Friday, December 31, 2021

Ten Things of Thankful in 2021


  • Personally, the year 2021 has been uneventful and peaceful.
  • My father and I have been in good health most of the time.
  • I attended the Sunday worship service 52 times this year. 😊
  • I also took part in the monthly Bible study meeting 12 times a year. 
  • I am learning to be content with what I already have. 
  • I am learning not to give unsolicited advice. 
  • I am learning that I don't have to try to fix every problem I face. 
  • I am thankful for three healthy meals every day. 
  • I am thankful for the time to enjoy my hobbies. 
  • I am thankful for people who encourage me.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

I Wish you a Happy New Year


Though the following prelude has nothing to do with New Year, 
this is one of the pieces I enjoy playing this week:

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Studying Psalm 47

from  The End and the Beginning @ Discover the Word

On the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, Psalm 47 is recited seven times before the trumpets (shofars) are blown.

  • This psalm is ascribed to the sons of Korah. (Korah led rebellion against Moses.)
  • an Elohistic psalm (The name Elohim appears 7 times here.)
  • an enthronement psalm (God is king.)
  • reference to salvation history (Psalm 47:3)

Days of Awe: a ten-day period of self-examination and repentance 

A Quote from the program:

God IS on the throne. That’s what Psalm 47 has taught us. And so, no matter what we may face in this next year, we can trust that God is with us, and that He is in control of all things and whatever comes, we’ll be facing it with Him.

Monday, December 27, 2021

It Is Still Christmas

In Japan, we put away Christmas trees as soon as Christmas Day is over, and start preparing for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, but I hear in some other countries Christmas lasts 12 days! 

So, I am going to post one of my recordings of a chorale prelude for Christmas today.

Gelobet seist du. Jesu Christ 
(BWV 723)
(Praised be you, Jesus Christ)

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Ten Things of Thankful: December 25, 2021


in no particular order

  • contentment
  • my family 
  • my church family 
  • the Christmas worship service 
  • my Internet friends
  • the pressure cooker that is especially helpful when boiling soy beans 
  • the black soy beans I cooked last Wednesday
  • the book, "A Lineage of Grace" by Francine Rivers, which I'm rereading this week
  • singing songs while folding the laundry
  • practicing playing the electronic organ every day

(Beside Thy cradle here I stand) 
by J. S. Bach

Friday, December 24, 2021

#Sky Watch Friday: December 24, 2021

 Welcome to the Snowy Country

a view from the bridge, 

from the other side of the bridge

Skywatch Friday

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Six-Sentence Story: Fair

One evening, more than three decades ago, my mother and I happened to watch a fascinating TV program about Fair Isle knitting, when I was spending my winter vacation at my parents' house. I was so deeply impressed with the beautiful patterns of the sweaters that I wanted to wear one myself. 

Since my mother loved knitting and crocheting, I asked her if she would make me a Fair Isle sweater, but she said no, because it would be too complicated and time-consuming. 

A few days later, I went to several shops in my hometown, looking for a sweater like the ones I had seen on TV.  There were not many to choose from, and I decided on the red one, though it was different from what I had in mind at first. In my album is a photo of me wearing it on Christmas Day in the following year.

this week's prompt: fair

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Greek Word for "Redeem"

The Greek word for "redeem" is  ἐξαγοράζω, which is made up of ἐκ (out of) and  ἀγοράζω (to be in the market place).  The verb ἀγοράζω comes from the noun ἀγορά (assembly, assembly place, market place, street). 

 (Cf. agoraphobia (agora + phobia))

The word "redeem" in the Bible reminds us of a slave market out of which Jesus has saved us by sacrificing Himself to set us free. 


Galatians 4:4-5

But when the set time had fully come, 
God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
to redeem those under the law, 
that we might receive adoption to sonship.


Saturday, December 18, 2021

Ten Things of Thankful: December 18, 2021

image from pixabay

  • a bowl of green tea first thing in the morning
  • a jar of organic blueberry jam 
  • a book of tanka poems by Goto Miyoko 
  • my winter boots 
  • a pair of woolen gloves  
  • the down coat 
  • hand and nail treatment cream 
  • a hot bath before going to bed 
  • the hair dryer
  • the piece I am practicing playing this week:

Gottes Sohn ist kommen (BWV703) (God's Son Has Come)

Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Priestly Shepherds and a Newborn Lamb

I've watched an interesting video, Bethlehem: Beyond the Christmas Story | Day of Discovery presented by @Our Daily Bread, which says that the shepherds that the angels told the news of the birth of the Savior were not ordinary shepherds, but priestly shepherds who took care of sheep that were to be sacrificed in Jerusalem. I also learned about Migdal Eder, which means "the Tower of the Flock" in Hebrew, and the custom of wrapping a newborn lamb in cloths and placing it in a manger so that it wouldn't be hurt, which shows that Jesus was indeed born as "a sacrificial lamb" to forgive our sins.


[Luke 2:11-12 NIV] 
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; 
he is the Messiah, the Lord.
This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Six-Sentence Story: The Letter Scale

I rummaged through the junk drawer for the letter scale, but I couldn't find it. Though I didn't remember when I had used it last, I was sure I had put it there. 

The scale was a gift from the International Pen Pal Club, which I joined more than three decades ago, when I had never heard of Internet or email. Thanks to the club I enjoyed exchanging letters, photos, and cards with a number of people living in Australia, the U.S.A, the U. K., Canada, the Philippines, Italy, (West) Germany, the RSA, and so on.

I searched the other drawers in vain, and opened the first drawer again. I took out the small plastic box in which I kept some postage stamps, opened it, and, to my relief,  found what I was looking for, barely fitting in the box.

this week's prompt: junk

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Lamentations and Christmas

 The book of Lamentation is concluded with a prayer:

You, LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. 
Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? 
Restore us to yourself, LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of old 
unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.

[Lam 5:19-22 NIV] 

According to God's plan, He answered prayers like this by sending Jesus to this world. Jesus has given His life for us, so that we can be restored to God and return to Him. Christmas is the time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

As Sally Lloyd-Jones, the author of The Jesus Storybook Bible, says, "Every story in the Bible whispers the name of Jesus. "

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Acrostics in Lamentations

Listening to Lament-the Church in Crisis at Discover the Word, I heard expressions such as "the acrostic living" and "the acrostic space," based on the style of the poems of Lamentations, where we are allowed to express our pain and grief. I am not sure if I fully understand what exactly these phrases mean, and I would like to learn more about the book of Lamentations.

Notes from Overview: Lamentations--Bible Project:
Design of the Poems:
acrostic= alphabet poems

The ordered and linear structure is in stark contrast to the disorder of the pain and the confused grief explored in these poems.

It's like Israel's suffering is explored a-to-z, trying to express something that is inexpressible.

Chapter 1:   1 verse per letter, 22 verses 
Chapter 2:   1 verse per letter, 22 verses 
Chapter 3:   3 verses per letter, 66 verses
Chapter 4:   1 verse per letter, 22 verses 
Chapter 5:   no alphabet pattern, 22 verses
                         --as if the poet’s grief explodes back into chaos

It is significant that hope is mentioned right in the middle of these laments. (Lamentations 3:21--).

Monday, December 13, 2021

Lamentations: Acrostic Poems

I listened to the podcast, Lament-the Church in Crisis at Discover the Word, an interview with Soong-Chan Rah, the author of Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times. 

According to the program, though there seems to be far less emphasis on lament than on joy in Western culture Christianity, lament plays an important role in this broken world, where we are all broken people.

Through this program, I've learned something new about the book of Lamentations, which consists of acrostics (alphabet poems). The acrostic formula not only serves as a memory device, but also as boundaries.

--"The church, in its worship space, is really the living acrostic that helps the world and people of the church experience and express grief in ways that are helpful, rather than harmful." (Soong-Chan Rah)

--"What the church does is actually create that safe space where we are allowed to feel pain. It also provides the acrostic space where the leadership, the pastors, the community comes around us in such a way that provides some healthy boundaries as well." (Soong-Chan Rah)


The church is 
    • the living acrostic in a place of confusion and pain 
    • a place of healing 
    • the living presence where grief can be expressed
    • a place where we can be the living embodiment of God’s peace and God’s presence

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Ten Things of Thankful: December 11, 2021


A friend of mine, who lives in a small town surrounded by the mountains where I used to live, has sent me a lovely and fragrant Christmas wreath she has made (pictured above), as well as a beautiful Christmas card.

* * * * *

This week, it was our turn to clean the church building, and when I went there on a weekday, I took pictures of the advent calendar on the shelf near the entrance, the advent wreath next to the pulpit, and the Christmas tree.

* * * * *

It was sunny and warm last Thursday, and I walked to the post office by way of the riverbank.

* * * * *

I am also thankful for the Bible Study Meeting I attended yesterday, where we studied Judges 11. Through the sad story of Jephthah, we have learned that we should trust in God and be obedient to Him, instead of trying to 'manipulate' Him so that things may go as we want.

* * * * *

As usual, I am thankful for the time I enjoy playing the electronic organ at home. One of the pieces I am practicing this week is Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott (BWV 704) (Praise be to Almighty God):

Friday, December 10, 2021

Sky Watch Friday: December 10, 2021


Yesterday it was sunny and incredibly warm for this time of the year. I took the photos above on my way to the post office. There were a number of people taking a walk on the riverbank. On my way back, I saw Mr. and Mrs. H*cycling along the river.  

Skywatch Friday

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Six-Sentence Story: A Memorable Guide

A few years after I became a high school teacher, we, 180 students and 5 teachers including me, went on a four-day tour of Kansai Area, visiting a number of historic Buddhist temples in Kyoto, the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima, and Himeji Castle in Hyogo, and spending hours travelling in various vehicles. 

To tell the truth, what I liked the least about my job was going on a school trip with the students, because I didn't like traveling in a large group on a tight schedule.

When we were on a chartered bus, a tour guide told us entertaining stories about the places we were passing by. The guide assigned to my homeroom class of 45 students on the last day of our excursion was a young lady fresh from high school, who hit it off with the students immediately. The bus was full of laughter and smiles.

I have forgotten what she looked like and what she talked about, but I do remember how thankful we were that she traveled with us. 

this week's prompt: guide

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Ten Things of Thankful: December 4, 2021


Earlier this week, I listened to a pod cast, The Adventure of Advent at Discover the Word, and learned what each of the candles in the Advent wreath symbolizes: hope, love, joy, peace, and Christ, which I am thankful for.

As usual, I have spent a lot of time practicing playing chorale preludes on the electronic organ this week. While recording a song on the computer, I was often annoyed by the noises that the keyboard was making. A few days ago, I hit upon a solution. My electronic organ has a built-in recorder, which doesn't record any outer noises. (The recordings can be imported to the computer and stored there, but the problem is that they cannot be played on the computer, because the format is incompatible...) Anyway, I have found that it is much better to record the pieces on the built-in recorder first, and then play the recording on the musical instrument, simultaneously recording it on the computer, free from clicking sounds of the keyboard.  I am thankful that I have found a way to reduce the noises. 

The following is a new recording of one of the chorale preludes I am practicing this week.

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
(Praised be you, Jesus Christ)

arranged by C. H. Rinck

Have a great weekend.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Sky Watch Friday: December 3, 2021


Though I feel reluctant to go out on a cold day, once I start walking, I soon find myself enjoying taking a walk around the river. It will not be long before the riverbanks are covered with snow, so that we won't be able to walk there.

Skywatch Friday