the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flower Day

Every UCCJ church had "Flower Day" 花の日 this Sunday.  Everyone brings flowers to church, we bring them upfront and bless them, and then we send the flowers out to people in the community who are less fortunate. 

Although I've never heard of it in the States, evidently this tradition started in Massachusetts sometime in the late 1800's.

Today at school, chapel was also "Flower Day" 花の日礼拝.  Students brought flowers to chapel in the morning.  After school, students went out to the community and delivered flowers to people.

The junior high chaplain, three students and I went to an assisted living home for the elderly.  On the way there, the chaplain quizzed the students on what they would say when they delivered the flowers あいさつ.  Basically the students were going to say, "We're from Seiai.  We appreciate you.  Here are some flowers for you." 

I asked the chaplain what the purpose of Flower Day was 先生、花の日礼拝の目的は何ですか?  He said to thank (God) and thank our neighbor.  やっぱり、感謝します。そしてほかの人を感謝します。I said, wouldn't it be nice to tell the people that we thank God for them.  じゃあ、その人たちにそのことを教えばいいでしょう。He said no, religion is still a scary thing in Japan, so we should just be vague about it.  There's a Bible verse on the card.  まあ、やっぱり、日本の中で宗教はまだ怖いものですからあいまい法がいいです。カードで聖書があります。

If we can't even say the name of the Lord to other people, we have a problem.  If we are depending only on a Bible verse that is written on a card that people will probably glance at and throw away, we have a problem.  And if we follow that line of reasoning, we shouldn't even talk about God to the students because it might still be a scary topic for them too.  And we shouldn't even teach the Bible, we should just give them one and hope they read it. 

Any one can deliver flowers.  We should be able to TELL people WHY we are delivering flowers.  We should be able to tell people WHY we are different.  This is one of the reasons why no one is coming to our churches or schools - because we never tell them about it!  But it's easier this way.  Just take away the meaning and keep the formalities. 

Some Christians from other churches tell me my school is just Christian form with no meaning.  And I try to tell them that's not true.  But on days like this really make me wonder if it's not true.


Blogger Appelgates said...

AMEN! How frustrating it is! God grant us the patience (cause i'm runnin' low).

6/17/2009 7:23 PM  

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