Have you ever seen a turnip so enormous that it takes not one person, or two, but the joint effort of six individuals to pull it out? The Gigantic Turnip is a well-known story in Japan. Almost all Japanese know this story because it is part of the elementary school curriculum. The moral of the story is that only with the help of the weakest and smallest of all can the giant turnip be pulled up.
In the beginning of November, Hirosaki Nozomi Church, a new church plant in Hirosaki, Aomori, celebrated Thanksgiving by inviting the community to join them. From English- and parenting-class contacts, we were expecting around 30 people to join us, so we set up enough tables and chairs for 30.
But when it was time to start people kept coming, including those we weren’t expecting—we ended up with 60 people!
As the MC welcomed our guests, church members got up to give their seats to our unexpected guests, some scrambling for more tables and chairs, and some ran to the kitchen for more disposable chopsticks and paper plates. It was surprising to see how quickly three more tables appeared, ready for our guests to sit at.
After people’s stomachs were full, the church member got up to perform The Gigantic Turnip play. With three of our men dressed as a white big turnip, the story began. Children ran up to have a closer look.
“The grandpa could not pull up the gigantic turnip by himself so he went to call grandma… but even with grandma, the turnip wouldn’t come out, so they called their grandchild . . . their dog, their cat, and even the mouse . . . With everyone pulling together, at last the gigantic turnip came out!”
As we consider all that we have to thank God for, it is truly a blessing to have diversity in the body of Christ. Whether we are strong or weak, God has put us together so that we can share with each other the good gifts from God. At the same time, as we work together as one body, the evidence of that joint effort is undoubtedly noticeable.
Our prayer is that those who came to the Thanksgiving event would have noticed and be amazed by the joint effort of a bunch of diverse people who belong to the same God. We pray that they too will one day be a part of the body of Christ.