Reflections on the Disaster & Suffering (Day 2)
Gathering outside by a stove and under a small tent, the Kamaishi Church service began. Later I learned that this fire was continually burning, as a way for victims of the earthquake walking by to come and warm themselves, and have a chance to share their hearts with people who were willing to listen. (Don't we all need this!) There were 8 church members gathered, with about 20 volunteer workers from various places. There were reporters from two different newspapers there, including one from Vermont.
The pastor opened with these words,
"We are thankful for this disaster. It is changing the city and it is changing us."
Are you thankful for struggles in your life? Through common struggles and suffering we are brought together as a family.
The pastor went on to say that we all have a need for support and love, and we all have a need for giving support and love. Because of this we are one, supporter and sufferer. We are all both. We can cry together because we are all sufferers. We can laugh together because we are all supporters. No one is above suffering and if one does not enter into the suffering, no love is communicated. We are all supporters as well. We were made to support each other and share love.
It was inspiring as we sang many songs about suffering, and how God joins us in our suffering through coming to this world and dying for us. Finally we heard a poem read about the disaster. I'll translate some of it for you here:
By a song we can't stop a tsunami, no one can
That's right, certainly that's right
That is why... why not sing together
That is when... we just might know God's heart
After the service we went in the partially cleaned/fixed sanctuary for a time of silent prayer. On the wall was a dirty plaque, not yet removed for cleaning that simply said this:
This cross... of wood...
not steel or refined silver or gold
is the central symbolism within the church.
The most gruesome suffering that may come upon us
may be in fact
the ushering in of new life...
of new beginnings.
May it be so for these people, and for us. Because really, we are them and they are us.