THURSDAY THE TWENTY-EIGHTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2017
* Shusaku Endo *
O Lord, of your tender love, prepare a place for yourself in my heart. Empty my heart of every feeling, thought, emotion, desire, purpose, anxiety, hope, fear, which may interfere with your love. Open my whole heart to receive you; let nothing shut you out, nothing be shut to you. You alone can make my heart fit for yourself; cleanse it wholly by your Spirit, that it may wholly love you; be wholly filled with you; wholly penetrated, enlightened, warmed, by you; that you may dwell in it forever, and it may love you with your own love in it everlastingly. Amen.
( E. B. Pusey )
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN part seven (abridged)
I have longed for your salvation, O Lord.
O consider my affliction and deliver me,
for I do not forget your law.
Plead my cause and redeem me;
according to your promise, give me life.
Great is your compassion, O Lord;
give me life, according to your judgements.
Consider, O Lord, how I love your commandments;
give me life according to your loving-kindness.
The sum of your word is truth,
and all your righteous judgements
endure for evermore.
I am as glad of your word
as one who finds great spoils.
As for lies, I hate and abhor them,
but your law do I love.
Seven times a day do I praise you,
because of your righteous judgements.
Great peace have they who love your law;
nothing shall make them stumble.
Lord, I have looked for your salvation
and I have fulfilled your commandments.
My soul has kept your testimonies
and greatly have I loved them.
I have kept your commandments and testimonies,
for all my ways are before you.
Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding, according to your word.
Let my supplication come before you;
deliver me, according to your promise.
Let your hand reach out to help me,
for I have chosen your commandments.
Let my soul live and it shall praise you,
and let your judgements be my help.
I have gone astray
like a sheep that is lost;
O seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
I have longed for your salvation, O Lord.
God of mercy, swift to help us,
as our lips pour forth your praise,
fill our hearts with the peace you give
to those who wait for your salvation
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Shusaku Endo: love’s futility in a world of suffering
Today at Saint Laika’s, we remember Shusaku Endo who died on the twenty-ninth of September, 1996. He was a Japanese novelist, a Christian, and someone who constantly challenged Japan’s culture through his novels.
Endo was born in Tokyo in 1923, and while still an infant moved with his family to Manchuria, where he gained first hand experience of being a minority in an alien culture.
His parents separated and later divorced and, at age eleven, he moved back to Japan with his mother and brother where, under the influence of his aunt, the family was baptised and became Christians. At this time, Christians were less than one percent of the Japanese population.
When World War II broke out Endo suffered prejudice for his Christian faith, the faith of Japan’s Western enemies. After the war he completed his studies both in Japan and in France. In France he contracted tuberculosis and was in and out of hospital for three years.
Endo decided to write a life of Christ, so he journeyed to the Holy Land. It was a transformative journey for him. He was of the opinion that Christianity had a hard time taking root in Japan because Jesus was so often portrayed as suffering for us. In his “Life of Jesus”, he chose instead to show Jesus as a man who suffered along with us. Jesus had such love for others, Endo said, but it did him no good. Love is futile in a world of suffering.
The novel that is considered Endo’s master work, however is “Silence,” which tells the story of the Jesuit missionaries in seventeenth century Japan who were imprisoned and tortured for their faith in Jesus Christ.
The central character, Father Rodrigues, is forced to watch Japanese Christians being put to death for their faith. He, at first, stubbornly refuses to renounce his faith. His captors pledge that if he does so, all the other Christians will be spared. He is required to trample on an image of Christ. He is racked with guilt that his refusal to renounce his faith is causing the death of so many.
In his dream. Christ comes to him and speaks: “You may trample. You may trample. It was to be trampled on by men that I was born into this world. It was to share men’s pain that I carried my cross.”
Rodrigues tramples on the image of Christ and the others are freed. He lives the rest of his life in the ambiguity of having publicly renounced what he still privately believes.
Endo himself was a man of ambiguity. He was never quite accepted in Japan because of his Christian faith, and he was never quite comfortable in his Christian faith either. He was continuously calling for a change in the way Christianity was being presented to the Japanese.
Scripture. In the third chapter of "The First Letter of John," at verses eighteen to twenty we read:
"Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts."
... for peace in the world.
... for the Christians of Japan.
... that the good news of Jesus Christ may be rendered relevant to people of all cultures.
... that the Holy Spirit may comfort us and protect us from error when we struggle with our faith.
... for the eradication of rabies from our world. DETAILS
... for the people of the Czech Republic who celebrate their national day today.
... for child migrants and refugees; for an end to their exploitation; for an end to the injustices and cruelties of our world that lead to these young people having to face such horrendous dangers. DETAILS
... for the Iraqi Kurds; that they may achieve independence without bloodshed. DETAILS
... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
From "Wonderful Fool" by Shūsaku Endō:
Not all men are handsome and strong. There are some who are cowards from birth. There are some who are weak by nature. There are even some who cry easily. But for such a man, a man both weak and cowardly, to bear the burden of his weakness and struggle valiantly to live a beautiful life - that's what I call great.
Almighty God, we thank you for your gifts of grace given to your servant Shusaku Endo, who sought to present the truth of Christ in a world of brokenness and sin. May we be strengthened in our own faith as we become aware of his struggles. In the end, bring us all to endless light and life with you. through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. 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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