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Minute for Mission: Hiroshima Day


August 6, 2023

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial, also known as the Genbaku Dome, is the only building that survived near the center of the first atomic bomb explosion on Aug. 6, 1945. It stands there today, preserved just as it was right after the blast. (Photo by Thomas Goetz)

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki must never be repeated due to the inherent violation of human dignity and the profound moral implications associated with such destructive actions. As Christians, our emphasis must be on the significance of human responsibility and the ethical imperative to preserve life and protect the sanctity of human existence. Here are three key reasons why the atomic bombings should never be repeated, based on this theological perspective.

Firstly, the atomic bombings violated the fundamental principle of respecting human dignity. As Presbyterians, we are called to recognize the imago Dei, the belief that every human being is created in the image of God and possesses inherent worth and value. The bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused immense suffering, death, and long-term physical and psychological effects on the survivors, known as hibakusha. By using atomic weapons, the bombings disregarded the sacredness of human life and inflicted unimaginable pain upon innocent civilians.

Secondly, the atomic bombings revealed the danger of humanity’s capacity for evil and the potential for devastating consequences. We are also called to acknowledge the reality of human sinfulness and the need for moral discernment. The bombings represented an extreme manifestation of human sinfulness, where the pursuit of victory in war took precedence over the principles of justice, mercy and compassion. The immense destructive power of atomic weapons demonstrated the potential for irreversible harm and the escalation of violence beyond control. The bombings should serve as a solemn reminder of the catastrophic consequences that can arise when humanity allows evil to prevail.

Finally, the atomic bombings challenge humanity’s responsibility to pursue peaceful alternatives and engage in reconciliation. Let us find a renewed emphasis to answer the call for peacemaking and the pursuit of justice. The bombings represented a failure to exhaust all possibilities for a peaceful resolution and to seek reconciliation between nations. In the aftermath of the bombings, efforts for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation gained urgency, as societies recognized the need to prevent the repetition of such devastation. From the standpoint of someone who has lived in Japan for more than half of my life, the pursuit of peace and reconciliation should always be the primary objective, fostering dialogue, understanding and the resolution of conflicts through nonviolent means.

Thomas Goetz is a long-term international volunteer with the PMA serving as a professor of English at Hokusei Gakuen University. He has been a leader in fostering online learning environments and promoting blended learning at all levels. His research is in the application of computers for language learning. He has presented widely in Asia, the Americas and Europe. He holds two master’s degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Temple University.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 6, 2023, the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Today’s Focus: Hiroshima Day

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Demetria Hurnton, Business Administrator, Benefits, Board of Pensions
Todd Ingves, Vice President, Health & Well Being, Board of Pensions

Let us pray

Dear God, we humbly come before you, seeking your divine guidance and grace. With heavy hearts, we lift up this prayer, imploring you to hear our plea. We acknowledge the solemn significance of the Atomic Bombings, events that scarred humanity’s history, forever etching the devastating consequences they unleashed. We ask you, Lord, to ensure that such horrors never be repeated. We recognize that these acts violated the very essence of human dignity, revealing the depths of our capacity for evil. In the face of this revelation, we implore you to inspire and empower us to walk a different path — one of peace and reconciliation. As we bow before you, we hold fast to the belief that every individual possesses inherent worth, a preciousness that should never be diminished or destroyed. We acknowledge our responsibility to protect and preserve life, to cherish the sacredness of each soul. In light of this, we fervently pray for a world that renounces the use of destructive weapons — weapons that can bring untold suffering and despair. Grant us, O Lord, the wisdom to discern the true nature of justice, the compassion to extend mercy to those who have erred, and the courage to pursue reconciliation, even in the face of great adversity. Fill our hearts with a longing for a world where swords are beaten into plowshares, where conflicts are resolved through dialogue and understanding, and where love triumphs over hatred. In this prayer, we surrender our hopes and aspirations for a brighter future into your hands, trusting that you will guide us toward a world where peace reigns supreme. May your light shine upon the hearts of leaders, illuminating their minds with wisdom and empathy. May your grace touch the souls of individuals, inspiring them to seek common ground and bridge divides. Creator God, we offer this prayer with unwavering faith, knowing that you are the source of all goodness and justice. Hear our plea, O Lord, and let it echo through the ages, resonating in the hearts of all who yearn for a world free from the shackles of violence and suffering. We ask these things in the name of your boundless love.  Amen.


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