then maybe you will be good enough to be one of my sheep.” It says, “You belong to me already. No one can snatch you out of my hand.”  Secure in this belonging, we are free to live the abundant life of which Jesus spoke earlier in the chapter: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
The abundant life of which Jesus speaks is not necessarily about abundance in years, or in wealth, or status, or accomplishments.  The abundant life is life that abounds in the love of God made known in Jesus Christ, love that overflows to others. It is eternal life because its source is in God who is eternal and in Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life. Amidst all the other voices that evoke fear, make demands, or give advice, the voice of the good shepherd is a voice of promise a voice that calls us by name and claims us as God’s own.
This is a very strong message for the Christian community, the Church, or any community, past or present, experiencing harassment, emotional stress or the effects of terror, violence and war.  Unfortunately, a conservative orthodox ideology promoting a theology of justifying war, violence and terror in the name of „saving Christian values“ and “saving the Christian world from the ungodly” has surfaced right next to us and is part of what some of those whom I meet seriously believe.  Now here is a tension between God’s initiative and human responsibility that is not resolved in John’s Gospel nor perhaps in the entire Bible. It is only with the eyes of faith that we can see the truth concerning Jesus. Those who belong to Jesus, who hear and recognize Jesus’ voice and follow him, have been given to him by the Father.
Everything depends on God’s initiative. God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. At the same time, the result of Jesus’ coming into the world is that those who do not believe are subject to judgment. So what is true belief? From whom comes the true voice to guide us? In our reading from the Book of Revelation 7:9-17 there is an amazing combination of imagery, the Lamb Jesus now becomes also the shepherd, tending the flock, leading people to springs of water, and wiping away all their tears which is a quote from Isaiah 25:8.  Led by the Shepherd-Lamb, God’s redeemed people will come through the tribulation into God’s new Promised Land.
“Who is able to stand?” was the rhetorical question left dangling at the end of the dreaded sixth seal, after the four seals’ deadly horsemen and the fifth seal’s depiction of victims under the altar. The questions left dangling today are: Who is able to stand in the face of judgement for things done and left undone? Who is able to stand when the voice of Jesus is not heard? Who is able to stand when the truth is not discerned? The interlude that is described in our reading from the Book of Revelation today has given God’s people their answer to these questions by depicting their identity as a redeemed community, wearing white robes and singing. By the end of the interlude described in Revelation chapter 7 all of us as God’s people can confidently answer: With God’s help, we are able to stand and with God’s help we are able take our stand. God’s goodness and God’s mercy revealed by Christ pursue us, actively seeking to engage us and refresh our lives. In addition, God’s goodness and mercy does this all the days of our lives.  

Jutlus 1. mail 2022
„Kristus kannatas teie eest, jättes teile eeskuju, et te käiksite Tema jälgedes…“ I Peetruse 2:21

Hoida suud, kui meid väärkoheldakse, meie kohta valetatakse, meid solvatakse, meid laimatakse, - see on siis hoiduda samaga vastamast, kui kannatame üüratu kivide ning noolte rahe all, usaldada end igas olukorras oma Jumala kätte - , need on asjad, mida me nagu Jeesus teha saame. Need ei pruugi olla legendaarse kangelase kannatused, kuid need on tõelised. Meid kutsutakse Kristuse poole üles vaatama ja tema eeskuju järgima.
Seda sõna võib olla raske ellu viia, kuid selle üle on hea mõelda. Kultuuris, mis on sageli üle antud sõnapõhisele kättemaksule, ropule kõnemaneerile, madalaimal tasemel vihakõnele, maha tegemisele ning alandamisele, hüüdlausete tasemel propagandale, võib ohverdusliku vaikimise vajadus olla mitmete jaoks ammu aegunud ja ebakohane, isegi ebareaalne.
Mingi vastus, vastulause või vastupanu tundub päevakohasem.
Kui tihti juhtub, et hoolimata sellest, mida Piiblist loeme, hoolimata sellest, mida ajaloost tunneme, ja hoolimata isegi oma isiklikest kogemustest, jäävad õppetunnid, mida peame Jumala sekkumisteks meie eludesse, ikkagi tähelepanuta? Kui tõsine hoiatus on see meie endi ajastu jaoks, kui pühadust tihti avalikult mõnitatakse ja tehakse vähetähtsaks. Kui tihti kuuleme Jeesuse nime kasutatavat käibesõnana, Piiblit naeruvääristatuna ja halvakspanduna, austust rumalaks ja ebaoluliseks peetuna?
Kristuse omadena, Jumala rahvana, peaksime taastama nördimuse ja meelepaha tunnetust, kui selliseid asju tehakse Jumala silme ees. Mõjugu see teadmine, et Jumala kohtumõistmine tabab lõpuks kõiki, kes „tõusevad taeva Issanda vastu“, meile kogu oma kainestava jõuga.
,Kuid lisaks sellele tuletab epistlist loetud kirjakoht meile meelde kannatavat sulast, nagu Jesaja teda ette kujutab: „Ta oli rõhutud ja vaevatud, kuid ta ei avanud oma suud. Nagu lammas, kes viiakse tapmisele, ja nagu lammas, kes vaikib oma niitjate ees, nii ei avanud ta oma suud.“ (Jesaja 53:7)
Kas saab üldse vaikida ning lasta kurjusel oma teed kulgeda? Kas saame öelda, et vägivallal, vaenul ja sõjal on oma koht, mida võib õigustada mingil ülespuhutud ettekäändel? Tõde on see, et vähemalt enamikule meist, kes elame tänapäeva Eestis, ei too kristliku elu elamine ja „Jumalast teadlik olemine” kannatusi kaasa. Tänapäeval pole kannatused, väärkohtlemine ja füüsilise vägivallaga ähvardamine tõkkeks usuelule.
Meie eelkäijad nägid, et suurim trikk, mida kurat kunagi mängis, oli maailma veenmine, et teda ei eksisteeri. Nüüd on suurim oht ​​kristlikule usule ja Kristuse Kirikule ükskõiksus.
Lubage mul siinkohal olla täiesti selge: ma ei väida, et füüsiline oht on see, mida meie enesele peaksime soovima, ega ma ei igatse vanu „häid tagakiusamise aegu“ ning repressioone. Kuid kas asjade praegune seis, vähemalt meie Euroopalikus kultuuris, muudab meie epistli teksti 1. Peetruse kirjast 2:21–25 peaaegu ebaoluliseks? Ei, mitte sugugi!
Meile kirjutatakse julgustuseks: „Selleks olen teid kutsunud. Sest Kristus kannatas teie eest, jättes teile eeskuju, et te järgiksite tema jälgedes." (I Peetruse 2:21) Täna on olukord, kus ei sa jätta küsimata: Kas see on üleskutse, millele peame vastama? Kas sellele saabki vastata?
Võib-olla ei kõla siin meie jaoks kutset kannatustele või isegi märtrisurmale, vähemalt mitte otsesõnu; kõlab hoopis kutse, et me võime järgida Kristuse samme ülekantud tähenduses. „(Kristus) ei teinud pattu ja temas ei leitud pettust,” on vihje Prohvet Jesajas leiduvale laulule kannatavast sulasest (Jesaja 53:9): „Temale anti tema haud õelate juurde, kurjategijate juurde, kui ta suri, kuigi ta ei olnud ülekohut teinud (ei mingit vägivalda) ja tema suus polnud pettust."
Kui võtta seda manitsusena mitte kunagi pattu teha, siis see tähendaks võimatut paluda. Kui neid sõnu kannatavast sulasest võtta vaid eluviisina, mis toob esile ausust, mitte ainult pattu, eluviisina, mis on pühendatud Kristuse õpetusele ja rajatud apostlite tunnistusele, millesse oleme kutsutud kui Kristuse ihu liikmed, selline elu võib olla siiski meie käeulatuses ning igati teostatav. Selline hoolikas eneseanalüüs, mis suunab meid elama seda, mis käeulatuse on, saab olema oluline, sest see kujundab ka meie keskkonda ning ühiskonda. See tuleb selle kaudu, mida teoloog Miroslav Volf oma „Teoloogilistes mõtisklustes kiriku ja kultuuri suhetes, mis leiduvad I Peetruse kirjas“ nimetab „pehmeks erinevuseks“. „Pehmed erinevused“ sisaldab kristlikku eristust, mis jätab kristlastest tänapäeva kultuurile mulje kui kapituleeruva äärmuse ja tarbetu eripära vahel eksisteerivast kogukonnast. Pehme erinevuse järgi elades oleksid mitte ainult kristliku ühiskonna, vaid terve ühiskonna ja maailma haavatavamad liikmed tegelikult kaitstud.
Kristlasi juhendatakse järgima ühiskonna standardeid, mille eesmärk on säilitada enim ohustatutele elementaarne turvalisus. Ometi siin juures tasakaalustab sotsiaalsesse konformsussesse sattumist ja propagandale allumist mingi vastupanu, vastu seismine, mis seab ettevaatlikult üles väljakutse olemasolevatele sotsiaalsetele struktuuridele.
Vastupanu mitte alluda kurjusele, inimese allakäigule ning, mis tulenevad valedest ja vihast, on tõeline väljakutse meie ajastul. Me ju näeme, kuuleme ja haistame seda, mis juhtub nendega, kes oma valitsejate ebaõiglusega nõus pole. Pisargaas ning veekahur, isegi mahalaskmine ilmestab reaktsiooni vastupanijatele ja vastuseisjatele meie ajastul. Hirmutada, röövida ja vägistada on ühtedele lubatud norm, aga teistele kuritegu. Kas vaikida? Kas sõna võtta? Mida ette võtta ja millises suunas liikuda?  
Jeesus ise, Sõna, kes sai lihaks ja elas meie seas, on kui laiendatud lootussõna kõigile, kes on raskes olukorras. Jeesus on eeskujuks nii orjadele kui vabadele, meestele kui naistele, aga ka teistele, kes kokku tulnud tema nimel ehk lammastele, kes teistest taredest. Jeesus ei maksnud kätte, kui teda pahandati. Jeesus oli ilma süüta, kuigi solvatud, ja isegi siis ei vastanud ta kättemaksuks. Selle asemel usaldas Jeesus end Jumala, kogu ebaõigluse lõpliku kohtumõistja kätte. Seda sama innustatakse ka kristlasi tegema. Vaatamata kogu Kristuse reaalsuse ilule olla eeskujuks oma järgijatele, ei ole Peetrus rahul oma kristoloogilise portreega, ilma et seda lahti seletaks. Jeesus ei kannatanud mitte ainult eeskujuna, vaid ka „teie eest”, see on meie eest, rõhutab Peetrus. See tõde juhib autorit mõtisklema Jesaja 53. peatükis oleva Issanda sulase figuuri üle (Jesaja 53:4-6): „tema ise kandis meie patud” ning „tema haavade läbi saime terveks” ja "me kõik olime eksinud nagu lambad".
Nii nagu Issanda sulane võttis enda kanda Iisraeli raske olukorra ning esindas Iisraeli kutsumust ja missiooni rahvaste ees, on Jeesus võtnud enda kanda ka inimkonna raske olukorra. Ristil on ta toonud tervenemise (1. Peetruse 2:24) ja andnud meile ning maailmale võimaluse elada õiguses. Tähistasime hiljuti ülestõusmispühi ja võib olla on meil hetkel kiusatus sattuda ühele objektiivile, et näha Jeesuse elu ja surma tähendust ainult pühade valguses ja rõõmus. Ometi jätab Peetrus meile mitmetahulise nägemuse Jeesusest kui eeskujust, tervendajast ja taastajast. Jeesus on see, kes on meid tagasi pööranud enda juurde, ta on meie elu karjaseks ja valvuriks. Teie olite ju „nagu lambad ekslemas”, kuid nüüd te olete pöördunud oma hingede Karjase ja Ülevaataja poole. (I Peetruse 2:25).

Sermon for Sunday May 1st 2022 – John 21:1-19

Reverend Gustav Piir, priest-in-charge

At a time when the trustworthiness of churches, church leadership and their ministries is no longer a given, the resurrection narratives provide a warrant, even a mandate, for reflection and honest self-appraisal. Trustworthiness is the indispensable base upon which organizational trust is built, and the effectiveness of our ministries is at stake.

In today’s world and age with so many scandals arising out of things done and left undone for many there is a vital question that needs to be asked: How do we rebuild trust in our churches and church leadership? This after all is a vital question not for diocese, synod gatherings but congregational ministry and safeguarding teams as well. While this requires judging the trustworthiness of others, those whom we employ in salaried as well as volunteer positions, it also includes cultivating our own trustworthiness as witnesses to and of Christ as members of the church.
In the Gospel of John Peter has been ambiguously portrayed as a potential leader rather than Jesus’ heir apparent. This may reflect questions the community harbored regarding Peter’s fitness to be their leader. After all since the trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin Peter’s reputation has been in shambles after denying Jesus three times. How could the disciples be expected to trust Peter to lead them, especially since Peter had pledged to follow Jesus to his death, even promising to die for Jesus’ sake and failed to do so? Peter is a good example of an old saying in a negative light: „when the going gets tough, the tough get going“, implying that when there is a real tough situation at hand, those who are reported to be tough, strong and brave, are nowhere to be found because they have betrayed the cause, are overcome by fear and run away. For us hindsight might suggest that Judas acted out of religious zeal, but his suicide exposes his own disappointment. Peter surely feared for his own survival, despite his recent promise to follow Jesus come what may. The other disciples enjoyed the thrills of being a part of the coming revolution, but it hadn’t occurred to them that the victory would not come to pass in their lifetime.
Delayed gratification has always been difficult for those who follow Christ. Peter and his friends are living in what we often call the “meantime” which is the time when we wait on God’s next move. What do we do when we are waiting for God’s next move? Peter and Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee (Andrew and John) and two others of Jesus’ disciples who remain unnamed decide to go fishing.
Given that Peter is known to be a fisherman we would think his fishing ability could be taken for granted. Our gospel passage today highlights the failure of Peter’s ability to fish. In doing so it serves as a foil to demonstrate a more highly valued ability. This ability involves hearing and following Jesus’ instructions. This ability was first identified in the Good Shepherd discourse in which the sheep hear and know the shepherd’s voice and follow him.
In our reading today from chapter 21, Peter and the disciples hear and obey Jesus. Let us take note that Peter acts in concert with the other disciples and does not direct them otherwise. 
Later, when Jesus instructs the disciples to bring some of their fish, it is Peter that does so. . Then, after Jesus’ threefold commission to Peter, the final scene of the gospel depicts Peter following Jesus, with the “disciple whom Jesus loved” following them. Amid the risks of persecution and death, hearing and obeying Jesus was the primary and indispensable ability that would mark a capable leader of the threatened community. 
When Jesus commissioned Peter, he didn’t send Peter out in search of instant conversions. Jesus said: “feed my sheep”. Now this narrative stands in opposition to the notion of packing your bags and waiting to cash in on that fire insurance policy with its eventual pie-in-the-sky payoff. It also suggests more than the big catch as a metaphor for large church initiatives, mega-church ministries, televised revivals, You-Tube services and Facebook sermons that reach millions. Jesus leaves the many to speak to one with forgiveness, intimacy, and invitation. It has been now over 2000 years since the first reports of the empty tomb in the garden. Many have been blessed by believing without seeing. Following the risen Jesus is a trust-based act of vulnerability rather than self-preservation. That, paradoxically, emboldens us to “go out” with joy and renewed sense of calling and sending.