Summer celebrations culminated in a festive Mass


Procession of the cross before the celebration of the festive Mass. Photo by Juho Pylvänäinen

The third and final day of the Missionary Diocese’s Summer Festival at Loimaa Evangelical College began. The most important moment of the week came when the celebrants gathered for a joint Divine Service. The large tent was filled with participants of all ages from all over the country. Bishop Juhana Pohjola and Dean of the Diocese Joel Kerosuo were the liturgists for the celebration. The sermon was delivered by Bishop Emeritus Risto Soramies. The music for the Mass was provided by a music team led by Miikkael Halonen, consisting of a choir and an orchestra.

The choir and orchestra began the mass with the Hymn of Atonement. Photo by Juho Pylvänäinen

As in the congregations of the Mission Diocese and in previous Summer Festivals, the Mass began with a solemn procession of the cross with the congregation standing. During the procession, the choir and instrumental group performed a solemn and devotional Hymn of the Atonement. This hymn was composed and arranged by the Rev. Harri Lammi, who is also known as the operational director of the Summer Festival. This was the first time the hymn was heard at the Summer Festival.

The Gospel of Christ is the greatest loaf of bread

Bishop Risto Soramies preached at the celebratory Mass. Photo by Juho Pylvänäinen

Bishop Emeritus Risto Soramies delivered the sermon at the celebratory Mass. This was the 10th Sunday in Pentecost, so the Gospel for the day was the Parable of the Servants entrusted by the master with talents, Matthew 25.

In his sermon, Bishop Soramies said that the word does not refer to our talents or qualities, although the term “talent” is well established in many languages, and then it refers to a natural gift, aptitude or ability. “Talent” refers to all that we have received as a gift from God, the whole of life. It is the vocation we have been put here to fulfill, Bishop Soramies taught.

In the sermon, the Bishop addressed the audience, who are in different situations in life, about taking care of their vocations linked to their life situations. In particular, the Bishop encouraged all listeners to faithfully care for their own vocations. In the Gospel for the day, the third servant did things in a different way from the others, since he did not try to make a profit with his talent, but buried it in the ground. According to Bishop Soramies, this means that he not only did not do too little, but he did not do anything at all. Therefore, we Christians should not neglect our vocations that God has given us.

In his sermon, Bishop Risto equipped people in different life situations to live their own vocations. Photo by Juho Pylvänäinen

But the real talent, according to Bishop Risto, is the most Holy Gospel of Christ. “Every Christian has enough of the Gospel at his disposal, and more than enough. He is called to use it in abundance. He who considers himself but a little sinner needs but little of the gospel – one talent, perhaps. Another needs two talents, and a third needs five. The main thing is that each one uses it enough,” stated Bishop Soramies. Remember the gift of this talent, especially when, in the exercise of your vocation, you are confronted with your own sins. “Remember the talent you have received, the treasure that Jesus Himself gave you at your baptism: the most Holy Gospel of what Jesus Christ has done for you. Remember Jesus Christ, the Bishop urged.

After the sermon, the service of Holy Communion began. The celebration ended with the dignified Lutheran hymn 895 “O Canaan land” and the orchestra and choir presenting “Almighty Lord, how wonderful is your name”.

In the afternoon, the closing festivities of the summer festival

The summer festival continued through Sunday afternoon. Lunch was served after the Mass. In the afternoon, there were closing festivities under the theme “With the Word, sailing against the wind”. The speakers included Bishop Emeritus Matti Väisänen, Bishop Juhana Pohjola, Mission Diocese pastors Sakari Korpinen and Ilkka Pöyry, and the Rev Tapani Simojoki, who serves as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England.

You can see a recording of the celebration here. You can watch the closing event here.