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Topic: 5.Strengthening

A bridge of fellowship across Asia

Posted by: LWF-Asia on Jan 14, 2006 – 02:37 PM | Read 1997 times

This year as members of the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church (JELC) gather to worship the Prince of Peace and sing "O Little Town of Bethlehem" at Christmas time, they will do so with a new understanding of both peace and Bethlehem.

Although Japan and Bethlehem stand at opposite ends of the vast Asian continent, there is now a new bridge that connects the two. It is the bridge of fellowship under girded by faith, which has been made visible through the visit of the Rev Dr Mitri Raheb to Japan, pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem.

Dr Raheb came to Japan at the invitation of JELC in August this year to share his ministry through lectures in Tokyo and Kyoto, and to preach at Hiroshima Lutheran Church on Sunday, August 7, the day after the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. He spoke of the great destruction, which resulted from the bombing of Hiroshima. But said he felt great hope in seeing the present day beauty of the city and people of Hiroshima. He spoke of the invasion of Palestine in 2002 and the resulting destruction. Everywhere one looked in the little town of Bethlehem there was shattered glass, broken windows, crushed doors and broken lives. The little town of Bethlehem had become a symbol of brokenness and shattered lives. Seeing this, Dr Rahed sent some of his people out to collect the shattered glass littering the streets and bring it back to the International Center located on the church grounds. It was there that they used the shattered glass to create small stained glass angels, doves, and butterflies. Thus the symbols of shattered lives were transformed into symbols of peace, hope, and resurrection. Hate is not the way to deal with destruction, but rather, God calls us to use creative love. We are called to transform our enemy into a neighbor, and help our enemies to see a potential neighbor in us.

Dr Raheb spoke too of the eight meter high wall that is being built around Bethlehem, a wall of separation. We, as Christians are called by Christ, not to build walls, but to build bridges between individuals as well as between all peoples. With the visit of Dr Raheb to Japan, the first span of a bridge between the churches in Japan and Palestine has been put into place. It is our hope that this bridge will be strengthened through the years. We pray it will bring our peoples ever closer so that we may work together for peace in the little town of Bethlehem and throughout all Asia, in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rev David Person
JELC Overseas Secretary

Note: Christmas Lutheran Church is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL)

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Re: A bridge of fellowship across Asia
What a wonderful message it is!
If you could kindly send me some of Dr. Raheb’s sermons at one of the
places in Japan, that would be wonderful. But only if there are one or
two exhist.
My family is originally from Hiroshima, but not closer to the center of it.
My birthday is August 6th, and so is my husband’s.
He is from Washington DC. I now live not too far from looking at Norad mountain
where all the command center is.
My father saw what happened in Hiroshima a day after.
He never talked about it but only once or twice recent years, but no bitterness
to anyone. Just the fact and the sad reality.
My sister’s family lives now not too far from the memorial center in
Hiroshima. I went to the museum there some years ago to have taken
my two children to witness what it was like back then.

I feel like as if I were there back then and feel the pain of all.
And the pain of all people in Bethlehem.
As much as the broken glasses were collected to make all those
beautiful new forms of creation, we will have hope to see
the peaceful world to all in Bethlehem and other places in the world.

Much thanks to Dr. Raheb and Rev. Person.

Yuko M. Gardiner

Re: A bridge of fellowship across Asia
Thank you for your comments and welcome.

You can find Dr. Raheb’s sermons on his website http://www.mitriraheb.org/

Re: A bridge of fellowship across Asia
Thank you so much for the website, Timo.
Could you kindly guide me to some websites and articles in this website
related to young children and orphans who are under hardship?
My mission is toward them and I am looking for the calling.

Much thanks,

Re: A bridge of fellowship across Asia
Thanks. We do not have much articles on this site related to young children and orphans who are under hardship. This page is mainly news from Lutheran Churches in Asia and stories from the ministries connected to them.

I guess the best way is that you write an article about your ministry and I believe Sally will publish it on this site. And you can ask people to write comments on your article or you can include your email for fats connection.

When you log-in you can see "Submit news" link on the left under ALN menu. Click on that link and write your article in a form. (Or copy paste from word processor). Pay attention there is one box "Lead in" for the short text appearing on the front page and next box for the text visible after you click "Read more" link. We will select a proper category but you can select one suitable.

If you need any help please email me to the webmasters address you find at the footer of this page.

Re: A bridge of fellowship across Asia
Thank you so much, Timo for your kind suggestions.
I will follow your advice, and try learning how to do it
as you explained to me. I am new to this system, but I will
learn after all.
I will let you know, if I am in trouble following the system
to put my article.

Again, much thanks.

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