Grace and Forgiveness in Japan

Posted on February 24, 2011 by Global Mission Support

Saturday, February 12, 2011, Japan Calligraphy from ELCA missionary in Japan

Christine Eige, ELCA missionary in Japan, recently experimented with calligraphy.  She described the painstaking process:

As I practiced, many times I wished that I had a delete or undo button; one small mistake could mess up the whole picture, and that really started stressing me out. I would start out fine but inevitably make a mistake, get even more frustrated, and then make more mistakes. Finally, I paused long enough to examine the word in front of me: megumi (grace). Then the light bulb above my head suddenly lit up. I was trying so hard to do my calligraphy perfectly, but that’s not how grace works. Grace is God’s free gift of forgiveness that is not based on anything we do. God looks at our mistakes and says, `Of course you can have another chance; Jesus died to take away those sins and mistakes of your past.’

ELCA missionary Christine Eige

ELCA missionary Christine Eige

In December, Christine visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and wrote this poem:


A flash of light and a booming noise—
Heat and radiation devouring all in its way.
Flesh and clothes melting into one,
parched throats gasping for air,
seeking relief, but instead, finding black rain.
Radiation running rampant through bodies,
vital organs failing one after another,
and so many beyond recovery or care.
A whole world turned upside down,
yet the suffering only just beginning.
“Papa, please help me!
Make the pain go away.
Where are you?
I need you.
Don’t leave me this way.
Where are my little sister, my mama, and friends?
What happened to my home?
When will the nightmares finally end?”
God looks down from heaven,
his heart broken in two.
Jesus opens his arms wide saying,
“Forgive them, Father,
for they know not what they do.”

Christine Eige is an ELCA missionary teaching English in Japan.


2 Responses to 'Grace and Forgiveness in Japan'

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  1. Luther Kistler said,

    on February 24th, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Hi, I was in Hiroshima for the first time in 1949 with the Army of Occupation. The next time was with my family when we were missionaries at Musashino Church in Tokyo. It was cherry blossom time and many people were sitting on blankets under cherry trees. When they saw us they invited us to be with them. It was a wonderful wam feeling of forgiveness and togetherness. One of my language teachers was a special needs person whose home was burning. His mother looked at her two children and realized she could not carry them both, so she picked up her special needs child and ran for safety while her other child died in the home.

  2. on June 21st, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    The people of Grace and Peace Lutheran in Peoria, Illinois, greet you in the name of our triune God. We have received your name as our missionary sponsorship for 2011. We are praying for you and will be using your blog to keep in touch. Grace and Peace is a small congregation of about 80 worshipers on Sunday morning. We use global music in our worship quite often. You can keep in touch with us at God’s blessing on your ministry.