The Little Boy who bombed the Little Girl: a prayer for transfiguration

I did look for photos to illustrate this post. What I found were so awful and distressing – and what I would have used seemed so trivial in comparison. So I have posted Scott Butner’s photo of the statue of one of the so many tragic victims, Sadako Sasaki – she seems to be beckoning us into her “wishing well”.

Sadako Sasaki died when she was 12. She spent her life praying for peace. A sculpture of her in Seattle (pictured) shows her beckoning us to join her prayer. She was two years old when an atomic bomb was dropped on her town of Misasa Bridge in Hiroshima on August 6th 1945. This little girl survived the bomb but developed leukaemia. She is remembered for the thousand cranes she (nearly) folded before her death in 1955.

Her first crane was made by her best friend when she visited her in hospital and told her about the Japanese saying that one who folded 1000 cranes would be granted a wish. Legend has it that Sadako only managed to fold 644 cranes before she died, and that the other 356 were made by her friends after she died and buried them with her.

Ironically the bomb was called “Little Boy”.

Many people have made the connection between the Feast of the Transfiguration which the church celebrates every August 6th, and this act of disfiguration which took place on that August 6th. People in Japan celebrate August 6th as a national peace day.

Matthew (17:1-13) describes the Transfiguration and how disciples saw how Jesus’ face shone when he was seen on the mountain with Elijah and Moses. This was a meeting of three visionaries which not only transfigured Jesus’ appearance but also strengthened him for his journey to Jerusalem.

Many people will be taking their holidays at this time of year including some who, like Jesus, will be taking to the mountains. Can we pray that they will see life afresh and gain strength for the next stage of their journeys back to work against all that disfigures their own lives and the lives of others?

Besides the Seattle statue there is another in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. It has a plaque that reads: “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world.” That is a prayer of lament, a visionary prayer and a prayer that we may see the world anew.

This is based on words originally written for the Chester Diocesan Cycle of Prayer