Remembering the lost, the outcast and the pilgrims

(Leviticus 19:33-34) – “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

(Hebrews 13:2) – Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

 

The most recent earthquake in Osaka have brought to light a pervasive social pattern in Japan which the current administration is still trying to make amends

The same sets of issue which affected Gospel outreach as well

 

Formalities

Protocols

Controlled Communications

Separations between Local, Outsiders and Foreigners

 

People in Japan never forget 2011 Tōhoku earthquake.

What got stuck in our memories was not just the magnitude, but the responses and communications or rather the lack of!

Volunteers, community groups, and NGOs were filling in the gaps as first respondents while bureaucrats go round and round in their own honorifics Japanese languages!

Back then the PM Naoto Kan was pressured to resign, which he did with a proper Japanese bow.

People’s rightful expectation for clear communications and quick responses to disaster relieve had turned into anger, resentment and loss of confidence.

The US government was the first among foreign embassies to fly in their chartered planes to evacuate their citizens.

The Japanese themselves noted how problems could have been solved without all the rigid protocols and formalities.

 

Are we faced with the same problem among the churches inside Japan?

 

Formalities

Rigid Protocol

Controlled Communications

Separations between Local, Outsiders and Foreigners

 

Earthquakes are life and death situation.

People are stuck in circumstances when moral support is vital.

 

Communications is most important to provide such hope and encouragement.

 

In time of earthquake and emergencies, if church leaders don’t even message and maintain contacts with members, this is not acceptable.

People assume you are dead!

And when people do see you again, one might ask “did you come back from the dead?”

 

The church is a spiritual community where communications and interactions are keys to survival and growth!  

 

In times of emergencies people may response according to their habits.

Japanese societies have a long standing pervasive predicament with discrimination which had become social norm they themselves feel entangled in.

Such prejudice applies not just to foreigners of different nationalities, but also to those born and raised inside Japan with their own issues with speech manners, behaviors, class separations and social status.

This year April, Maizuru city mayor Ryozo Tatami had “a taste of his own cultural medicine when he collapsed while giving a speech inside the sumo ring.

There are people inside Japan who have had it worst –

 

The Burakumin have been the most discriminated and ostracized till today … and a lot of foreigners do not even know they exist!

 

Are the churches doing the same? Flowing along with the culture of discrimination?

 

Formalities

Rigid Protocol

Controlled Communications

Separations between Local, Outsiders and Foreigners

 

The Gospel is not exclusive to one race

Over-emphasis and preferences for one particular race only will further enhance isolationism which made the people think social discrimination is normal even among themselves!

Japan’s Christianity has remained below 1% and there is a direct relationship with serious lack of Japanese missionaries reaching out to other nations and nationalities.

Nations that experience bumper harvest practice sending forth abundances of missionaries to foreign lands and interacting with cross-cultures activities.

 

The way to effective Gospel outreach and to ensure permanent fruits that will remains is to train and equip the locals to be outward looking, reaching beyond their own race and nationalities, breaking their own social norm.

 

Mission outreach must avoid any platform to exclusiveness for a certain race and negligence to the lost, the outcast and the pilgrims.

 

(Leviticus 19:33-34) – “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. 

(Hebrews 13:2) – Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

 

Wherever the Gospel is preached, social justice will be addressed. This is the very reason there are countries that banned the preaching of the Gospel while other restrict via domestic laws and culture.

There are cultures that promote good manners and politeness to the extend social-injustice advocates are put to silences and marginalized.

 

(Proverbs 28:4-5) – Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive against them. Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.

 

Effective Gospel outreach will put us in conflict against social-injustice.

 

In-His-Service

David Z

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