Monday, February 23, 2009

Short Rows - To The Rising Sun With The Risen Son (Part 11)

The back stairway to the Hie Jinja shrine in Tokyo JapanSo let me tell you a little more about the Hie Jinja shrine. It looks like it may be the most important site spiritually speaking in Tokyo. It is probably a tie between this one and another shrine out close to the airport. But this shrine occupies higher ground and "houses" a couple major "deities." Today we went back to pray at the shrine. Unfortunately, I got my wires crossed with David and we went there BEFORE going to the Imperial Grounds tour.

I had had a very rough night last night and was tired. It was cold and rainy. And I had not gotten ready as quickly as I had hoped. Still, I thought that I had gotten ready in time for us to get to our tour on time, but my lateness had not left hardly any time for us to pray at the shrine. We did however pray there this morning. There were no dramatic events surrounding the prayer. No earthquakes, no fires from heaven - no one even tried to chase us away for praying there.

I really would have liked some more time to spend praying. I didn't feel like I had really gotten anything accomplished. But then again, am I the one who is supposed to be accomplishing anything? This has been the big struggle for me personally on this trip. So much about the trip has not been clear. Have I accomplished what I came here for? It is hard to measure such things when you haven't been given a clear mandate about what you came to do. It means that I have to trust in God's sovereignty and his ability to lead someone who can be as dense as I am at times. May God forgive me for my ability to forget my place! I can do nothing without Him and my only job is to obey His direction. If I obey I have done well. I shouldn't have to see results to know that I have done His bidding.

One of the keeps from Edo Castle on the Imperial grounds in Tokyo JapanIt was a miserable day for a tour to put it bluntly. There was a light soaking rain and it was cold. It just wasn't a great day to be outside. Well, the ducks didn't seem to mind, but I could think of more fun things to do. OK, I'll stop griping.

We managed to make it to the Imperial residence just as the tour was about to start. We were supplied with umbrellas and listening devices and headed out into the rain to take a tour of the grounds. The taped tour information was helpful. It answered a question that I had about some markings that we saw on some of the stones of the ramparts that we had seen around town. It turns out that the different shogun would put their family crest on the sections of the ramparts that they were working on.

I also learned that when the emperor was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo (after the failure of the Tokugawa dynasty to discourage Commodore Perry from forcing Japan to open itself to the world) that he had an entire building dismantled and relocated from Kyoto to the Imperial grounds. There are some close ties between Kyoto and Tokyo spiritually too. The Hie Jinja shrine was a "disciple" shrine of an older one that was on Mount Hie close to Kyoto.

There were some interesting things to see on the tour, but I think that it would have been much more pleasant in April. It was kind of dreary in February. It is sad that the old Imperial Palace was destroyed in the firebombing of 1945. I would have liked to see the original building.

David P standing in the rainLunchtime today consisted of a combination of udon noodles and tenpura. It was very oishi-i (delicious.) It definitely hit the spot and put some warmth back into our cold, wet selves. We came back to the hotel to dry out and get ready for tonight.

Tonight at JEMA we had a great time getting to know some more Japanese missionaries. We brought a bag supper (we brought KFC) and then indulged in some delicious treats that had been prepared for us. I was particularly delighted with some mini cinnamon muffins and with the walnut cake that someone brought. The cheese ball was delicious too.

At the JEMA meeting we had the opportunity to find out about some really neat things that are going on here. One fellow - and sadly I cannot recall his name - told us about some Christian manga that have been developed. He gave us some free samples and they were really interesting. I plan to read mine on the plane home! I am very excited about what they are accomplishing with this genre of literature and was thrilled to hear how God had saved several very talented manga artists and brought them to this gentleman for the purpose of making this project a reality.

In a second seminar, we learned about how Japanese are communicating with each other with cell phones much more so than we do in the States. They use their cell phones for email and for surfing the web and most of their deepest interactions are done via phone. The gentleman who spoke to us about this showed some really great strategies for putting a church or ministry out where it will be easier to serve the Japanese people where they are. Both seminars were very interesting and quite exciting.

Well, it is getting late here and I have to be back in the meetings tomorrow at 10:00, so I'd better wind this down for now. I will do my best to post one more time before I leave. Perhaps tomorrow when we get back from the JEMA conference. In the meantime, thank you for all of the prayers of support. I look forward to seeing you soon.

No comments: