Moss Fence, Japan
photo via maneki
Moss Fence, Japan
photo via maneki
We believe what we want to believe.
I want redemption.
I want to believe the pain, loss and ugliness will be used for good and turned to beauty.
I want there to be a happy ending, where it all makes sense and nothing is wasted.
I woke up this morning with this song and video on my mind. “It’s the sound of the forgiven….It’s all God’s children singing, ‘Glory, glory, He reigns, He reigns!’
Yesterday was our second Easter Sunday here in Yokohama, Japan. It was such a rich, full day.
We started with a small but diverse group at Yokohama Union Church having a pretty typical Presbyterian like church service. My husband and I walked to get a quick lunch and shared coffee afterwards with a Singaporean woman who also attends our church.
As we walked back to church for the afternoon concert she told us how she searched for God in a private High School in Malaysia starting her journey to follow Christ.
The concert had stringed instruments and classical music sung in Latin with English and Japanese translations in our printed program.
After a short break our church choir (with additional singers from the Anglican and Catholic Churches nearby) sang along with the instruments.
The name of the musical was “The Lord of the Dance” with the story of Jesus’ resurrection woven together with traditional hymns. We watched and listened as people from China, Japan, England, Holland and the USA (and probably more) all praised God for the amazing gift of His Son Jesus as our redeemer.
From there the choir went on to their ‘after’ party and my husband and I went to a small local wine bar that had a friend’s band doing their unplugged thing on a smaller scale. This band also has people from many different countries and the small place was packed with beautifully different colored skins and accents. Conversations could be overheard flowing from English to Japanese and a strong Cockney influence from one end of the bar.
Three of our friends from the church choir joined us for one last glass of wine and then we walked home, chatting along the way and stopping at one of the train stations to hug and say “Mata ne.” (see you) before heading home.
This was the first Christian Easter for one of my dear Japanese friends. She was full of joy and overflowing. The other friend was enjoying her second Easter but with a richer connection….she didn’t want the day to end and walked out of her way to stay with us a little longer.
And then this morning, one of the first thoughts in my mind was this song…”…The song of Asian believers filled with God’s Holy fire….”
"Glory, glory, He reigns, He reigns!"
Spring, Tenkawa Mountain, Nara, Japan
photo via damali
No way, it’s too beautiful! Oh Japan, one of God’s many beautiful wonders.
We watched ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ again, I’ve lost count, maybe my 6th time. We watch it before we take guests to Kyoto, it’s a tradition and gives insight into the old Japan that is still visible there.
I’m stirred to tears by the story that is told and still amazed that a man wrote it. So much insight into a woman’s heart and longings. There are many beautiful, painful and insightful scenes and lines but one section has been coming back to me since my last viewing. (Minor SPOILER Alert.)
"I am not worthless! I am not worthless!"
The deep cry of every woman who has been abandoned, overlooked, used, mistreated and/or abused. Isn’t this all of us? The women who tell me their stories have all experienced some tarnishing of their beauty. Some more horrifically than others but no one seems exempt.
And then this morning I read this excerpt from a book on Masculinity and Femininity, I want to rest in God’s delight and draw others to be consumed by His beauty. It takes courage to rest, to give up the striving to please and instead freely live a life of love. Be courageous.
Capturing the Cherry Blossom Season in Japan
In Japan, sakura (桜), or cherry blossoms, stand as the symbolic flower of spring and start appearing all over the country as the seasons change. During this season, rows of cherry trees with their pastel-pink crowns transform the country and shower the streets in falling petals. People go out to gardens, streets and parks for hanami (花見), or flower viewing, to appreciate the beauty of the cherry blossoms and the mild weather after the long, cold winter. Often, hanami involves picnicking in the best sakura locations and enjoying food and drinks with friends under cherry trees. The blooming of sakura begins from the south around late March and spreads northward through the beginning of May.
Want to see more photos and videos from some of the most famous sakura locations in Japan? Explore the location pages below: