Saturday, December 03, 2011

Sermon: Advent 2B

“Prepare the way of the Lord! Make the Lord’s path straight!” says John the Baptist.

I know what he means. In my first week here in Tokyo I decided to go for a walk, to get to know the area a little bit better. It’s hard to get to know a place from a subway car or from a seat on a train.

Still in Alberta mode, where the streets are a grid, I wandered from the office to, what I assumed was the area of the Tokyo Dome. It didn’t look that far on the map, so I charted my route, thinking that it was just a quick north east from the front door of the church.

Well, I kept walking, and walking, and walking, and walking. And walking. And no Tokyo Dome anywhere in sight. I looked on my map and none of the street names were listed.

Since I had a general idea of where I was I tapped on the compass on my iPhone, and I knew I had to go south west to get to where I wanted to be. So I followed the compass for quite a few blocks.

After walking for another hour or so, I thought to myself, “This is crazy. I really gotta figure out where I am.”

So I stepped into a 7-11 and asked the clerk, “Tokyo Dome?”

She looked at me funny as if to say, “Really?”

So I asked again, “Tokyo Dome”?

She looked at me quizzically and pointed. I looked in the direction she was pointing, and THERE it was staring down at me! I didn’t see it because I was concentrating on the streets and not the buildings.

I tried to figure out how I could have gotten so far from my mark. After all I had stayed on one street. But then I realized that the streets weren’t straight. And apparently they weren’t MEANT to be straight. I’ve been told that the streets here in Tokyo were built in such a way as to confuse the enemy.

And I say, Job well done! While I hope I’m not the enemy, the streets sufficiently confused me. And still do. I still get lost trying to find places. And it doesn’t help that the streets were designed for people to get lost in them.

You have to be from here to really get the streets. Or at least you have to be here a long time to understand how to get around without getting lost.

I wonder if that’s what it’s like to be Christian here in Japan. After all, Christians are a VERY small part of the population. Christianity isn’t indigenous to Japan and hasn’t been here very long historically. Christianity is still trying to find its way around the streets, and not get lost searching for its final destination.

“Prepare the way of the Lord,” the John the Baptist says, “Make the Lord’s path straight.”

The people of God known as Israel knew what it was like to try to navigate the streets in a strange land.

Some have said that the...(whole thing here)

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