I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the ways in which difference is held together in Japan, and the Japanese understanding of beauty and stillness. I have been struck by the number of people from other lands who have made Japan their home for so many years, as well as reflecting on my own story, and why I returned to Britain after living here for four years. There is a mix of ancient and modern, secular and sacred, stillness and disturbance, each held in such close proximity.
There can be invitation alongside hostility…
…it can feel like two parallel universes; equally as a foreigner here, all that I have known can feel like it is from a parallel universe, one that is presently inaccessible.
Rituals and respectfulness can demonstrate the beauty of the soul.
Often blue sky and sunshine can elevate the soul.
Equally, without warning, unfortunate events unfold; those that you would much rather leave behind or not have to receive, like ‘bad fortunes’ that can be left in the safety of the shrine rather than accompanying you home.
Then there are customs which bring you to your knees, like these prayers for children – especially those who did not have very long with us – given hats and bibs to keep them warm, as well as windmills to offer relief from the sun.
It seems that there is nowhere quite like this wonderful place of contradictions amidst harmony – where space or stillness is sought after within a busyness that I may never truly understand….
#695 The first #ordinationceremony of #petertide – it was a #joy and #privilege to see these beautiful people ordained #deacon! #prayers for all who are recently ordained, and those preparing for ordination over the coming week.
#503 #day8 of #japantravels was our final day in Hiroshima so we went to the #peacepark and #peacemuseum. There is so much to take from this but a theme of #athousandcranesofhappiness ran throughout. A schoolgirl had heard about the idea and had put all of her efforts into making origami cranes as prayers for her recovery from leukaemia, caused by the radiation she was exposed to at the time of the #atomicbomb blast…unfortunately she died a little over a year after her symptoms became apparent but her classmates continued making cranes of happiness as prayers for peace. This practice continues today with cranes of happiness being sent each year…wow! #diligenceinprayer
#492 #sunset on another #michaelmasterm at #riponcollegecuddesdon Prayers for those working to meet deadlines, #safetravels and for #rest and #recuperation for all of my colleagues as we take space to process all that has happened over this last term. Amen.
#311 #leaversday at #riponcollegecuddesdon today with a #eucharist and a #blessing of ordination stoles. It was very emotional and yet fitting that these Godly people move on to flourish in #ordainedministry – go with our love and prayers!
#81 #prayers for all who have lost a baby, that they would be comforted by God, know his love, care and compassion for our suffering. #babyloss
#56 #newbeginnings – My first day at theological college is finally here! New beginnings always come with a mixed set of emotions: nerves, excitement and disbelief are just some of the things that I have been feeling today. Yet I also find it an immense privilege to have the opportunity to study about, and eventually minister to and serve God’s people. #humbling indeed! #prayers for all those starting university, or facing other new starts this week. (at Ripon College Cuddesdon)
#46 Today I took myself off for #sabbath time…time to rest and not work, read, do housework, but just be alone with my thoughts and #prayers. I ended up walking for two and a half hours!! As I was walking, the wind was pleasant, but all around me. I was reminded of a time when someone explained God using a wind analogy – you can’t see Him but you can feel Him, and you just know He’s there. Gradually I began to feel #closertogod and the world around me almost paled into insignificance. Whether religious or not, I wonder whether you take time to rest and just think about nothing? Have you had an experience of awesomeness, and feeling in the presence of God/divine figure/something you cannot quite explain? It can be so refreshing…