Justen and I took the last day of his school spring break to do a little cultural study. A local museum/park/cultural center near our home has an open-air historical Japanese village. You are free to wander about, touch, look and explore Japan as it existed a century ago. What an incredible change this country has gone through in a relatively short period of time in its history as a nation! For Japanese citizens the lifestyle was perhaps quite normal. But I kept on thinking of the rugged change of life that Protestant missionaries from the west were met with. Once in country, there was no turning back like there might be in today's jet age. Missionaries a century ago certainly were met with their share of challenges even before attempting to evangelize in this country.
I noticed a Japanese "manji" on the doorposts of most of the historical houses in this village. I photographed it at right. Most people would associate this with Nazi Germany. Few know that the symbol actually existed centuries before this in Indian and Chinese culture, particularly in Buddhism and other eastern religions. Japan, which imported Buddhism hundreds of years ago, also began displaying the manji as a symbol of peace.
I was reminded that some Japanese homes now display a very different symbol for peace: the cross. My heart is filled with joy for these Japanese families for whom Christ made "peace through his blood, shed on the cross." Yet 99% of Japanese are unaware of this peace. Pray that this new peace symbol will be hung on the heart doors of all Japanese in a nationwide awakening.