Japan can rise again from nuclear disaster
The Judaeo-Christian world has a long tradition of eschatological hope: the belief, in the midst of present trauma and suffering, that God will supernaturally irrupt into human history and bring all things to a just fulfilment. The production of so many apocalypses provides the key to understanding the future, imminent consummation of the world - an event which is triggered by (and often equated with) the future parousia of Jesus Christ.
Such a tradition is not found in Shinto - the overwhelmingly predominant religion of the Japanese. It is an uncodified fusion of culture, history and the acquired wisdom of the ages (through the reverence of ancestors). It is more a philosophical path akin to Buddhism than a cohesive theology or doctrinal worldview. It is a disparate belief system, but ultimately one that accords with all that is good in nature.
Various photographs have been circulating the internet over recent days, drawing our attention to the 'stark' and 'surprising' similarities between the damage inflicted upon Japan by the recent tsunami and that caused by the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Quite why this should be 'surprising' is a mystery: devastation is devastation, however it's caused.
His Grace would like to inject a little hope into the bleakness of the appalling devastation and suffering the Japanese nation is presently enduring. He does this not out of insensitivity, but out of a sincere desire to encourage them in their efforts; to endure; to persist; to run the race set before them.
The photographs on the left are of Hiroshima in 1945. Those on the right are drawn from those areas devasted by the tsunami. Those that follow are of Hiroshima today.
And Hiroshima today:
In the midst of the darkest suffering and deepest pain, let your hope keep you joyful.