(Note: For those who may have read this blog via the Japan Team Blog, I have added a Missions Comment at the end.)
Today, I walked the streets of Sendai, a modern city of Japan and the capital of the Miyagi Prefecture in the Tohoku Region. A Prefecture is one of the forty-seven subnational divisions in Japan, which encompass cities, districts, towns and villages. A region is a non-official administrative unit of Japan used for practical purposes like weather reports.
Sendai is the largest city in the Tohoku Region of Northern Japan. On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude offshore earthquake hit Sendai sending a devastating tsunami into the area. We are visiting with pastors from the area.
As I walked the streets of Sendai, everything seems so normal. I purposed to observe as much as possible during my walk.
As I stood on the street corner waiting for the signal to turn green for pedestrians, I heard a bird chirping loudly. All of a sudden, everyone began crossing the street as the bird continued to chirp.
As it turned out, the signal for pedestrians to cross the street is both a green signal and the sound of a bird chirping (at least, that what it sounded like to me). I suppose it could be annoying to some, but it was a pleasant sound to me.
Indeed, everything seems normal in Sendai, but it really isn’t. There is a sense of grief and sorrow below the surface. There is angst in the land. The soul of Sendai is still in pain. Natural catastrophes can leave a scarring impact on us because we discover that we are so powerless in the face of something as powerful as an earthquake and tsunami. It shows us that we are not in control. The people of Japan, like the rest of us, love to be in control.
There was a great natural calamity in the days of Noah. It was an all-consuming flood of epic proportions with destruction and death everywhere. There was a long aftermath.
What finally brought a peace-filled end to the devastating disaster of the flood? It was the presence of a bird, namely a dove.
When I heard the bird chirping, I was reminded of the dove that brought an olive leaf to Noah when the floodwaters had abated and the dove could find rest for the sole of her feet. The dove, who is also a symbol for the Holy Spirit of God, was used by God as a messenger of peace and healing.
The City of Sendai and the nation of Japan will not find peace for their souls even when the region is totally restored. Peace can only be found when the dove of God lands on the souls of the people and chirps His song of rest and restoration.
Something to think about…
Missions Comment: During our time in Japan, at least two Japanese women who lost everything when the tsunami hit, accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I cannot remember a time when a short-term missionary team experienced a person coming to Christ. Ian just shared with me that he had the privilege of leading another person to Jesus. The Lord is doing something wonderful in the aftermath of the tragedy.