Conflict and peace. In Hiroshima there is a peace park dedicated to promoting peace following the terrible aftermath of the A bomb devastation. One special memorial is the children’s monument which was built using money from a fund-raising campaign by Japanese school children, including classmates of Sadako Sasaki. She had an idea to create 1000 paper cranes. Japanese tradition says that if someone creates a thousand cranes, they are granted one wish. Sadako's wish was to have a world without nuclear weapons. She suffered from radiation poisoning and sadly died from leukaemia in 1955.
On top of the monument is a statue of Sadako. Inside the monument is a brass crane and a peace bell. On its base is a prayer.
"This is our cry, this is our prayer: for building peace in the world".
Today, people all around the world have the opportunity to donate cranes that they have folded in honour of Sadako. School children come and place paper cranes around the memorial, sing and pray. The paper crane is a symbol of peace. They are made in all sorts of colours and sizes, reminding everyone of the peace wish of one little girl. Nowadays the paper cranes are recycled into useful paper products which are sold in the museum shop.
In church are instructions for making a paper crane, to take away and have a go at home. If this sounds a bit daunting feel free to take a paper crane from the collection that has already been made. And then keep it within sight for the whole of this month as a reminder every day to pray for peace. Pray in your own way. You may like to use this prayer as well.
O God of peace,
Let there be true peace in our homes, our churches, and our world.
Make me a peacemaker wherever I go,
That every step I take, and every day I live,
Peace may be my gift to the world, as it was yours.
Susan Durber URC prayer handbook 2019