You’ve no doubt heard this one before: “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. It’s a phrase that’s been drilled into some of us since we were kids. It’s making itself particularly evident right now in Japan. The massive earthquake has given the church an unprecedented opportunity to show its care.

And it has!

The church has stepped up in solidarity, and is confronting a myriad of the immediate, pressing needs that abound. The church’s blistered, dirty hands have created a whole new openness to listening to the heart behind the actions.

From the EFCCM’s perspective, some of the largest donations for this effort have come from our Chinese-Canadian churches. This is a huge testimony of the bridges that Christ makes across stark differences of faith, culture and geography. We are so grateful for the generosity of our Chinese-Canadian brothers and sisters!

Most of the essential physical needs are now being met. People who have been evacuated, or who have lost everything are still housed in shelters. Those shelters now have sufficient supplies to provide people with their basic necessities. Life is resuming as much as is possible considering the conditions. People are returning to work, and the country is rebuilding.

But there is still great need. Many need to grieve, and express their deep sorrow even when their loved ones will likely never be identified. People need to confront their fear and anxiety. They need to embrace hope and choose life. All of these are tough problems in a nation that is as emotionally closed as Japan is. Generally, there is an unwillingness to talk about these deep issues. Sometimes wearing a clown wig helps to break down barriers, and Kurt’s certainly willing to do that!

But it’s happening. It’s happening one-on-one as people open up about their experiences and their perceptions. It’s happening as individuals allow Christians into their lives, and to pray for them.

The church must make the most of this opportunity. There are unsavoury people who are trying to capitalise on this disaster for their own gains. They look helpful, but there are strings attached to their ‘charity’, and gang ties are evident. May we be vigilant for how we can be Christ’s hands and feet in this situation, and to offer everything that we can to Japan’s injured people.