|Jenny and Soren on the daily walk under cherry blossoms to morning exercise.|
I’ve Been Thinking
The participants received their ARI bikes this week. Ban-san has been working diligently to get the bikes tuned up, aired up, and paired up with a participant. Some participants have never learned to ride a bike so they spent a day or two teaching each other.
In the spring sunshine, John a fellow Anglican Church member from Malawi rode past me. The joy of riding a bike was clearly expressed in the wide smile on his face. He waved to me and said, “Now all days are Sundays!” John also helped in the chicken houses this week. The participants are quickly rotating through each section of Foodlife work on the farm so that they can become familiar with it all. One night John and I were feeding the chickens the silage that was harvested and fermented last fall. He saw the way they flocked to feeding troughs and began eagerly picking through it. John said, “Oh they are happy! For them, all days are Christmas.”
|My friend John from Malawi.|
I have been thinking this week that this must be true for animals. They have such beautifully simple consciousness, unclouded by ego or personal identity. When they receive the food they need to continue living, no time is wasted in prayer. Their whole life is prayer continuous. When I first arrived here I wrote a poem from this idea which you can see on the blog where I post my writing.
I have been thinking about how easily John can declare every day a Sunday, or a Christmas. I’ve been noticing that the cross we used in our Easter worship service is still on the back porch of Koinonia, as if we are still there celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Since coming to the land of the rising sun I’ve been thinking about how the sun is always rising somewhere. It is also always setting somewhere. Since before the beginning of life on earth, up to the time of Jesus, and on through to this very moment, the sun has been on one continuous rising and one continuous setting. The line between today and tomorrow only exists in our minds. If we want to, we can do away with that division and accept the presence of “past” and “future.”
What would this mean for me as a Christian? I think it means trying to be an animal, or rather, to cultivate a mind that is unclouded by ego, so that I may see every day as Christmas. In every breath I should constantly meditate upon the birth of Christ, the life of Christ, the death of Christ, and his Resurrection. When I see the cross on the back porch or hung around someone’s neck, it should be a reminder that these things should be cycling through my mind.
Like a Wagon Wheel
For our very first community event with the participants we went to a park on Friday to view the Sakura (cherry blossoms). We ate a picnic lunch of Japanese curry. Frisbees flew. Football (soccer) was played. Somersaults were done. We soaked our feet in a chilly artificial creek. People strummed the guitar and hit the drums. It was a wonderfully joyous occasion.
|Ed (Philippines) and Matheus (Brazil)|
|Cembel and Zabet from Myanmar|
|Uncle Timo, pretending to play guitar|
|Martin from Malawi|
|Chathuri (Sri Lanka) and Sigiro (Indonesia)|
That night the new staff member David, led a bonfire. Everyone shared songs from their country. The US volunteers sang “Wagon Wheel,” by Old Crow Medicine Show.
Bike Tour But Rain
|Enet (Malawi), Mitzu (Japan), Matheus, and Sangita (India) in Cainz Home|
Welcome to the Dorms
On Saturday night the mens dorm and the women's dorm each had their own welcoming party. They discussed the rules that they would try to live by so that they could live together. They also ate lots of junk food and sang lots of song.
We are excited about our plans next week. We will meet up with fellow YASCer, Katie Young, again. Together we'll travel to Tokyo to meet our boss, David Copley. But before we can leave we'll be kicking off this ARI season officially with the commencement service for this term.
You'll hear about it all next week.
Until then, may all days be Sundays for you.
Doug and Jenny Knight