Land of the Rising Sun

March 15, 2011

The Latin phrase Terra firma conveys the sense that we live and move on a solid earth.  While this is relatively true, every so often we are reminded that, in fact, the hard ground we tread upon, is sailing atop a super-hot, subterranean stratum of melted stone.

Situated near the intersection of massive tectonic plates, the people of Japan have had their lives shaken apart as the Pacific Tectonic plate submerged itself under its North American counterpart.  This is but the latest movement in a process billions of years old.

It is a process in which countless precious lives have been lost.  Yet, it is a continuing dynamic in which all human life initially emerged and became magnificently manifest.

Indeed, whole landmasses have been spawned by enormous, primeval volcanism.  Still, more fundamentally, the violent subduction and eruption cycle, occasioned by a constantly moving, molten-borne mosaic, has given rise to our present atmosphere, continually recycling the air we are so blessed to breathe.

In this latest manifestation of what it means for giant land masses to be floating on a sea of magma, Japan actually moved closer to the United States. 

Yet, even more crucially, many more nations find themselves reaching out and moving much closer to Japan.  Both friends and former enemies are even now hearkening to the cries of those in dire need.

While causing almost unspeakably cruel heartache, crises often give rise to some of the greatest acts of human courage and generosity.  When our Earth seems to be shaken apart, it is then that people appear to be most inclined and empowered to stand together.

Indeed, the ground of our existence is not as stable as we might like.  Yet, at the core of our being, it is why we are here, and, in present form, it is effecting the very best of what we, as human beings, are able to do.

Rocks underfoot may give way, but the Sun will Rise in the Land again, relationships will be renewed, and a deeper reconciliation may indeed emerge and remain.



March 2, 2011

Because my daughter teaches a number of Middle Eastern university students, the recent riots in that troubled region have been of particular interest.  We have prayed for those in the midst of the unrest, particularly now unfolding in Libya, and it is especially distressing to hear that family members and friends of those in my daughter’s classes have lost both life and limb.

Still and all, with the widespread upheaval also unfolding in Egypt, the Sudan, Tunisia and elsewhere, I believe there is cause for measured and reasonable hope.  Using every means of media at their disposal, from texting and tweeting to cell-phone and Facebook, people are saying they want out of oppression.  They are not revolting to be shackled in the chains of radical Sharia law.  They are standing up to enjoy the privileges only accessible when they leave their homelands to study in places like Connecticut and California and Colorado.

Yes, it’s true that power vacuums can be filled by those whose ignoble intentions are only to capitalize on chaos.  But it’s doubtful that the hundreds and thousands of souls giving voice to their frustrations and faith will be willing to trade one set of manacles for another.  So, amidst this tremendous turmoil, I believe trees of new life are being planted, even starting to bloom.

Frankly then, if I have to deal with higher priced gas at the pump, I don’t care.  Losing a dollar here and there isn’t fun, but it sure beats losing an arm, or a life.  I have my liberty, and it’s a great thing to hope and watch as millions and millions of people are courageously striving to receive theirs.

Amidst the tyrannical backlash trying to stamp out the fires of revolution, while the UN has been traditionally willing to play spectator to the rampant and willful destruction of defenseless people, I hope the US will not be so inclined.  As a Christian, I believe our President and our country can and will make mistakes, but we must not, at this time, content ourselves with being idle.  We cannot ever be a perfect force of reform, but we are well able to be an active and powerful catalyst of freedom.

With the passage of time, the fruits that are borne will show what seeds were truly planted.  From nation to nation, the results may not all be the same.  Nevertheless, countries where people can freely choose their leaders may also turn out to be places where they may fully come to believe and follow Jesus Christ.