Holy Peace Day message from Japan

By Rev. Yamakita Nobuhisa, Moderator
The United Church of Christ in Japan

By Rev. Yamakita Nobuhisa, Moderator
The United Church of Christ in Japan

This year Holy Peace Day has an even greater significance to us since it falls on the 60 year anniversary of the end of World War II. This day not only holds greater meaning for us because it marks a historical milestone. This year, we have seen Article 9 of our Peace Constitution, which guarantees that we shall never again go to war, tragically amended for the worse. Additionally, the Fundamental Law of education that we hold dear has been flouted, along with the reintroduction of the controversial Hinomaru flag in schools. Individual freedoms have been further violated by forcing school students to sing Kimigayo, our jingoistic national anthem. The Prime Minister's visits to Yasukuni Shrine to worship the war dead and a lack of understanding of Japan's historical blunders have alienated and caused distrust amongst our closest neighbors, China and Korea. In this context, where our aims at peaceful living are constantly violated, honoring Holy Peace Day takes on far greater importance.

While we are inclined to think that we must protect the peace ourselves, we must realize that the fruits of peace are actually safeguarding us instead. I quote from Philippians 4: 7, "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Ever supported by the peace of God, we are emboldened to face present day issues that disregard the importance of peace. Even if we seek to protect the peace through protest movements, such actions are not only limited to so called resistance and opposition movements. True peace comes about when our hearts and minds are guarded by God's peace, and we are called to do works that bring about peace. Let us awaken to the truth that the worship of God and being sent to spread the Gospel leads us directly into works of peace.