A message from Japan, September 3, 2017

September 3, 2017

Comments from Dr. Tsunao Oyama, Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Hokusei Gakuen School System.  (Hokusei Gakuen means North Star Academy).

To the members of Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church:

It is a great honor for me to be here and to have a chance to express our thanks to you, which we should have done much earlier.  This year we celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Hokusei Gakuen School System, one of the Protestant Christian Mission schools in Japan.

Back in January 1887, Sarah C. Smith, a Presbyterian missionary from Elmira, NY, opened a tiny school for seven girls in snowy Sapporo, Japan.  Today it has grown into a system consisting of one junior high school, three senior high schools, one junior college, one university and one graduate school with a total enrollment of about 6,000 students. Continue reading

Patient Persistence

Matthew 15:21-28 (8.20.17)        It is another story of a woman interrupting Jesus. Like the woman at the well in John’s gospel, she is not Jewish. And both encounters take place outside of Israel, when Jesus has crossed the line into unwashed territory. Matthew tells us this woman is Canaanite… part of the people who had opposed the Israelites in the long ago battle over the real estate we call the Holy Land. When Mark tells the same story, he identifies her as a Syrophoenician woman, a Greek. Both are clear that she is not a Jew, but a Gentile. She is from the regions of Tyre and Sidon, coastal cities on the outside northern edges of Israel, in what was called Canaan, then Syria, then Phoenicia, named for the purple dye found in that part of the world. She is a Gentile living in Gentile territory.
What is Jesus doing there in the first place? I don’t think it is his summer vacation on the Mediterranean coast. Continue reading