A month has passed since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster in eastern Japan. The road to recovery is obviously going to be a long one. Rolling blackouts have ended for the time being. Yet store shelves for certain things remain bare. Natto (fermented beans), yoghurt, and many bottled beverages are quite scarce.
On April 7, another magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook eastern Japan at 11:32 p.m. just as many in evacuation centers were preparing to get some sleep. Though most aftershocks are not of such intensity, quakes are experienced nearly every day. For many, it feels like it will never end. Getting used to daily quakes has become a part of life in 2011. When a temblor wakes one in the night, one must learn to roll over and go back to sleep–not an easy thing to do when you’ve seen what can happen.
Peoples’ livelihoods have been greatly affected. Farmers and fishermen near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant are unable to continue their work due to contaminated soil and seawater. What does a farmer do when told that his land cannot be used? What does a fisherman do when told his catch cannot be sold? How will these people face the future when they may be prohibited from returning to their own homes?
The Japanese have a strong, fighting spirit, but this huge disaster has tested their resolve. Continue to pray for Japan. The United Church of Christ in Japan has responded both financially and with plans for sending groups of volunteers to assist in rebuilding. Other churches and Christian organizations are also working together. At this time, denominational differences must not keep us apart. Please pray that this disaster will be a opportunity for the church to re-identify itself as one that is in the world to be the body of Christ so that the Kingdom may come to all of Japan.
People are lonely and are grieving. The missional and incarnational body of Christ is what can manifest Jesus’ love and comfort to all who need to meet the Savior who will be with them in the midst of the storm.