(my post on our team’s blog from Wednesday, September 5th)
As the hum of laughter and conversation (and sleep) fills the bus tonight on our way back to Kyoto from Osaka, my mind begins to dance through the moments of this full and rich day.
The unique tune of the famous “Nightingale Floor” of Nijo Castle continues to play its delicate music – this morning, sweet Sister Koto took a few of us in her cute little lavender cube of a car to see the historic home of the Shogun (emperor) in the 17th century where the absolutely brilliant architects built an internal security system into the floors – somehow when one walks on the premises, even with Sister Koto’s petite frame and soft step, the floor boards make a sound akin to a Nightengale’s song which then resonates throughout the halls alerting all present that someone is near – incredible!! The other element I cannot help but mention about Nijo Castle is the breathtaking intentionality of the architecture – every line correlates with another and creates such a warm and peaceful environment – I spent most of the tour with wide eyes and open mouth in awe of the art and intentionality.
After our Nijo Castle journey, we got a bit lost in the vast array of one-way streets but eventually met the rest of the group at none other than Steve Jobs’ favorite restaurant in Kyoto - respect to where respect is due since I am currently recollecting this day on my iPhone! The noodles were truly delicious, and we even got to see the private room which was reserved solely for Steve Jobs when he came to visit.
Another moment of the day, and really the trip, that I have deeply loved is the ebb and flow of dialogue which occurs during the travel between destinations or during any stolen downtime at a venue – it is this unguarded conversation that one really gets to glean the true colors of a group when they are not “on” – and I must say, I am honored to serve with this team who is the real deal – we laugh until our bellies ache but we are also unafraid to go deep and come to each other unmasked – what a gift.
And somehow this trip has whirled by as we now find ourselves rounding up our final full day. The concert tonight was powerful and the words of Pastor Yasunori sum it up best as he turned to me and said,
When everyone sang ‘Holy Ground’ in Japanese, you were one.
Truly that is what occurred tonight as the concert turned to a worship service and we all united without distinctions of American or Japanese and joined our voices claiming this Holy Ground.
Church, family, and friends – thank you for journeying with us – thank you for the deposits you have made in us that have now been sown into Japan over these last few days. It has been overwhelming and beautifully disarming to experience the endless authentic, deep, unsought gratitude our Japanese brothers and sisters express. And it seems quite clear that this is only the beginning of the story beautifully narrating a partnership between Christ Church and Japan – so we wait with eager expectancy for all that lies ahead.