of circulation" since May 14, 2008 when I was taken to the "Emergency
a local hospital, and after examination was admitted to the cardiovascular
unit where a stent was inserted in an artery to my brain as a precaution
to prevent strokes. I then underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery.
After 24 days in the hospital I was discharged. Thanks to the
many prayers on both sides of the Pacific and the skills of surgeons
and staff members of healing teams, I have recovered. Over a period
of months I have received physical therapy and other training, and feel
much stronger. I
am blessed to now be 77 years old. On February
25, 1957 (St. Matthias' day transferred) I was Ordained to the Priesthood,
so it was my 52nd Anniversary
Finally I read
Anglicans Online for the first time in 10 months, and
decided to write to you!
I am Canadian-born,
and moved to Seattle when I was 35 years old in 1966. We were invited
to St. Peter's Church, Seattle, Diocese of Olympia, to serve American
Episcopalians of Japanese ancestry, and 15 years after we emigrated,
my wife (who came from Japan), my first daughter (who was born in Canada),
and I, became US citizens by naturalization. In my retirement
I am involved in caring for a parish or involved in pastoral care,
but did deliver a homily on the Sunday before the beginning of Lent.
These words came about after much meditation and prayer, and
from a confluence of days and seasons that I refer to.
the last Sunday after the Epiphany. Three days from today is Ash Wednesday,
the beginning of Lent.
In a recent revision of our prayer book, the Gospel for today was changed.
We now hear the account of the Transfiguration of Christ that happened shortly
before Jesus died on the Cross. The clothes that Jesus wore shone with a
brightness not ever seen before by anyone. Three Disciples: Peter, James
and John, who went with Jesus up a high mountain, saw this spectacular sight,
and they also saw Moses and Elijah, past representatives of the Law and
the Prophets. The Transfiguration happened shortly before Jesus faced betrayal,
a trial, and death on the Cross.
Once a year this
story is read on August 6th. Now — in addition to the summer time —
this Gospel is read on this day. If we try to recall the sequence of
event in the life of Jesus, the first Transfiguration was momentous.
Several persons witnessed a spectacular sight, surprising and traumatic.
For us as we enter the solemn period of reflection and self-examination
that we call Lent, rehearsing this mountain-top experience with Jesus
prepares us for the greatest events that Jesus faced. Thus it is right
and appropriate to begin with the Transfiguration, and three days later
observe Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. For
the next eight weeks, we have the opportunity to review all the things
Jesus went through “for us and for our salvation”. After
the four weeks of Lent, Holy Week comes, beginning with Palm Sunday.
Then comes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and the Great
Festival of Easter — when
Jesus rose from death and the grave!
The recent prayer
book revision that brought the reading of the Transfiguration Gospel
to the last Sunday after the Epiphany, three days before Ash Wednesday,
reminded me of some additional connections between these dates. The
three days between the end of Epiphany and Ash Wednesday, took on additional
meaning because of the Transfiguration Gospel. In 1945 the first atomic
bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, Transfiguration Day. Now
here we are, at the end of Epiphany, and three days after that is Ash
Wednesday, but three days after August 6th and Hiroshima, was August
9th — when the City of Nagasaki became the second Ground Zero.
Today we read the Transfiguration Gospel, and three days after today
we observe Ash Wednesday, so
we are reminded of Nagasaki that was left in ashes and radioactive radiation
A Canadian Anglican
Missionary went to Hiroshima in the early post-war years and helped
to re-build the Church of the Resurrection. It was like a phoenix
rising out of the ashes. That Missionary, Father Harold McSherry, told
me that in Japanese the word for “Transfiguration” can also
We who follow
the Church Calendar observe August 6th as the Feast of the Transfiguration
of Jesus, but the world associates August 6th as the day in 1945
when the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. As
a teen-ager in 1945, I began to read in Canadian newspapers, the dreadful
dangers and destructive power of the A-bomb and nuclear fission. We
were told to be ready for the possibility of a nuclear attack and wear
white or light-colored clothing to ward off radiation, and find out
where the nearest air-raid shelter was located. Those warnings have
long been forgotten, but
the Transfiguration event we read about today becomes a foreshadowing
of the future.
were to witness great suffering before the glory of God would be revealed.
May this Last Sunday of the Epiphany be a launching pad into the season
of Lent as we give thanks for the glory of God made known to us in the
Transfiguration of Jesus on the Holy Mountain, and for the power of
God made known to us on Ash Wednesday. Ashes remind us of death, and
that Jesus died for our sins on the Cross. But because Jesus was raised
from the dead, He lives! Our hope is kindled to put our trust in Jesus.
We will die with him, and also live with Him to Eternal Life.
Let us thank
God for the Season of Lent into which we are about to enter. May our
Lenten Pilgrimage bring us to Holy Week and Easter Day -- through the
Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Jesus lived among us on this
earth. He died, but He rose from the Dead, and is alive! We, too, will
live – and Jesus who rose from the Dead, now lives, and prays,
for us, every day, to God the Father!
Canon Timothy Makoto Nakayama
Saint Mark's Cathedral, Diocese of Olympia
Seattle, Washington, USA
23 March 2009