Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

A friend tipped me off to this documentary, and I must say, it is well worth the watch. About the best way I could describe the story of Chiune Sugihara is that he was "a Japanese Oskar Schindler." Sugihara, using his influence as a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania just prior to and during WWII, used his diplomatic influence to move thousands of Polish and Lithuanian Jews to Curacao, Dutch Guiana, and Vladivostock in the USSR. From Vladivostok, some went to the U.S. and Palestine; others went to Japan. Most ended up in Shanghai, China until the end of WWII. He managed this despite direct orders against it from the Japanese embassy.

He basically got away with it because he had such skills as a linguist and translator that the Japanse government needed his war skills too much. But eventually he and his family spent the end of the war in a Russian POW camp for eighteen months, when the Soviets invaded Romania, where Sugihara was stationed. Following the war, his diplomatic career was over when he was unceremoniously dumped by the Japanese government. He worked menial jobs to support his family (including selling light bulbs door to door) and ended his working career in the export business in Moscow, with his family living in Japan. It has only been in recent years that his accomplishments have come to light.

What caused this man to realize he and his family had to take these risks? Oddly enough, it was because an eleven year old boy, Solly Ganor, who invited him to come to their house for the first night of Hanukkah in 1939. In short, it was the "miracle of hospitality" that saved many lives.

I often think about how we might all be entertaining "angels unawares." This movie is a great reminder of that, and that saints do live among us.


I'm not sure why - but this seems a fitting post for the holiday. I've decided to celebrate Independence today - independent thought and action - thinking for one's self and acting accordingly even in the face of trials and tribulations. Happy Independence Day, Maria!

Could it be that we are both understanding the words "independence" and "freedom" better as we both continue to discover that "obedience to God" is true independence and freedom?...and that requires and demands a type of kindness and sacrifices we once thought was beyond us? I certainly wonder about that as my "Jubilee year" plays out and I actively work at "freeing my slaves."

Obedience - now there's a word that I struggle with - it seems to be the antithesis of independence. The concept seems to imply layers of authority with God trumping all others. Obedience - the act of obeying - what are we obeying, a set of rules - rules written by men but ascribed to God. There - I've hit another brick wall. I think I have to meditate on "listen" as a substitute for "obey." For me, listen implies hearing and acting - listen to what is in our heart - for that is where God is. Yes, we understand that true independence comes from listening to God and doing what we know to be true and right.

Once I realized the Latin word "oboedire" (the root word of "obedience") meant "to listen with intent", I was able to come to new terms about the word "obedience." I realized we are talking far more than "dog school" here!

Within that "listening with intent" comes the opportunity to choose--to make an independent decision--so it no longer becomes an antithesis in my mind.

Wow - I didn't know that I know Latin - pretty cool, eh?




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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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