Thursday night I returned home late from a meeting at church.  That is usual but this last Thursday was different.  I turned on the news as I wound down from a busy and long day.  What was on the broadcast news was riveting and shocking.

This was not fiction.  Even the typical disaster fiction movie doesn’t grip a human being like the scenes being received from Japan.  I was in disbelief.

The 8.9 earthquake off of the NE coast of this island nation had severely rocked the nation.  That tremor alone was devastating.  However, the aftermath that swept over the coastal regions has left the world in shock.

Japan has perhaps the best educated, best prepared, best equipped population when it comes to earthquake readiness.  Over the generations, strict building codes and seawall protection has given rise to an awareness that they must be prepared for the inevitable.  The shaking will come many times and in powerful measure.

But, no one can prepare for the tsunami.  One of the by-products of the earthquake is the tidal wave.  This March 12, 2011 shaking of the earth’s crust happened just off the East Coast of Japan near the town of Sendai. 

The epicenter of the quake was so close to this port city and so near the surface of the ground that the resulting tsunami only gave the town residents 15 to 20 minutes to scramble for higher ground.  It was not enough time.  As prepared as the people were, the 30 foot tall wall of water swept into the town, engulfed everything in its path.  So we pray for them. 

Living human beings were caught in the torrent of water.  Hundreds of bodies have been seen in the following devastation.  Reports of tens of thousands of people who are missing have filled the airwaves.   So we pray for them.

Each missing person has lives of others, relatives, friends and loved ones who are desperate to find them.  So many of them will be grief-stricken when bad news finds them.  So we pray for them.

The debris litters what once were well-manicured village streets, neat crops growing in the field and tidy postage stamp yards.  Automobiles, ships and planes are out-of-place, piled on top of each other, mangled and damaged beyond repair.  Homes, buildings and storage containers are smashed together like rubble pushed and shoved by the powerful surges of misplaced ocean water. So we pray for the people of Japan.

photo credit: google image