Requiem (To repose departed souls): The prayer for reconstruction
Requiem (To repose departed souls): The prayer for reconstruction
Since the 3.11 Earthquake・Tsunami and the accident of nuclear power plant hit this country, I have been praying for the departed souls of the people who lost their precious lives by this great disaster.
Cold, hunger, illness, being affected by radiation and dreadful radioactivity that cannot be seen; I have been watching and following these news flashed onto the television screen in succession with breathless anxiety.
Deep on mind I engraved chagrin of those who were deprived of their lives so suddenly!
I have no word to talk to the people who lost their loved ones and were left on their own.
We were stricken by both natural disaster and a man-caused-calamity at the same time. This is nothing but terror.
Now, all of us living in Japan must be determined to help each other desperately in order to overcome and recover from this extraordinary catastrophe. This is what we are asked for now.
For rebuilding towns and villages that will never be affected by another great disaster; location is very important. It is also necessary to provide with suitable embankments, harbour facilities and so on that will be strong enough for the disasters.
It is required to make plans and to take action in the shortest time possible.
To raise an enormous fund is one of the most urgent tasks.
Interests of the political parties and narrow-mindedness of bureaucrats, the politicians, the economic leaders and the scholars; we should put them aside and promote making very good use of men of ability!
The same thing can be said to the manner of reporting news by mass communications.
To summon up people’s energy to get over this unprecedented adversity, the authorities have to show the guiding principles of the reconstruction precisely and give us hope and definite aim!
If they show us the definite future vision of our society going without nuclear power clearly, we can take up our nerve to restore the ruined places from the depth of the most terrible condition.
Now we badly need such a politician who firmly convinces us that the Japanese Archipelago certainly has the bright future though it will take time to reach that state.
Being the island-country surrounded by sea, we have very limited area to live in safely, as it has become very clear how dangerous to live on the coastline.
Being a mountainous country, only four percent of the total area is the level ground.
In such a small area we have constructed overpopulated cities and have been using water and electricity without reserve.
And yet as for the safety measures, they are so incomplete and defective that once being hit by disaster they are surely beaten very easily.
We need to assess what are the most serious problems and how to minimize the damage by disasters, for the future generations too. Very valuable hints for that should be found in the enormous sacrifices we were forced to make this time.
We must find them and learn from them humbly.
Actually, by levelling mountains, destroying natural environment without consideration, and reclaiming land from the sea to convert them into towns, we have been creating awful dangers.
Volcanoes in Kyushu area (southern part of Japan) are now active.
Reliable prediction and precaution for volcanic eruptions are also necessary.
Our country is surrounded by the Japan Deep, and because of its special topography the earth crust movements become easily active. We have been forced to live on such kind of lands.
Not to change the subject, but please forgive my talking about the personal matters a little bit. In March this year I became 78 years old.
Besides suffering from cirrhosis of the liver for many years, now six bolts of titanium are put in the cervical vertebrae, both the right kidney and the gallbladder are removed, and a catheter is inserted in the left ureter.
Above all, last year I got malignant lymphoma again.
It is no wonder if I have already finished my life, but I never give up my life because I know to live itself be my very important role in this world.
Even with such serious illnesses as mentioned, I sincerely hope that if I can rack my brains, or if I can make good use of me somehow mentally and spiritually, for reconstructing our country.
As a matter of fact I had experienced big earthquakes for four times in my life.
The first experience was in Hokkaido (northern part of Japan), when a big tsunami hit there because of Chile Earthquake.
One day in early morning, I was asked by the landlady of the inn I stayed to observe the sea because it seemed to be unusual, and I ran to the beach.
Arriving there, I saw the bed of the sea spreading towards the far-away offshore. It was more than abnormal.
Several villagers were picking and gathering sea shells and sea weeds around there on the shore.
Then, I heard the roaring of the sea as if it was shaking the earth.
Then, I saw an unearthly white enormous wave like a big wall was pouncing on us from far beyond the offshore.
“Run! Tsunami’s coming!” no sooner had everybody shouted all at once than the first wave came to my knees.
I clung to a steel-frame of a construction tower nearby, and fought against the terrible power of raging waves around my waist not to be swallowed up. The first wave went; I at once climbed up to an elevated place and was saved.
However, I had to witness houses being swept off and swallowed up in an instance. I also saw a little child trying to get back his school-satchel disappeared in the wave in a moment.
I couldn’t help just shouting helplessly. I was overwhelmed by the scene: the last day; the end of this world! Even now I from time to time am troubled by this scene in bad dream.
When the Niigata Earthquake occurred, I worked there in Niigata City as an architect.
It was before I became an evangelist, and as an architect I really tried my best in reconstructing the city.
Fifteen years ago the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake occurred. Some of my relatives and of our church people lived there and were victimized. A few days after it occurred I drove to the place with as many materials as possible on my car and with some money to support them. I arrived at the place with great difficulties by getting the help from one of my disciples.
That traumatic scene was also engraved deep on mind.
On the way back home from Brazil, I also witnessed the Los Angels Earthquake by accident.
And this time the unprecedented great disaster occurred.
The seriousness of the nuclear power plant’s accident is increasing day by day.
The diffusion of radioactivity that cannot be seen jeopardizes the existence of the whole Japanese Archipelago.
It even involves the whole world in danger.
All of a sudden Japan comes to bear its heavy cross!
As of today the toll of the quake-tsunami death and missing becomes nearly twenty eight thousand.
On the other hand, in some of the victimized places, though partially, people already have started to reconstruct fishing ports and port facilities!
So many people summon up their courage for reconstructing the struck places being drowned at sea. I feel deeply touched by their action and cannot help respecting them.
I believe in the potentialities that our nation must possess to reconstruct this country properly.
Lastly, I sincerely pray that the souls of the people who lost their lives in this disaster may remain peaceful forever in heaven where there is neither death nor pitiful separation any more✝
Pastor AIKAWA Hideo of AINOKI Church and all the people from our Church
March 29 2011