On Sunday we attended our first church service since coming to Finland. Here are some things that I observed and reflected on.
1. The service was in Finnish – duh! Of course it was, and we knew that going in, so no big deal. The building was interesting. I’ll have to take a picture of it for you. I’ve seen a few churches here and most of them are pretty modern structures, built within the last 40 or so years. This was modern, but in a nice pleasant Finnish way. The Finns know how to do modern architecture in a way that works.
2. I was able to follow along with the service. That’s the beauty of the Lutheran church, as well as some other churches that use a common liturgy. There was a little brochure that participants use to follow along the service, with some leader parts and responses of the people. It is labeled with the Ordo – the order of the service. Even though it is all in Finnish, I knew right where we were. And since I knew where we were, I could see the Finnish words for God, the Apostles Creed, Eucharist, Word, Sending, Gathering, etc.
3. The Finnish are friendly. We were greeted by several people, in English, and welcomed into the church. Considering that our family is considered large in Finland it was easy to spot the “American” family that is visiting for almost a year. Regardless, we felt welcomed.
4. The service is very quiet, but then again, so are the Finnish, so it fits the culture. The Finnish are quiet and reserved and keep to themselves, but can also be very friendly once the initial ice is broken.
All in all, a nice and familiar service. We’ll look forward to coming back, picking up some more Finnish and being able to follow along more. There’s also a monthly service in English and the kids are dying to go to that. We saw somewhere that there will be weekly service in english starting next week, so if we can find more about that, we may try that as well.