Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Continuing On - To The Rising Sun With the Risen Son (Part 8)

Jonathan Eller in TokyoToday we went back to the area around the Imperial compound in front of the statue of the Samurai Kusunoki Massashige and took some time to do some praying. It was a gorgeous day. It was a little cold, but it was nice being outside.

There is a welcome center close to the park and they had some information about the moats and some of the plants and animals that can be found there. I was shocked to discover that they have Largemouth Bass and Bluegill in the moats! They were introduced here from the States. There are some other invasive species that have been imported. These species can really wreak havoc in the native ecosystem. Just as the Northern Snakehead is seen as a danger to North American ecosystems the Bluegill and Largemouth Bass are in the Japanese waters. I think I would have been pretty shocked to go fishing here and come up with a Bluegill on the line.

Anyway, after we finished praying in the park we took the train on a circular route around the city. When we finished with that we grabbed some lunch at an Italian restaurant that we had seen on Monday. We then spent the rest of the day in the Edo-Tokyo Museum. It was pretty interesting. They had some incredible models set up. There were lots of interesting artifacts as well, including some swords and amazing watercolors. The main thing that we were looking for was clues that may help us to understand what is making it so difficult for the gospel to spread in this nation.

Mount Fuji from the 40th floor of the Grand Prince Akasaka HotelI think that we found some interesting leads today that will help. One of the things that struck me was just how ingrained the Shinto religious worship was to many aspects of Japanese life. There were deities associated with nearly every important geographic feature of Tokyo that most likely still hold sway over the hearts and actions of the people. Another thing that stood out to me is that there have been many attempts to bring social justice to the people of Japan. So far those efforts, while well intentioned, have largely failed.

And yet still, as I am learning more and more about Japanese culture, I am convinced that there are also elements here that the Lord can use to make this people a special treasure for Himself. There certainly seem to be aspects of the culture that have a finger on the pulse of special facets of the heart of God. I think about their willingness to die for the sake of honor. If only that could be turned to a willingness to put to death the deeds of the flesh for honor's sake! They are the people of the kamikaze, the "divine wind," who believed that it protected their nation from attack. Is God's Spirit not also called the Ruach ha Kodesh, the divine breath? I believe that these are things that God has implanted into Japanese culture to one day help to lead them to Himself. Sadly, as he often does, the enemy has perverted these very things to prevent that from happening. The good news though is this: God doesn't lose to the enemy! What God has purposed to do in a people will be done regardless of how the devil tries to keep it from happening.

Back to the museum for a second; one of the neatest things I saw there today was a watersystem that the Japanese used in Edo (an earlier name for Tokyo) that was made out of wood. Totally impressive. The water flowed through wooden water mains that were buried underground and brought water to the city. I just thought that was awesome. How creative!

We ended up today by going to a very popular part of the city and getting a little KFC. The train trip there was an adventure to be sure. At one point there were so many people jammed into the railcar that one woman all but had her nose pressed against the window of the door. People were pressing up against me on every side of me that wasn't up against a bulkhead! I really thought I'd freak out, but I thought I handled it pretty well.

Anyway, I was really glad to make it back to the room tonight. I am tired, but it was a great day. Please pray that my snoring will subside. I was keeping David awake with it last night. It was so bad that he ended up sleeping out in the hall! Poor feller.

Tomorrow we will probably stay close to the hotel for the morning and then we are going to meet with the folks at the JEMA office on the other side of town. This is the organization that David made contact with the last time that he came over. We will be attending some events with them this coming Monday and our meeting tomorrow will kind of flesh out exactly how great our particpation will be in those and other events. It is hard to imagine that I only have a week left.


Learner said...

I believe that these are things that God has implanted into Japanese culture to one day help to lead them to Himself.

Have you ever read Don Richardson's Eternity in their Hearts? I think you'd really like it. He talks about elements in different cultures that can point that culture to Christ.

Jonathan said...

Learner, I haven't read that book though I have heard the title before. It sounds like a book I should check out.