snow in the field

Yukiko Tanaka, pianist

2005 Easter

     One evening, I was riding the subway as usual. A homeless man got into the car. He was looking at each passenger and pleading, "I'm hungry. Give me something to eat..." When he came to my place, he kneeled down and looked into my face and saig, "Help me, I'm hungry." He stayed there and stared at me. His face was very dirty, his beard and hair grew long and his clothes were ripped off. He was also very smelly. I felt too guilty to ignore him, so I took cookies out of my backpack and gave them to him. Grabbing them from me, he blamed me, "I don't want to eat candies and chololates. I'm fed up with it! I want to eat real food like pizza and hamburger." And he left. I was so upset. He asked for food, so I gave him what I had. Why should I be blamed? My brain was occupied with that scene and I stayed angry for a while. However, a little later, I realized the homeless man's behavior was just like mine in front of God.

     I know I am full of a lot of nasty thing inside of me even though I am always keeping up appearances. Jealousy, short temper, greed, laziness, lechery, contempt... my image reflects upon God's eyes must be dirtier and more miserable than the hlmeless as I met. Also, when my prayer was not answered or answered differently than I wanted, I complain to God. "Why did he do it to me, I didn't want to have this situation now." However, God knows better than I do and he knows what is best for me. He always gives me the best things. "In his heard a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (Proverbs 16:9)." Even in my prayer was not responded in the way I wanted at that time, it would be responded later in much better way. Then I realize this is the one that God wanted to give me. How impatient I was. "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he was promised (Hebrews 10:36)."

     I was dpressed with myself what was so different from the image of God. I wonder if he still loves me, Suddenly, the words, "you are loved" struck me. Yes, God sent Jesus Christ to this world to save sinners like me. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)." Jesus sympathizes with me, an ugly miserable girl. As a person who once suffered from a disease can understand the feeling of patients of the same disease, Jesus, who suffered physical and mental hardships. can understand my hardships. Jesus faced the worst sufferings and insult by people and died. "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. L>ike one from whom men hid their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth... By oppression and judgement he was taken away (excerpts from Isaiah Chapter 53)." "Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers tiwsted together a crown of thorns and pit it on his head. They clothes him in a purple robe and wet up to him again and again, saying, 'Hail king of Jews!' And they struck him in the face (John 19: 1-3)."

     In this Lenten season, we think about our sins and the Passion of the Christ. We crucified him and Jesus died with our sins. Lenten season is also a time full of hope of the Resurrection. Three days after Jesus was crucified, the resurrected and became able to be with us anytime. What a wonderful promise his is.

     It has been three years since I came to New York and two years since I baptized at the Japanese American United Church. First I came here, I had no money, reputation, and status. It must be a miracle that I am still here and pursuing my dream. I was having hard time and desperate, but Jesus was always with me and supported me.

     Today, I am very delighted to give this concert. It is my pleasure and mission to play piano to glorify God's name. I welcome peoploe especially who came here for the first time. I hope you all enjoy the concert and get to know a little bit about Jesus Christ.