Vigil for the Japanese People

  I attended a prayer service for Japan last Friday evening. It was held in the United Nations Chapel, and was organized by Reverend KenjitsuNakagaki.  Prayers were led by reverends from three sects of Buddhism, and for the Christian and Shinto religions.  The texts of the prayers were given in both Japanese and English.  There was a music offering consisting of three piano pieces, and solemn, yet hopeful speeches by civic leaders, including a U.N. official.  Afterwards, there was a procession to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, where the attendees lit candles and prayed silently.  There was a moving speech by Emiko Nagano, the organizer.

  This was a bracing and sobering event.  It was a clear night, and refreshingly warm for the last days of this winter.  The moon was full, and startlingly huge.  I did not feel as if these quiet prayers could make any difference in the face of the sufferings of so many, so far away.

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