Jutlus I Advendil 2022
Gustav Piir, koguduse õpetaja

Sakarja 9:9 kuulutab: ”Ole väga rõõmus, Siioni tütar, hõiska, Jeruusalemma tütar! Vaata, sulle tuleb sinu kuningas, õiglane ja aitaja. Tema on alandlik ja sõidab eesli seljas, emaeesli sälu seljas.”

Kui me täna nende iidsete sõnade üle Prohvet Sakarja raamatust mõtiskleme, marsivad maailma eri paikades tänavatel protestijad, kes karjuvad õigluse, vabaduse ning rahu järele ja mõistavad hukka seda, mis surub inimesi alla. Teised hääled kisavad, et neid on petetud. Kolmandad räuskavad, sest tahavad oma riiki ning rahvast taas suureks teha, kõrvaldades neid, kes tunduvad nõrgad ja liiga järeleandlikud olema. Neljandad hääled nõuavad radikaalseid muudatusi, uue ajastu sissejuhatust ning uut algust, et päästa maailma kliimakatastroofist. Lisame nüüd siia juurde eesli seljas ratsutava kuninga, kes koos vabaks lastud vangide ja taastatud linna ning pühakojaga laulavad kiitust Jumalale. Kuningas eesli seljas on üks mõjuvamaid pilte, mida võime Pühakirjast leida ja üllataval kombel nii Vanast kui ka Uuest Testamendist.
Tagasi vaadates Vana Testamenti tõdeme, et prohvet Sakarja ajastu oli kujuteldamatult raske. Pärsia kuninga Koorese dekreet oli taustaks sellele, mis oli tegelikult Iisraeli vaevleva kogukonna teine ​​väljaränne ja uus algus uues olukorras. Esmalt Jumalast inspireerituna jätma kõik mis tuttav ja turvaline ning alustama uuesti tundmatul maal, tegi Aabraham esivanematest esimesena teekonna Kaananimaale. Põlvkondi hiljem viis Mooses orjastatud kogukonna Egiptusest vabadusse ja rahva uus põlvkond, rännanud kõrbes, naasis sellele tõotatud maale. Kuidagi, vaatamata raskustele, elas kogukond üle kaotuse ja Babüloni pagenduse. Juuda rahval saabus taas aeg koju tagasi pöörduda ja kõike taastada. Ülesanne oli ülisuur. Nii palju tööd oli teha. Polnud ime, et inimesed heitusid ja jätsid taastustöö pooleli. Kuusteist aastat ja ei mingit edasiminekut, kuigi Iisrael oleks pidanud tulevikku vaatama ning Jeruusalemma ja Templi taastamistööd lõpule viima. Sellises olukorras võime küsida: mida oleks vaja olnud, et töö uuesti käima läheks?
Tõuseb esile Sakarja. Ta mõistis seost kogukonna elukvaliteedi ja pühapaikade eest hoolitsemise vahel. See polnud mitte ainult sümboolne, vaid ka igapäevaelu praktiline pool, see, kuidas inimesed otsuseid tegid, kuidas nad üksteisega suhtlesid, kuidas nad oma elu koos korraldasid. Kõik see mõjutas tervet ühiskonda ja jumalateenistust Templis. Sakarja sõnad julgustasid kogukonda uuesti taastustöid alustama ja neid töid ka lõpetama. Ta kutsus inimesi üles, et nad jätaksid kõrvale patud ja ehitaksid uuesti üles templi ja koos sellega oma elu vaimse poole.
Kasutades eesli seljas ratsutava juhi kujutist, suutis Sakarja kokku tõmmata vastandid, mis kujutasid endast parimat ja halvimat aega, lootust ja meeleheidet ning lootust, et Jumala abiga saab maailmas kõik korda seatud.
Kes tahaks rahvale juhti, kes ei suudaks tõhusalt toime tulla elu probleemide ja väljakutsetega? Ei keegi. Sarnaselt pagendusele tuletati paasapühade tähistamisega meelde, et Iisraeli vabadus Moosese ja Aaroni juhtimisel tuli egiptlaste esmasündinute hävitamise hinnaga. Ühes rahvas toimuvat mõjutab see, mis toimub teises. Jeesus võttis Sakarja kuulutuse omaks, tulles Jeruusalemma eesli seljas.
Alates Jeesuse kui Jumala Võitu, Taaveti Poja, Messiase alandlikust, kuid samas ka võidukast sisenemisest Taaveti linna ja lõpetades tema matusteks võidmisega, saame põigata sügavalt Jeesuse kannatuse, surma ja ülestõusmise kirglikku jutustusse tänavuse kirikuaasta alguses. Lugu sisaldab poliitilisi ootusi, kuid ka reetmist ning viimast õhtusöömaaega nendega, kes on Jeesuse lähimad jüngrid. Õhtusöömal kuuleme Jeesust kõnelemas neid samu sõnu, mida kuuleme tänapäevalgi, kui koguneme armulauale: „See on minu ihu, murtud“ ja „See on minu veri, valatud“.
Täna alustasime uut kirikuaastat, süüdates siin esimese advendiküünla Anna Haava (1864 -1957) sõnade ja Matis Metsala (1973 - ) viisi saatel.
Sa südames nüüd pane
kõik küünlad põlema
ja ära pimedusel seal aset anna sa.
Kas oled kurb või haige -
sa looda, kannata
ja usu, valukarik saab viimaks tühjaks ka.
Ei igavest või kesta
ei ükski oht, ei õnn,
ning sagedast su valu sul õnnistuseks on.
Sa südames nüüd pane
kõik küünlad põlema
ja ehi oma hinge sa taevarahuga.
Võib-olla pole me kunagi varem oma elus vajanud elavat lootust enam kui praegusel ajastul. Lootust, mis võib meid elavdada ning võimaldab meil otsida valgust pimeduses, hoida kinni sellest, mida me teame olevat tõde, kui kõik muu tundub küsitav. Lootust hoiab elus selle kasvatamine; seda säilitab pilk homsest kaugemale tõotatud tulevikku, pidades meeles, et meil on pärand, mis meid mitte ainult ees ei oota, vaid mida ka täna pakutakse: usk Jeesusesse Kristusesse. Usu ja visiooni ühendamine on pikka aega olnud kristliku traditsiooni osa. Tuletame meelde Jeesuse sõnu: „Õndsad on need, kes ei näe, kuid usuvad” (Johannese 20:29b). Vaatamata meie praegustele oludele, kannatustele või muredele täidab meie ülestõusnud Issand Jeesus Kristus me elu oma valgusega, sütitab meis lootust ja uuendab me usku mitte ainult uue kirikuaasta esimesel päeval, vaid igal uuel päeval terve kirikuaasta vältel. Sa südames nüüd pane kõik küünlad põlema ja ehi oma hinge sa taevarahuga!

Sermon for Sunday November 27th2022 – Matthew 24:36-44
Reverend Gustav Piir, priest-in-charge

Back in the Old Testament Book of Genesis for the people of Noah’s day, being swept away by the flood was not a good thing. In our Gospel reading today Jesus’ sayings simply depict sudden, surprising separation, without indicating the cause for the judgment or the reward on the part of those taken or left behind. The so called “rapture theology”, the rapture being an end-time event when all Christian believers who are alive, along with resurrected believers, will rise "in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air", actually has little or no scriptural support. It may offer comfort for those who seek certainty or presume to have secured the inside track to heaven, but the focus of our Gospel reading today is on remaining vigilant amidst the uncertainty of a long wait amidst discouraging circumstances.
Now the importance of staying awake and being ready is not just advice for crisis moments, but a call to perpetual, normative readiness, regardless of circumstance. After all, for us Christians living in the time of resurrection and the defeat of death, every moment is lived on the edge. When living on the edge watchfulness or wakefulness is not a defensive or preventive posture, but heightened attentiveness, attuned both to the signs of God’s presence and power, as well as the signs that the powers of this world are doubling down.
We do not know, cannot know, and are not supposed to know when the Lord is coming. This is a condition we are to embrace, and not attempt to overcome. Watching and readiness are not meant to be switched on and off according to perceived need. Watching and waiting are, in fact, the disciplines to which Jesus calls his disciples more than any other as the end of his ministry draws near. We living at the end, so stay awake and watch. 
Jesus’ saying about the nocturnal burglar who breaks into a house has to do with this theme of watchfulness. As the watchfulness of a homeowner prevents a burglar’s intrusion, so too the watchfulness of disciples should forestall the coming of the Son of man. Perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye and ear at first. The point of comparison is that Jesus’ disciples and we along with them, are not to be like the homeowner unaware and inattentive, who lets his or her house get broken into by a thief. These days we install timer lights, yard lights, lights set to go on when movement is detected and alarm systems to ward off possible intruders. When flying in an airliner on a clear evening over rural areas of Estonia, low enough to see the ground, we can see yard lights in farms and villages that are for security. All seems beautiful and peaceful. These are signs of vigilance. So, let us adhere to what is said in our Gospel text today. We as believers in Christ will likewise be vigilant for the coming of Christ in his own good time. This is a time that cannot be predicted. Therefore it is appropriate, as the saying goes, to live each day as though it may be the last.
We cannot postpone fulfilling our commitments to be the persons we aspire to be. Ordinary secular duties continue to be part and parcel of our daily living. Being prepared for the coming of the Lord takes place in daily dying and rising, living out our baptism and faith in this world. As Martin Luther advises: Each morning when we awake we should make the sign of the cross to remind ourselves that we are baptized into the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Likewise the Apostle Paul who inspired Martin Luther, frames our activity as a baptismal activity as he tells us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We are clothed in Jesus Christ. At our baptism, we were clothed in the robe of forgiveness. It is this gift of forgiveness, this gift of God’s radical love that carries us beyond our own nights, through and beyond our own desires and flesh to live for the neighbour. The Christian life is a daily practice, a continual exercise, of our baptism until the day we die. Baptism is a continual beginning. It is, yes, a death, an ending but then it engages us in a wakefulness that continues our whole life long.
In this context the message of Christ’s return is not meant to frighten us. It is to give us hope.
The Christ who is to come is the Christ who once lived among us on earth, and who is known in the gospel story as the friend and healer of those in need. Moreover, living in hope, expecting Christ’s return, is integral to our Christian faith, for by it we insist that there is more to the human story and God’s own story than that which has been experienced already.
The promises of God urge all of us as Christians to lean forward toward the future in its entirety. The person who knows for sure he or she will die in two days may well do all sorts of things out of character because he or she has a firm deadline before him or her and thus throws caution to the wind. Likewise, even as we who know Christ will certainly return may well be tempted to throw caution and Jesus teaching and example to the wind, since we think we have all the time in the world to live our lives. The hope we have is not personal only, and it certainly is not simply private. It is a communal hope. We as the church are a community of hope and responsibility in the world. Far from deflating the Christian faith of worldly care, turning attention only to that which is beyond history, Christian hope in the future coming and reign of Christ can generate a commitment to the future and the public good of humanity in this world.
In answer to Paul’s rhetorical question found in the Epistle to the Romans: “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31). The answer is: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39). We have entered the season of Advent in the Year of Our Lord 2022 in this assurance that the Son of Man who comes in the birth, life, death, resurrection and second coming of Jesus Christ is the Lord of all. The heralding call and claim of this Advent season is present as Psalm 122 brings us into the beginning of this new church year: “Let us go to the house of the Lord” (verse 1). In this word of invitation we come to the house of the Lord expectantly waiting the one who is present and who will come as Lord of all.

Jutlus 20.11.2022
Gustav Piir, koguduse õpetaja

Meil tuleb alati tänada Jumalat teie eest, vennad, nõnda nagu on kohus, kuna teie usk jõudsasti kasvab ja armastus, mis teil igaühel on üksteise vastu, rohkeneb, nii et ka meie ise kiitleme teist Jumala kogudustes, teie vastupidavusest ja ustavusest kõigis tagakiusamistes ja kitsikustes, mida te talute Jumala õiglase kohtu märgiks selle kohta, et teid on arvatud Jumala riigi vääriliseks, mille pärast te ka kannatate. See on tõe poolest Jumala poolt õiglane, et teie vaevajaile tasutakse viletsusega ja teile, keda vaevatakse, antakse hingamist koos meiega, siis kui Issand Jeesus ilmub taevast oma väe inglitega leegitsevas tules, karistades neid, kes ei tunne Jumalat ega ole kuulekad meie Issanda Jeesuse evangeeliumile. Need saavad karistuseks igavese hukatuse eemal Issanda palgest ja tema vägevuse kirkusest, kui ta tuleb, et tol päeval olla kirgastatud oma pühade hulgas ja imetletud kõigi usklike seas; sest teie juures on meie tunnistust peetud usutavaks. (II Tessalooniklastele 1:3-10)
Teine kiri Tessalooniklastele kujutab üldiselt ette kiriku tagakiusamise ja kannatuste aega ning osutab nii kurjuse hävitavale jõule kui ka viimsele kohtupäevale Jumala ees. Nagu Jeesuse tähendamissõnas külvajast on Tessaloonika kogudus kivisele pinnasele külvatud seeme, kes elab ohtlikel aegadel, mis omakorda seab ohtu usu Jumalasse, kui kogudusel pole juurt, pole jõudu, et usus püsima jääda. Jätkuvalt kutsutakse üles armastama ja teenima Jumala maailmas. Pauluse sõnad kutsuvad kogukonda lootuses ja usus maailmas püsima. Vaatamata väljakutsetele ja tagasilöökidele näitavad kõik märgid, et Jumal on ustav ja kurjus saab lõpuks karistada. Kuid vahepeal on vastastikune tänu ja palve oluline, et ühine otsus tegutseda armastuses üksteise vastu oleks see teguviis, mis hoiab jätkuvalt seda tagakiusamiste ohu all elavat kogukonda koos. Paulus ei ole Tessalooniklaste maailma suhtes naiivne. Sellised kogukonnad nagu Tessaloonika kogudus oma liikmetega ei teki juhuslikult. Sellised kogukonnad põhinevad Jumala sihikindlal kohalolul ja kutsel. Selliseid kogukondi toetab Jumala vägi, mis toob esile vilja: need on armastuse ja halastuse teod, mis tulevad esile just ustavuse ja vankumatuse kaudu. Aga rõhutute kannatusi ei tohi mingil põhjusel õigustada, sest Jumal on õigluse Jumal, kes karistab rõhujaid ja trööstib vaevatuid.
Jumala õiglus vaatab tulevikku ja nii võib usklike tagakiusamisest kaugemalt vaadelda, tulles rõhumise ning kurjuse laiemate põhjuste ja kogemuste juurde. Jumala kutse õiglust otsida ja haavatavaid kaitsta käib käsikäes meie jumalateenistusega. Jumalateenistus on mõttetu, kui sellega ei kaasne eetiline tegevus. Religioosne elu on puudulik, kui see hoiab meid mugavalt kinni ja on muu maailma vajadustest eemal. Palve eesmärk on viia meid kontakti Jumala südamega ja Jumala süda on häälestatud maailma katkiste paikade ja haavatud inimestega. Vanasõna ütleb lühidalt: „Ära kunagi palveta aknata ruumis.“ Jumala rahva eristaatus Kristuse kogudusena annab juhtidele ja rahvale nii õigused kui ka kohustused. Kui meie ei suuda täita oma kohustusi eeskätt õigluse ja haavatavate kaitse näol, siis äratatakse üles ja kutsutakse meie vastu Jumala püha viha.
Kirikuisa Piiskop Ambrosius ütles kord: „Suurem on näidatud soosing kui esitatud palve ... Sest elu on olla koos Kristusega, sest seal, kus on Kristus, on Jumala Kuningriik.“ Teoloog Karl Barthi kuulsamaid jutlusi oli kahest röövlist, kes koos Jeesusega risti löödi. Barth pidas suure reede jutluse Šveitsi vanglas. Tema sõnad on järgnevad: „Mõelge faktile, Jeesus suri just nende kahe kurjategija pärast, kes löödi risti temast paremal ja vasakul. Nad läksid koos temaga surma. Jeesus ei surnud hea maailma nimel, ta suri kurja maailma nimel, mitte jumalakartlike, vaid jumalakartmatute eest, mitte õigete, vaid kurjade eest, (nende) päästmise, võidu ja rõõmu (eest); kõigest selleks, et neil oleks elu. Me oleme sellised inimesed, meie kõik (oleme) selles majas, mida nimetatakse vanglaks. Oleme siin kogu koormaga, mis teid siia tõi, ja teie eriliste kogemustega selles kohas. Need teised meist kes väljaspool, kellel on erinevad kogemused, oleme siiski, uskuge mind, samas kitsikuses. Tegelikult meie kõik oleme need inimesed, kes on ristilöödud kui kurjategijad. Ja praegu on oluline ainult üks asi. Kas oleme valmis selleks, et meile öeldakse, kes me oleme? Jeesus, pea meid meeles, kui tuled oma kuningriiki.“
„Jeesus pidas meid meeles,“ ütles kord kunstnik Hanna Varghese. „Ja ta ei unusta meid ka. Kogu oma kannatuste ajal oli Jeesus olnud üksi. Ta elas läbi äärmise sotsiaalse distantseerumise. See eraldatus ei olnud tema tervise ega heaolu jaoks. Tema jüngrid hülgasid, salgasid, reetsid teda ja põgenesid minema, jättes ta maha. Pilatus kuulutas ta süütuks, kuid määras Kristusele siiski kõige hullema surmaotsuse: ristilöömise. Kuid ristil polnud Kristus enam üksi. Nüüd oli neid, kes tema kõrval, kaks. Üks temast paremal ja teine ​​vasakul. Need ei olnud jüngrid ega pühakud, vaid kaks kurjategijat, kes rippusid oma ristil.
Taas satub Jeesus halba seltskonda. Taas leiavad patused end Jeesuse heast seltskonnast. Kõik kolm kogevad koos piina, häbi ja eelseisvat surma. Nad on teineteise vahetus läheduses. Üks kurjategija pilkas Jeesust. (Tegelikult oli tegemist Jumalateotusega) „Kas sa pole Messias? Päästa ennast ja päästa meid.“ Neid samu sõnu kasutasid ka usujuhtid, kui nad Jeesust mõnitasid. Nad arvasid, et Jumala soosingu tunnustäheks on Jeesuse vabastamine surmast. Kuid neil polnud aimugi, et Jumal vabastab neid ja meid Jeesuse surma kaudu.“
„Näidatud soosing on suurem kui palve. Elu on olla koos Kristusega, sest seal, kus on Kristus, on kuningriik“ ütles Piiskop Ambroosius. „Jeesus tegi rohkem, kui kurjategija talt palus. Ta suri ja tõusis üles. Jeesusel on võim elus ja surmas. Kristuses on meil jõud elus ja surmas.
’“Sa oled minuga paradiisis!“ ütles Jeesus.“
Sõna „paradiis“ on huvitav sõna. Paradiis tähendab aeda. Sõna „paradiis“ kasutati algselt Eedeni aia kohta. Prohvet Jesaja kasutas sõna „paradiis“, et kirjeldada Jumala rahva tulevast õndsust. Jeesus mõistab paradiisi kui õndsuse seisundit, mida röövel kogeb vahetult pärast surma.
Võtame kuulda rõõmusõnumit sellel kirikuaasta viimasel pühapäeval, kui vaatame vastu advendi ehk Kristuse tulemise ajale. Immanuelil, Jeesusel, Messiasel on kuninglik õigus ja soov avada paradiisi uksed pärani neile, kes tema poole hüüavad. Jeesus tuli päästma ja ta tahab päästa ja ta päästab endiselt. Apostliku usutunnistusega tunnistame meiegi, et Jeesus tuleb kohut mõistma elavate ja surnute üle. Jeesus, kes on ülendatud ristile, esitab oma kohtuotsuse röövlile: Sa oled õigeks mõistetud. Sa jääd minuga igavesti. Sulle antakse andeks ja sind ei unustata.
Hoolimata lõplikust kohtuotsusest ja apokalüptilistest stsenaariumitest, mis näivad domineerivat teist kirja Tessalooniklastele, kutsub Jumala õiglus ja au meidki kehastama lootust, nii et Kristuse au ilmuks meis – meie usus, töös ja tegevuses. Sellega me väljendame Jumala armastust, mis täidab kõike ja on kõikjal. Terve kristlik kogukond ja elu on kujundatud Jumala armus ja armastuses.

Sermon for Christ the King Sunday 2022
Reverend Gustav Piir, priest-in-charge

In a troubled world full of strife, warfare, abuse of power and violence we very well know that martyrs, those who are killed for their beliefs and stances taken. They die unjustly, and every storyteller, every news correspondent and every agency standing up for human rights, makes sure we know that. The murderers of martyrs are clumsy, sometimes regretful but still brutish intending to intimidate and make an example of. Those who record the stories, the words and the pictures take great pains to demonstrate the unjust, violent and repulsive murders, so that we pay attention and remember. Martyrs surprise their murderers, usually by speaking calmly and rationally, by refusing to scream in animal pain when they are tortured to death. Martyrs never die before they speak words worth remembering. Martyrs are calm and this is true whether the martyr regrets having only one life to give for his or her country or insists on having lived an entire life devoted to holiness. The martyr will not abandon holiness. Yet martyrs will often have their tongue cut out as a final way to silence them before being eliminated from the scene. The stories told of martyrs are remembered and retold from generation to generation.
Our gospel reading today is a story of excruciating pain. It is the story of a crucifixion.
It is the story of a martyr killed by Rome and its collaborators. Yet it is a story with twists and turns, if not to say surprises. Crucifixion was torture intended to teach a political lesson.
Rome can and did crush the humanity out of anyone who stood against them or was a threat to them. This crucifixion scene from our gospel reading is loaded with people who cannot be crushed. Above me on our Rood we can meet two of them – the disciple who Jesus loved and Jesus’ mother, Mary. They are faithful witnesses to events that occurred on Golatha.
Now on the hill of crucifixion, Jesus finds another faithful Jew, one who is crucified with him.
To be sure, the other two victims alongside Jesus are bandits, not messiahs nor kings. They get no inscription above their heads. To be sure, one of them taunts Jesus with the same words used by Roman soldiers and the crowd: Messiah, King of the Jews. The other victim, however, knows that Jesus is a king and has a kingdom. These are things that, only faithful, expectant Jews know. The disagreement between the two criminals may be the most revealing segment of our Gospel reading today. No where is it said what the two criminals had actually done. All we know is that they are bandits. Today they could be terrorist or those who do not abide by the conventions of war. Now, following the direction and example of the Jerusalem religious leaders, only one criminal continues to ridicule Jesus wondering about Jesus’ messianic capabilities: “Save yourself and us!” To us his request, of course, is as selfish as his life probably was: “don’t just save yourself; save also us.” The desire to turn the messianic identity into a useful resource for personal gain is as old as the biblical story itself. *
Jesus says nothing to him in response. 
The second criminal takes a different tack. His “rebuke” of his fellow criminal may recall the simple practice of (Luke 17:3): “If your brother or sister commits wrong, rebuke them; if they repent forgive them”. This unnamed man, sometimes known at the “good thief” recognizes the distinction between his and his companions’ crimes and the one crucified in their midst. Of the man in the middle between them he says: “this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:41). The second criminal also asks something of Jesus. This, his earnest request contrasts the first criminal’s selfish, impertinent demand. While others in the scene use titles to mock Jesus, showing they do not really believe Jesus to be Messiah and King, this second criminal accepts in utter sincerity the inscription’s identification of Jesus as “King” asking that he be remembered when Jesus comes into his kingdom (verse 42). This second criminal speaks to Jesus in a startlingly personal and intimate fashion, addressing Jesus directly by name and not with a sarcastic use of a title. In response, Jesus grants him salvation. Jesus’ words in Luke 23:43 begin with an “Amen” saying literally “So be it to you I say”. This introduces Jesus’ “today” pronouncement with a solemn assertiveness. Placed for emphasis immediately after the “Amen” saying is the word “today”, which often puzzles us but appears at key points in our Gospel accounts to describe the arrival of Jesus’ salvation in the world. Its last occurrence occurs here, at the cross from which Jesus’ salvation becomes a reality to this criminal and a possibility to any of “the lost”. The term “paradise” comes from the Jewish literature of Jesus’ period. It signifies the realm of eternal bliss in God’s presence where righteous persons go after death.
With Jesus’ response to the man, Jesus finds this criminal worthy of being in God’s presence with all the righteous, including Jesus himself, despite the fact that by the Roman law and by the man’s own admission he had been “justly” considered worthy of condemnation.
Granted he did not have as much time, the second criminal did less than we might expect to receive such abundant mercy from Jesus. He acknowledged his own guilt and Jesus’ innocence and made a sincere request that Jesus remember him, but this does not necessarily represent an obvious plea for forgiveness or a full-scale repentance on his part.
Regardless, Jesus uses his power as “King” to dispense mercy in a boundlessly gracious fashion that far exceeds what is asked of him. As the Church Father, Bishop Ambrose put it, “More abundant is the favor shown than the request made… For life is to be with Christ, because where Christ is, is the kingdom.” To us this crucifixion scene shows the wide scope of Jesus’ offer of salvation. Whatever evil or crime one has done is no barrier for acceptance into Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus offers direct access to salvation to persons worthy of the most extreme punishment for their sins. Even those carrying out the crucifixion and the mockeries can be forgiven by Jesus (Luke 23:34a). And though Jesus responds to the second criminal’s request, Jesus ignores the calls to save himself, because it is through the cross that Jesus comes into his kingdom, where those deemed unrighteous may share in the salvation of the righteous.
Jesus reign is not a death-dealing system intent on punishment, but a “paradise” that “today” extends even to those whom we do not think deserve it. Our gospel reading today is an account in which Christians throughout the ages call Jesus’ identity into question. Is Jesus a martyr? Is Jesus a king? Is Jesus a Messiah”? What kind of king will Jesus be? Posing the questions in this way is really another way of asking a more personal question of ourselves on this Christ the King Sunday: What kind of church should we be? As followers of Christ, not necessarily as martyrs, but as ordinary Christians, people of the church and people of the kingdom, we should seek to embody the kingdom that Christ proclaimed.
It is crucial that the people of the kingdom show up. We as people of the church can show up to help, to repent, to wait, and to watch. We can show up to argue, to learn, to support, or to challenge. Sometimes we can only show up to beat their breasts and mourn. We need to show up. Perhaps when we show up, we pray the prayer Jesus taught us (from Luke chapter 11):
Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us And do not bring us to the time of trial. This seems a good prayer to pray while waiting with the Christ the King for the final advent to become a reality.

13. novembril 2022 Perejumalateenistusel

Isadepäeva etteaste EELK Tallinna Püha Vaimu koguduse noorte poolt tuletas meede laulus ja sõnas, kuidas Jumal meid hoiab ja juhatab läbi põlvkondade. Vaadati lapse ja isa nurga alt elu ja kõike seda,  mis elu kaasa toob. Abiõpetaja Eha Kraft oma jutluses vaatles põlvkondi ning seda, et lapsevanemaks, isaks, ei saada koheselt ,vaid sellesse rolli tuleb kasvada. Iga põlvkond kasvatab oma vanemaid ja lapsi. Jumala abiga täidame neid rolle ,mida meie kätte usaldatakse.    

Sermon for Sunday November 13th 2022 – Luke 21:5-19
Reverend Gustav Piir, priest-in-charge

Let me start today by saying that the Spirit of God transcends buildings, structures, organizations and even statistics. Religions continued to grow and evolve over the centuries in new geographical locations, nations, and among people of many ethnicities and races.
Despite what our census from last year here in Estonia says about Christians being a minority, people can take heart that though Church seems to be declining in some denominations such as Lutherans, it is through the Spirit and power of God, the Church will continue to live and grow in new forms and new places. I think of our Lutheran mission starts in Mustamäe, Harkujärve and Lasnamäe not to mention Saku and Saue. Our task is to ask for discernment about what God wants us to do and then follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit to get it done. 
Jesus told his followers that before the temple was destroyed, they would be arrested and persecuted. We have only to look at the story of the Apostle Paul as an example. In the Book of Acts chapters 7 and 8 we can read about Saul - Paul’s name before his conversion. Saul persecuted Christians because he felt they were not following the Jewish Law. Followers of Christ were also persecuted by the Romans. Though the Romans tolerated the beliefs, lifestyles and worship practices of Jews, they had antipathy towards Christians. They believed that followers of Christ were renegades who abandoned Judaism while also refusing to worship Roman gods. Some Christians in the early church went even further. Not only did they refuse to worship Roman gods, they also characterized Roman gods as non-existent or demonic. 
Yes, the church was persecuted but it also flourished and even reached beyond the borders of the Roman Empire, then the so called “known world”.
Today, Christianity in its many forms and denominations is still one of the world’s major religions. However, people are also still persecuted for their Christian beliefs when those beliefs contradict the will of people in and behind political or “theological” power. Jesus has said that his followers would be betrayed and hated by those closest to them when they acted upon their faith in His name. Today, this persecution can take many forms. Not all persecution leads to physical death. Sometimes, challenging the status quo can lead to being ostracized or marginalized. At other times standing up for Christ in a secular society means that one is not taken seriously or is considered to be not of sound mind. Isolation is a powerful weapon.
When we as Christians are being maligned or made the object of ridicule quite often we can feel as if we have been abandoned by those we thought were our friends and allies. If and when we experience mistreatment because we are following the ways of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have only to remember that Jesus predicted it would happen and we can take heart that God will be with us even in our times of trial.
Having said this I realize that for many Jesus’ teaching about the end times and the destruction of the Temple, is odd in light of the rest of what we find in our gospel readings throughout the church-year. If historical events of Jesus’ day and the early Christians are being described, we say that Jesus teaching highlights a side of his theological concerns which are less advertised in mainline Christianity today. Such teaching, however, survives on the fringes of Christianity throughout the history of the church and sometimes it comes to the fore to be used as a political tool as well. While Jesus’ followers throughout history have had and still have unwavering faith in him, Jesus did not want us to share that same unwavering faith in everyone who would come in His name. Some of those who come in Jesus’ name have been and will be false prophets who would and do lead Jesus’ people astray. Not everyone is who they claim to be.  Though Jesus made this statement to help the people be wary of false prophets in particular, Jesus’ teaching can be applied to our relationships in general. Before Jesus ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our guide. The Holy Spirit can help us not only discern whether some people are false prophets, it can help us be much more discerning in all of our relationships with people around us.