When the Angel came

December begins. I remember last year I drew one picture to describe the life and blessing of Jesus every day until Christmas day. I got up at 4AM every morning for drawing. What a fun!

This year I’m afraid it might be a bit too tough, because I might have consumed all my artistic resources for the days. But I’ll do my best.

How blessing this year is, that it is the first day of December and the first Sunday of Advent!

Last year I learned the event of Joseph and Mary is a very important.
Joseph must have been hurt and confused when he knew his fiancée had a baby which was not his. But he never abused Mary for that reason, but wanted to be apart from her quietly. And he finally accepted her as his wife.
Neither Mary would have been simply happy to be the mother of the Messiah, but been also confused and anxious.
But both believed the good news that was brought from the Angel, and yielded to God all that would happen to them.

This year I heard the pastor of our Church in Toyama preach on this event.
It was surprising that he told, “The sweet dream of wedding, which both Joseph and Mary had enjoyed, was completely turned over when the angel Gabriel came.”
“What the angel told to Mary was, in short, that God wanted to use her womb to bring the Messiah to people”
“They must not have fully understood God’s will. Especially Joseph might have been left hurt. Nevertheless they counted only on the good news for the Messiah and did just as the Angel said.”

The pastor said, in the beginning of every Advent, he thinks of Joseph’s feeling.

Then Today’s picture is how Joseph and Mary reacted when the Angel visited each of them.

Joseph is still in confusion and trying to make his thought in order. Mary is also wondering, but she might have been thinking a bit more positively, because the Angel congratulated her directly. And the Angel might have had a complexed feeling, because he had the mission to bring the message unbelievable to people, especially disturbing to Joseph, the son of David.

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The First Anniversary

Well, I was long absent from this blog. I was a bit busy – I had enough time and thing to write here, but I was short of time and idea to draw pictures! I wanted to give a picture when I wrote here, so I was waiting for an idea…

But today’s the first anniversary for my baptism. How can I wait for writing my gratefulness to God and people?

As a matter of fact, I have recently drawn one picture. But this time I had a difficulty to explain about it.
Today, I show it here.

It’s the picture of lamenting people in the Bible, wearing rough clothes, sitting on the dusts and throwing them on their heads.

You might find strange that I show a tragic picture on my celebrating day. But I think lamenting is the way that the Lord gave us, when we are fallen in human conflicts.

When you are insulted by someone, can you really love him or pray for him from the true heart? Can you theologically reason yourself, why other people in the world lose their lives and suffer, whereas we do not? Isn’t there some time that you can’t stand your own failure or defects?

At such time, we can lament in front of God. I might have spent the first year only with the beginner’s enthusiasm. Next year my belief might meet with more conflict, inducement or other obstructions. Then I will just lament instead of getting angry or pretend to be reasonable.

Together

Soon comes the first anniversary of my baptism, on 25th November.
Earlier I often had tears when I prayed and sang to God, moved by emotion, which was unable to explain.
Nowadays I have been much settled mentally and seldom find tears in the church.
But it was what happened the other day: we were singing a modern praise song. As a matter of fact, I don’t like modern songs as much as traditional hymns. But when I came to the lyric:

I thank the Lord Jesus, who stayed and cried together with me, when I was in sorrow.

Tears came up to my eyes and I could not stop them.
Therefore, I started to draw the image, that the Lord Jesus is together with a crying person.

This is the person.

Then how I draw Jesus?

I didn’t imagine Him sitting together with the man.
If I am this man…my mind will be occupied with my own sorrow and anxiety, and could not find Him close to me.
And I imagine, Jesus would not force me to look at Him. He would just stay there but never leave there.

While thinking as above, I began to imagine the figure, or even the shadow of the Lord, not with a solid shape of a man, but soft, thin, fluidic like ether, floating around the crying man.

That is our Lord.

Then the color? man is grey, in the midst of two strong impression, white and black.
I often paint the figure for Jesus black, to give Him the strongest impression. But in this figure, I dont’t need that.
I thought about what color to use for Him, and gave up. OK, I may will paint Him as pretty as I like.
I used the three colors, typical of Japanese traditional sweets.

Water and Wine

“Unless one is born if water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
This saying of Jesus described in John 4:5 sounds me vivid. I imagine, if human body were composed of water, where his spirit resided as a small particle of light.

On painting the humble picture above, I did not use transparency effect of the painting software. All colors have full opacity. I selected myself each of the color within the human outline so as to be somewhat lighter than the corresponding color in the background: I have poor knowledge of painting and always wondered how painters in the world could produce various transparency of water or glass with opaque oil painting pigments, and made an attempt on mocking them.

Back to the topic of water described in the Gospel of John. The remarkable event is described in the chapter 2, that Jesus turned the several big jars of water into wine. It is written as “the first miracle” that Jesus did in front of people.

Why did He do such a magic-show-like performance as His first miracle? To supply people with a tasty drink? I don’t think so. Instead I find it quite symbolic, explaining His life on the earth.

Water symbolises as above birth of a man, whereas wine does, as is widely known, blood of His. Jesus might have shown that He would soon turn His life into blood-shedding death, with His own power, in order to bless people.

I imagine the water in the Jars has not simply been replaced with the same volume of wine. It might have been turned like a chemical reaction in the flask and the center of the reaction might have been the Spirit having resided at the bottom of the vessel.

What shall we do?

Among the description of John the Baptist in the four Gospels, I like the one in the Luke best.

“If you find something to be improved in yourself and start to improve it, that’s repentance” so told the woman pastor, about whom I wrote in the last post. “Jesus has never told anyone that he/her must repent on such-and-such. Nor John the Baptist. See the chapter 3 in the gospel of Luke. John told the tax collectors and the solders what to do, which was because they themselves asked him and John just answered.”

So I think no one could tell others “You must(not) do such-and-such, or it is anti-Christ.” It is only Jesus Himself to tell who is for or against Him.

On the other hand, you must be keen to what would be the sin in yourself. Or your will be (so painful in mind as if you were) thrown in the eternal fire.

But – I think it is important – a man cannot always tell exactly what is his sin by himself. Very often you might blame yourself unnecessarily. So the best way would be to ask always to the Lord in your prayer, “what shall we do?”

I like the scene of Luke 4:14 very much. The armed man is explained by a half-naked prophet to be content with his salary.

Eve’s Failure

Last night I talked with a woman pastor.
She has a distinct point of view on the Bible. Precisely, more than a single point. There were so many things that I found interesting in her talking, too many to write here now, so I will quote one thing.

If we read the Bible, we women will soon be beaten by the sin of Eve, eating the forbidden Fruit and let his husband eat one too. We might think it heavy as if this woman have owed all responsibility that mankind has been shuttered out of the Paradise.

Yet she told us, “If God had really hated Eve to eat the Fruit, He could have stopped her. God makes the history, in which people sometimes obey Him, sometimes not. How about thinking that God had sent Adam and Eve to the new World from the Garden? ”

That’s wonderful. Yet I still think that Eve had made a mistake. She was too easily talked out by the snake. She should have asked him, “So why don’t you eat it by yourself?”

Website of the Church

I gratefully present you the new website for our church:

Link to the website of Shonandai Baptist Church, Kanagawa, Japan

We have thought it nowadays more and more important to improve a website for our church: We have had a simple page only with the address and the timetable, yet we have seen “considerable” amount of people who have visited us on the basis of it.

In the case of our church in Japan, where very few people think about God, we have two or three new visitors in a Year, therefore that “two or three” are quite “considerable.” : a certain value created from almost zero.

And they might need an urgent rescue of their hearts. It’s my own experience. If I had not found the telephone number of the church and asked them if I could go, and been welcome…I can’t imagine how my life were now.

As it is not a commercial website to acquire customers, we don’t write like “come to our church, you’ll have a lot of fun!” but we’d like to show how we are in the church, and how and when one can see us if he would like to. The address and the time table are still the most important information. In addition, we show a detailed navigation of the way to the church. For example:


Which to go after you came through the gate of the station.

And the verses from the Bible. we have quoted as many of them as possible overall the webpages. Possibly only by meeting with the words of God here, one could be saved!
And it rescued indeed us from being tired of page building routine. While we are questing the words from Bible, our hearts were recharged.

It has yet many to fix, but we shall not overcook it in our local HDD.
Whereas we are much comforted by finishing upload, we are faced with the next trial: release is one thing, update is another.