The Gospel of Noodles

Soo…… after my several week rage at the state of world affairs, today I’d like to tell you a sweet little tale about God and his work in Japan

I heard this on our visit to Japan this last July.  One of the men, who is a marvelous Christian and a pastor, heard it from his pastor.

It seems that in the 1950’s street evangelists were the modus operandi for getting out the word of God.  You’ll remember (at least some of you) that it was right after the war and Japan was in a pretty depressed state, both physically and mentally.  If you had electricity, you’d be lucky to have a radio and certainly not a TV.  There was little money to waste on frivolous things like movies (picture shows) and the like, so people standing in the street proclaiming something were sure to bring a crowd.

But not just that, the Japanese were starving for the truth.  They had ‘believed’ that their Emperor was a god, only to hear in his surrender to the Allies that he, by his own admission, was not god at all.  Incidentally, that was the very first time anyone had ever heard his voice, and it came this time over the radio.  He, as Emperor, was and is, even today, almost never seen, except perhaps on New Years Day when he and the Empress wave to the masses from the balcony of their palace.

And so my friend’s pastor was a new Christian and was happy to tell people about it.  He would stand on the street for hours shouting out the Good news of salvation to the lost Japanese.  Sometimes the response was dismal, especially if the grownups were busy with the business of recovering their homes, lives, and the like.

Sometimes he only had some scruffy boys and girls who had nothing else to do as his audience.  A little band of three or four neighbor boys, probably about 9 or 10 used to be particularly disruptive and rude to the man.

As he shouted out the Gospel, they would taunt him and mimic his words.  For example, when he prayed fervently to finish the sermon, after his last “Amen” they would scurry off, jeering back at him “Ramen!” and “Somen!” (two versions of Japanese noodles which were at the time about all anybody had to eat”).

But this pastor never gave up his passion for getting out the word. This one street corner was the spot that he’d given his life to and he’d been there faithfully for over 10 years. Years passed and one day he noticed a well dressed young man standing very reverently and respectfully in the crowd, nodding in solemn agreement with everything the Pastor said

After his message, the young man stepped up to him and he said, “Do you remember me?”

Actually the pastor had no idea until the man hung his head and quietly said “Ramen…..Somen”

After a wonderful realization and reunion, the young man explained, that even though he’d taunted the preacher all those years,  he had watched and learned, and as a youth in college, far far away, he had sought out Christians because of their love and persistence……and now he himself had become a pastor.

“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24) Make your own sermon.

Next week I’ll tell you about a murder Tony committed in our back yard as we were preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

Love ya, Marsha

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