MONDAY THE TWENTY-THIRD OF APRIL, 2018
* Toyohiko Kagawa *
Eternal love, flow forth!
God within me, clothe yourself in glory! Amen.
( Toyohiko Kagawa )
Do we not know that solemn word,
that we are buried with the Lord,
baptised into his death, and then
put off the body of our sin?
Our souls receive diviner breath
raised from corruption, guilt, and death;
so from the grave did Christ arise
and lives to God above the skies.
Nor more let sin or Satan reign
over our mortal flesh again;
the various lusts we served before
shall have dominion now no more.
( Isaac Watts )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Toyohiko Kagawa: making all things new in Christ
The Saint Laika’s Calendar calls for a remembrance of Toyohiko Kagawa, who died on this day in 1960.
Kagawa was born in 1888 and, as a teenager converted to Christianity. He studied at theological seminaries in Japan and at Princeton University and Princeton Seminary. He sought to introduce Christianity to the Japanese people applying Christ’s teachings directly to Japan’s poor in a theologically uncomplicated way. For over twelve years he lived in a six foot by six foot cubicle in the city of Kobe’s worst slum. He devoted himself to the service of the poor and to improving conditions for Japanese workers.
He became a respected labour leader and a social reformer. He was also a staunch pacifist and organised the National Anti-War League in 1928. He was arrested in 1940 for publicly apologising to the people of China for Japan’s invasion of that country.
He wrote many books and novels, some were widely read. He used the profits from his book sales to establish schools, hospitals, and churches. Although some knew him best as a social reformer and pacifist, Kagawa saw himself first of all an evangelist.
“Christ alone can make all things new,” he said. “The spirit of Christ must be the soul of all real social reconstruction.”
Noted quotation: "I read in a book that a man called Christ went about doing good. It is very disconcerting to me that I am so easily satisfied with just going about.”
Scripture: In the fourth chapter of "The Letter to the Philippians," in the twelfth and thirteenth verses, we read:
I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
... for peace in the world.
... for Japanese Christians; that they may be effective evangelists and ambassadors for Christ in their land.
... for the poor and those who care for them whilst living among them.
... for the people of England who celebrate their national day today.
... for women giving birth or about to give birth.
... for the children of alcoholics.
... for those mourning the death of a beloved pet.
... for those killed or injured when a suicide bomber attacked a voter registration centre in the Afghan capital, Kabul. DETAILS
... for those killed or injured when a coach, travelling from Mecca on an Umrah pilgrimage, was hit by a fuel tanker; for all who have been involved in road traffic accidents recently. DETAILS
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From "Love, The Law of Life" by Toyohiko Kagawa:
I fear that in this world God, this God of love, will not be fully known; but I do think that ultimately all people will become aware that there is no lord but love.
Love awakes from within. Love will arouse all people. Love whispers in that person's ear; it whispers to this person's heart. Love calls to all to awake and goes about bringing all people to the comprehension that through love all things are transmuted into life-art. To this love, all creation is adornment and withal, intrinsically perfect drama. Love is the drama that redeems pain and disaster. To love, all is victory. Love is alpha and omega, the very essence of God.
Love is God's holy of holies. I know that in love alone God is to be adored. To me, every idol, every temple, is but a symbol. In love only do I worship God. All forms are but appendages. Temples, shrines, churches, creeds, baptism, the holy communion, the scriptures, the hymns: all of these circle about love. They are not God. Love alone is salvation. Love is the final iconoclast.
Only in the temple of love do I worship God. In groups of workingmen, at the bedside in the quarantine hospital where the nurses are bravely at work, in the dimpled cheeks of babies, in the embrace of the loved one, I worship God. Let all fragmental forms be dissevered from God.
Love alone introduces God to me. Love is my sanctuary in factory, field, city street; in bedroom, office, kitchen, sickroom. I have my sanctuary everywhere I go in the universe. Where love is, there God is.
He who worships God in love is never straitened. Love is the unfailing spring.
No sects there are in Love. Buddhist, Muslim, Christian: these are not love's divisions. Love knows how to embrace, but not to differentiate.
Love removes all the dross from people and saves all. Love is the ultimate religion. Classify me not by creed: I belong to nothing but Love. Jesus it was who taught that it should be so. Jesus never said that people were to be shunned for their creeds. Love is the ultimate revelation, the final sanctuary.
Only before love do I bow in reverence.
We bless your Name, O God, for the witness of Toyohiko Kagawa, reformer and teacher, who was persecuted for his pacifist principles and went on to lead a movement for democracy in Japan; and we pray that you would strengthen and protect all who suffer for their fidelity to Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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