Why I am 'samurai'
When most people think about a samurai the first thing that comes to mind is their martial prowess and how they were dedicated to war and the practice there of. But for me this is not what keeps me immersed in the image that is the samurai. To be honest when I first became interested in the samurai it was indeed their images of being fantastic warriors. Men that, supposedly, who’s sole purpose were to live to make war, and do it well. I was fairly young, in the military for a short time, and ripe with fantasies born from my role-playing and war gamming back ground. Although I didn’t know it at the time God was slowly drawing me out of that subculture and closer to Him. (And that is another long story to be posted sometime in the future.) As I matured I sought to get to know more about these men, their customs, culture, what they believed, etc. Remember this is over a period of time… Well as my heart turned more and more towards God my interests continued in the samurai, even solidified so to speak. When I finally gave my life to Christ in August of 1989 I remember praying to the Lord, “Lord I devote myself to You as the samurai of old devoted themselves to their earthly lords”. Little did I fully comprehend the depth of that statement, or how seriously the samurai actually devoted themselves to their task. One book that I found very insightful was “A Book of 5 Rings” written by Miyamoto Musashi in the early 1600’s. This book helped me see that the samurai were not all about combat, but that they sought to “perfect” their outlook on life as a whole. To appreciate all things about life and not dwell solely on their vocation (that of a soldier). There is a section by the translator that talks about the times in which Musashi lived - about the massacres of countless Christians. A little known fact: More Christians were killed by the Tokugawa edict and resulting persecution than all the Christians killed by the Roman Empire! Reading that, and the influence of my new faith endeared me to these Christian samurai and it has been sort of a part time hobby of mine to learn more about them as well – a task not easily accomplished and continues to be a difficult and slow process for me. To a real extent the samurai’s devotion to their lords, their philosophy of enjoying life to the fullest, in seeking out the best in themselves in all they do, has been a governing theme in my own life as well. I continually seek to give my whole life to my Lord – Jesus Christ. To be willing to live my whole life for Him, to be willing to die to myself and my desires in order to conform to His will and desires, to seek to do everything I do to the best of my ability – just like we should for the Lord Jesus Christ. ” Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24 esv) I am fortunate to serve a Lord who’s grace and mercy is limitless. If it where not for Christ – this samurai would have had to commit seppuku long ago, and probably more than once. So I guess that is an overview of me. My main source of influence is the Bible, and when the things of the samurai contradict Christ and His teachings – such as their leanings towards Confusianism and Zen – I conform to the Bible. So when people see my ‘handle’, and hear tidbits of my thoughts on this I don’t think they fully understand what it means to me to be a samurai in the service of the Lord. But for me it is an honor to be counted among those who proclaim Christ as Lord. Today’s verse: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. --- Ephesians 2:1-10