the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day with the UCCJ

I just got back from the Mother's Day visit to the graves with my church.  After the regular service, there was a special trip to the Christian graveyard south of town (just across the road from 座頭石 zatoishi) .  Mostly only elderly people with family who had died went.

Interesting history.  This graveyard (墓地 bouchi) was bought and founded only 40 years ago.  That means since most of the people today were in their 60's and 70's they were 20 to 30 years old when the real estate for the graveyard was bought.  And they probably helped build it.

Before this place, the Christians were buried in the Buddhist graveyards.  Their burial was prefixed with chanting of sutras and offerings to the ancestors.  Since the Christians obviously didn't want this kind of funeral, they bought separate plots and monuments. 

In the Christian cemetery, the bodies are still cremated, but only flowers (not food or drink offerings) are put on the graves.  The large obelisk in the middle holds all the cremated remains.  On the front it says "Salt of the earth, Light of the world".  The gravestones are dedicated to families, and it looks like a name is added every time another family member dies.  This is ironic since there aren't many Christian families here anymore.  I imagine there are also a few gravestones for single Christians or Christians who were the only Christian in their family.

The worship service at the graves was similar to a regular service, it had hymns, prayers, and a short sermon.  Sometimes I worry that the order of service and traditions have become more important than the meaning itself (i.e. the saving grace found only in Jesus Christ).

Anyway, here are some pictures of the graveyard.  Have a look:

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