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Devastation seen through a wall. Photo by Jeffrey S. Johnston

In a time of chaos, it's a kairos moment. 

chaos , n.

  • complete disorder and confusion
  • the formless matter supposedly present before the creation of the universe.

kairos , n. a propitious moment for decision or action; (Greek), literally "opportunity"

I’m borrowing the name of fellow A2 missionary Dorrie Takazawa’s blog, "Chaos and Kairos” because these words accurately sum up this overwhelming situation in Japan.

Earthquake damage in Japan

A Time of Complete Chaos

Looking at the news reports, you can see the chaos everywhere.  Though the Japanese government has meticulously planned for and methodically prepared for how to deal with natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis, this double whammy is of the scope that it has always feared.

The most powerful quake in Japan’s history has brought a devastating tsunami (tidal wave).  Villages gone. Ships on land and homes on the sea. A nuclear power plant explosion; fires, people stranded and hundreds (probably thousands) of dead and missing.  Aftershocks keep coming to remind us that it may not even be over yet.  With rescue and recovery still underway, rebuilding infrastructure and, more importantly, lives must wait.

There is complete chaos.

Kairos: A Time of Opportunity

Yet, it is my firm belief that we are observing a kairos moment in history—the history of Japan and the history of Christ’s Church in Japan.  It's a God-moment . . . a time of decision, of action, of opportunity.

When I was first trained by Asian Access in Tokyo in 1987, the Japanese pastor leading our ministry here (Rev. Murakami) warned, “We are currently in the 10th month of a nine-month pregnancy!” —meaning that Japan was long overdue for “The Big One.”

Tsunami Triggered by Quake

Twenty-four years later, the quake was finally birthed—late and large. . . and brought an even deadlier twin after it.

We are standing at an historical kairos moment.  This is a time that did not take God by surprise, and a time to which many in Japan have pointed.

With suicide at an all-time high, the economy at a depressing low, family breakdowns commonplace, and the moral compass directionless, Japanese people seem to be without hope.  It’s quite obvious to us living here.  Our missionaries have seen this in the society as a whole, and in individual’s lives.

Now this.  More chaos.

Potential Nuclear Crisis

The tsunami has wreaked havoc with Fukushima's nuclear reactor on the east coast of Japan. At this point, we don't know exactly what trouble this may bring, so we are monitoring this situation closely

What Might Be

But could this be a kairos moment? Could this time of disaster be an unparalleled opportunity?  An opportunity for God to bring in a harvest?  An opportunity for the Japanese to forget their pursuit of affluence to finally and honestly contemplate the deeper meaning of life?  Could it be an opportunity for a great display of Christ’s love through his Bride, the Church in Japan?

I believe so.  This is indeed kairos moment. . . a propitious time of decision and action.

Will the Church in other places rally to help deliver hope and practical help to the Japanese and do so through the Japanese Church?  We certainly hope so.

If you’re looking for a way to help as you watch the chaos play out on your screens, pray that the Church would seize this kairos moment to show the love of Christ.  Pray that people would be helped and loved in real ways.

Amen. Let it be so.

A2 missionaries planning how to respond to Japan's tsunami.

Asian Access missionaries and Japanese pastors in a strategy session planning how we can respond practically. We will first deliver aid through our extensive network of churches, as well as participate personally in relief effortsin cooperation with C.R.A.S.H. (Christian Relief Assistance, Support, and Hope).

More info:

  • Asian Access has set up the Japan Tsunami Relief Fund (https://asianaccess.org). Gifts will be channeled through various networks of partner churches.  Our own missionaries plan to be involved in actual work, as well.
  • Photo credit: cover photo by Jeffrey S. Johnston, copyright © 2011. All rights reserved.

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