The Fukushima 50

You remember that emotional scene in the film, Star Trek: Wrath of Kahn, where Captain Kirk finds Spock inside a contaminated fuel core area that was leaking, and Spock gave his life to save the ship. He put up his weak and dying Vulcan hand upon the glass shield, fingers separated in that infamous V manner, and asked if the ship was out of danger. Then he said those words I can still quote from memory: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, …or the one.” I cried when I first saw that. I’m a big Star Trek fan, mind you. But to some degree that kind of loving, caring, sacrificial heroism is happening right now in Japan at the nuclear site that’s potentially in a catastrophic meltdown.

I was struck today by the news of those who are called “The Fukushima 50” (pronounced “fookoosheema”). Both ABC News and NBC News report that these 50 workers who have stayed behind at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan to work so selflessly to try to stay off a complete meltdown are surely going to be detrimentally affected by this, either in the very short term, or the longer term, from so much radiation exposure. Yet they have voluntarily stayed when everyone else was evacuated.

Here is a recent blog post I read that says it well…

Fukushima, Japan (NEWSTABULOUS) –
The Fukushima 50 and prayers are the only things that can save us from lethal nuclear disaster at this point.

After the largest earthquake Japan has seen since 1900, at a magnitude 9.0, and subsequent tsunami on March 11th, knocking out the power grid for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Japan’s northeast coast, there has been problem after problem, disaster after disaster at the plant.

…It was just reported on the television that if things don’t get under control in the next few hours, there’s nothing more that can be done to contain this nuclear meltdown. The only thing that stands between us and this imminent danger is the Fukushima 50….

They must breathe through respirators, and carry oxygen tanks on their backs. The “protective suits” can only protect from so much. …Amidst extreme criticism for Tokyo Electric Power Co, Tepco, and losing trust for authorities, the people of Japan have chosen their heroes wisely, should there be a meltdown or not. These nameless & faceless workers, at this point, are being true to humanity and doing everything humanly possible to save us from nuclear disaster.

Some of the Fukushima 50 are volunteers, some have been called in. All of them are extremely courageous and selfless. They have become our front-line soldiers or storm troopers in the middle of this potential catastrophe.

God be with them!

I feel like we should all stand and face west toward Japan and raise our heartfelt salute to The Fukushima 50 who, quite literally, are probably giving their lives so the rest of their loved ones and citizens can live!

When I read and hear about The Fukushima 50, it makes me realize how selfish I am living my life. Most of the time I act and think as if my life is my own to live for what I want when I want it.

But what about those who are lost all around me? I, of all people, who believe the gospel and the reality of the judgment to come of which Japan’s earthquakes and tsunami is only a small foreshadowing sign. I need to remember that self sacrifice out of love for others is what the gospel is all about.

This is what Jesus did for me. And what I must imitate.

Ephesians 4:32–5:2 TNIV
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

1 John 3:16 TNIV
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”

There is a real sense in which I need to see my life like The Fukushima 50. My life is a sacrifice of love and service to care for and enable others to have life in Christ—both non-Christians who have yet to believe, and those who are Christians now and they could benefit spiritually and emotionally and personally from my love and service and help. Or just being more selfless in my marriage, my family, my friendships, my fellow workers, the lady in the minivan in front of me going 35 in a 50, etc.

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