Lent 2011–Day 5

Monday, March 14, 2011

Haiku by Basho:

A wild sea-
In the distance over Sado
The Milky Way

I only know Japan through literature, history, drama, art and poetry, religious studies, and a few students who have been in my English classes over the years, and one Zen monk–an American–who goes to Japan several times a year for meditation. Mine has been a long distance love based on second-hand knowledge, a landscape and people of the imagination. When I think of peacable families, lighting charcoal fires for cooking, or monks raking pebble gardens, slowly and carefully, and temple cats, and small villages, the devastation of the earthquake seems even more present.

Japan is still reeling, and so is the rest of the world. Television news stations are now doing the fear and anxiety rap. They’re showing pictures and diagrams this morning of all the possible earthquakes that could happen on the Pacific rim, because the force of Friday’s earthquake significantly shifted the tectonic plates along the fault lines in the Pacific. So here is a perfect demonstration of the terror of the law, law being the world in which we live, subject to earthquakes, faultlines, and other danger zones.

T.V. not a good idea. Pastor Keith Anderson, of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Woburn, MA, has already tweeted the good news of the Gospel today: John 3:16. I’m glad of it. Spiritual battles are fought on every front, even the internet, even cyber-space.

My favorite lines for times like these come from Romans 8: 38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And I love the prayer someone wrote for the ELCA resources: “reveal your presence in the midst of suffering.” What frailty, this beautiful world.

For more prayers, and news, and ways to help,
see the ELCA website here.

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