The earthquake and tsunami that devastated Sendai, Japan, last March continues to reverberate in our minds and hearts, just as the painful task of recovery continues for the Japanese people. On World Communion Day this October, we remembered this suffering and struggle for restoration in solidarity with the people of Japan. My wife Sylvia created an installation composed of fabrics recalling the waves, pieces of reuse, and dormant stalks symbolizing a life still to rise from the destruction. She constructed a mobile of 150 origami cranes that we suspended over the altar, each crane representing 100 of the known dead, which surely will reach some twenty thousand people. The cranes, a symbol of peace and hope, move slowly and quietly with the air above the altar.
In response to this moving memorial I composed a poem, which I share here. In addition, Sylvia led our Roundtable Worship in creating our own origami cranes as a work of prayer, meditation, and reflection about the arduous movement from tragedy to transformation.
when water stole our lives
and slunk back to the darkness of the sea,
leaving dolls, refrigerators, calendars, and cars,
whole houses in a pyre
waiting for the burning….