Walking on Water (Sketch 1)

Walking on Water

Makoto Fujimura

Mineral pigments on Kumohada paper over board, 2011

There arose in my heart the thought of Saint Francis Xavier. He also, in the calm which followed such a storm, must have looked up at the milky sky. And then for the next eighty years how many missionaries and seminarians had sailed around the coast of Africa, passed by India, and had crossed over this very sea to preach the gospel in Japan... All these great missionaries gazed at both the milky clouds and the thick black rain clouds floating away to the east. What thoughts filled their minds at such times? This also I can well imagine.

- Silence, Shusaku Endo

About the above piece, artist Makoto Fujimura writes:

It was executed after the 3/11 Tsunami catastrophe in Japan. How might one express and work through devastation and somehow reach a point of hope? How might one walk on water? The word "sketch" here is not used in the sense of drafting a detailed image, but as in a dramatic sketch, in which one is rehearsing for the New.

Fujimura’s piece and this passage evokes the priest Rodrigues’ many traumatic journeys in Silence. This passage shows his musings as he travels across the sea to Japan, devastated and disbelieving at the news of his mentor’s apostasy, yet seeking to forward the glorious strength and hope of the gospel for Japan. But he is soon also at sea in Japan: the persecutions he and hidden Christians face, as well as internal struggles with God’s silence are troubled seas he must navigate by looking to the face of Christ.


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