The other half is ready to move forward in action, reaching out to men.
Last weekend the J3s packed up and traveled down to Nagasaki for our annual retreat. Nagasaki is a city best described in poetry. The history is so rich the air seems heavier with it. Long before World War Two, Nagasaki was a major port city.
It was the site that began the persecution of Christians in Japan with the crucifixion of 26 martyrs in February, 1597, around fifty years after Christianity first entered the country.
The youngest was six years old. Given the chance to recant and be taken off the cross, this child said, "I would rather be in heaven tomorrow where there is no suffering than remain one more day in a world where I cannot worship God." I am in awe of him.
Pic: Memorial to the 26 martyrs. Note the smaller figures who are children. The two arms reaching up behind them are a church.
Nagasaki remained open after much of Japan was completely closed to the western world. Many cities in Japan have a characteristic food, and Nagasaki is no different. Except that it's multi-cultural history shows itself. Nagasaki's food is actually Chinese, a noodle dish called Champon.
The church was harshly persecuted throughout Japan following the 16th Century. When it was legalized again in 1873, Nagasaki was one of the sites where Christians reappeared out of the woodwork, having hidden their faith for more than 200 years.
We went through China Town and the 26 Martyrs Museum and the Peace Park all in one day. At the end, the only way I could think to describe Nagasaki was: it is a city that has been washed over and over again with God's tears.
pic: Old edict forbidding Christianity displayed in the 26 Martyrs Museum