A Cultural Experience

This week has been a busy week. I am finally settled into my apartment, and just have a few more things to unpack! I am very happy to finally be settling into my own place. It’s very close to the English school/church which is very convenient. Here are a few pictures:

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The last picture is of my bedroom. It is a traditional style room with tatami floors. I usually sleep on a futon which is the Japanese word for a bed on the floor. I thought it would be uncomfortable at first, but I actually really like it! I normally put my bed mat under the Tennessee flag. You need to hang futon out on the clothesline every day to let them air out, so that’s why it’s not there.

This weekend there was a festival in Kojima. It involved moving a small, portable shrine to one of the main shrines in town. The festivities could be heard throughout town all weekend long. People banged on drums and children played wooden flutes. People dressed up according to their neighborhood and shrine. It was quite a thing to see! I saw one shrine being pulled through the street by large ropes while people shouted and encouraged each other to pull.

It reminded me of a verse I read in my sermon last week. Joshua 24:15:

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

I have often heard this verse shortened, “Choose this day who you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I’ve seen it on signs, painted in people’s houses. But, it was the middle part that struck me last week. Choose this day who you will serve, these false gods, or the one true God, the Lord. As we struggled to sing over the banging of the drums, playing of the flutes, and chanting heard throughout the town Sunday morning, I thought of this verse.

Let’s pray that Japan will choose to put away the old gods, and instead choose to serve the Lord.

 

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