From Afar, But Close to the Heart
“I am not living in America right now, but not a day has gone by these past 3 months that I haven’t felt a strong physical and emotional toll about what is happening and I continue to pray so much for our country and for the world…”
I (Joan) read these words from one of our LCMS missionaries on social media the other week; it reflected the reality for many of us missionaries far from home. In fact, until recently, I myself have found it difficult to write to you because of the distress of it all.
So, what has it been like? Dan and I watched throughout the days (your late afternoon and night in the States) as events unfolded there, from the gut-wrenching video of George Floyd’s death to streets convulsed with protests followed by riots. Watching the live newscasts those early days in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area was especially frightening because our three children and their families call it home (also our home of twenty-six years before moving to Japan); it touched all of them in different ways, but has been particularly hard for our son-in-law, a police officer, and his family. We pray for wisdom in the days ahead as our country addresses the many factors fueling protests and unrest. Peaceful protests have also taken place here in Tokyo, but have been quite small.
And how do we understand and move forward ourselves as Christians? We have appreciated words from our LCMS president that point us to God’s Word and our Lutheran Confessions about sin, justice and action. You can read President Harrison’s June 2nd statement in its entirety, but I will share two verses from a passage he quotes in his conclusion (and which will be our guide):
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony… And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:14,17 ESV).