Louis, volcanoes and public baths

♫ ”I see trees of green … I see skies of blue … and I think to myself, what a wonderful world”  ♬

So goes the line in Louis Armstrong’s ‘immortal’ song. I was thinking the same to myself last week. I was at a joint OMF / JECA (Japan Evangelical Churches Association) conference last week – a great time for getting to know some of the Japanese pastors serving the Lord in Hokkaido. It was a beautiful setting in the mountains, spectacular views of a nearby (dormant!) volcano, green trees, blue skies… There was also typical Japanese hot spring baths called onsen. I was able to have a soak while looking up at the clear starlit sky.

I was reminded that God made the world good, very good.

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Gen 1:31)

And yet it has been marred by human sin (“cursed is the ground because of you.” Gen 3:17), and is awaiting its renewal as a new creation (“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” Rev 21:1) and groaning in the anticipation of glory.

19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Rom 8:19-22)

The national religion in Japan is Shinto, which some would describe as essentially nature worship. As a nation which has very high regard for nature, there is great need for working out a solid theology of creation. So it was very encouraging to meet a pastor doing just that. On the conference last week I had an interesting chat with one of the younger Japanese pastors who did his thesis on the effect of human sin on creation. My own theological thinking about creation is pretty superficial, so I hope to learn more from him.

  • Please pray for God to have mercy on this people that they may learn to love and worship the Creator, rather than the created. (Rom 1:19-25)
  • Pray that we as Christians would be distinctive in the way we view and treat the world God has made for us to look after (Gen 1:28)
Yoteizan – the volcano we had great views of

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