Monday, March 14, 2011

The Beauty of Japan....

Our services throughout the church year have focused upon the arts and the ways they intersect with what we call "spirit."

This week's topic was Beauty & Spirit. I wanted us to think about human ideas of beauty, not of nature, music, or literature, but of faces and bodies.

Last week, before we had any idea what would transpire in Japan on Friday, March 11, I asked Christopher McKnight to speak about his perspective on the topic. Chris, a hairstylist, stand-up comedian, and one of Lexington's "beautiful people," had lots to say, and he even stayed home from the Lady Gaga concert to prepare his talk! It was so heartfelt and touching. If you missed it, you missed something very, very special. I am loathe to even ask him for a copy, because the courage and intimacy with which he delivered it were key to the message.

So, when it became clear that we could not gather for worship without remembering Japan, and sending up our goodwill and love, I decided to keep the week's topic the same (we also had a guest musician, a fabulous violinist!) but to add a few moments of pensive solidarity.


We spoke into the silence the names of Japanese friends, relatives, colleagues, and acquaintances.

And then I played this slide show, in which I combined images of all the beauty the Japanese have given us: origami, Ikebana, tea ceremony, ink drawings, kimono designs, bonsai, gardens, architecture... so much more, with a single image taken on Friday, of a military rescuer carrying an old Japanese man upon his back from the rubble, an image that, for me, captured all of the hope, the humanity, compassion, and bravery these dreadful tragedies make room for.

If you missed the service and want the full effect, play Bruce Springsteen's song from THE RISING called My City of Ruins  along with the images and go through them about one every 7 seconds!

May they help you when the images of destruction threaten to overwhelm you. If there's one thing we can be pretty sure of, it is the endurance, resilience, and creativity of the people of Japan. May it prevail.