Eastern Japan Region
On July 21, under the presence of Kyoshu-sama, his wife Mayumi-sama, and Masaaki-sama, the Membership Meeting in the Eastern Japan Region was held at Saitama Hall. Previously, World Church of Messiah Headquarters held the Grand Lecture Meeting at Saitama Hall, with President Okusa and Rev. Katsutoshi Egawa having given lectures. It is a place of history.
After making the decision to hold this time’s Membership Meeting at Saitama Hall, members came to know this previous historical fact and felt the deep significance of participating.
The meeting began at 11am with Kyoshu-sama leading the Amatsu Norito prayer. After receiving Johrei from Kyoshu-sama, Rev. Takahara, Regional Director, addressed Kyoshu-sama with words of appreciation for his presence and said, “The year before last in November was 18 years after the Inauguration of the Fourth Spiritual Leader, Kyoshu-sama, on February 4, 1998. We, the members of the Eastern Japan Region, all were able to welcome the long-awaited Kyoshu-sama. And in our gratitude and joy, we pledged to make it the goal of all of our practices to know the essence of Meishu-sama’s teachings through your messages and to be born anew as a true child of God. Today, through the message we receive from you, we now pledge here anew to go forward, with great hope and purpose, on the path of recalling the true God, the parent of our lives, and being born anew as a true child of God, a Messiah, through Meishu-sama.”
After Ms. Sakuma, member representative of Friends of Light Group of the Eastern Japan Region, explained the purpose of the Membership Meeting, President Shirasawa took the podium. He said, “All of you have established Friends of Light Group (group of members who share the same thoughts and feelings as Kyoshu-sama). You have gone forward uniting together under Kyoshu-sama based on each and every single one of your beliefs. The sincerity of everyone’s faith and many members’ thoughts and feelings all around the country became a big surge to open a new path for the establishment of Izunome Group permitted by God. I am truly thankful for it.”
He also spoke of the situation surrounding Kyoshu-sama and Izunome Group and predicted the movements of Toho no Hikari (MOA) and the executives under Mr. Kobayashi in the days ahead. Then he boldly called on everyone: “Hereafter, let us receive Kyoshu-sama and Masaaki-sama, who guide us to an entirely new faith that Meishu-sama is teaching us, the faith of ‘being born anew as a Messiah.’ Let us walk together with them wherever they may go and let us serve in this new phase of divine work. “And together with all of humanity, all ancestors, and all things, let us become one with the name of Messiah, which is one with Meishu-sama and respond to the call of God, the parent of our lives. Through this, let us be used in the sacred work of the true salvation of humanity and construction of Paradise on Earth.”
After the presentation of the faith experience, Kyoshu-sama took the platform. Kyoshu-sama said,
“With assistance and support from Su no Hikari Kyodan (Church of the Light of the Lord), I am certain that Izunome Group will fulfill its mission entrusted by Meishu-sama. From here on, I myself am determined to move forward with Izunome Group and with President Michio Shirasawa whom I trust.” He also spoke about looking back on his life and how he believed in a God who existed somewhere quite far and distant from himself. He came to know the existence of God through reading the teachings and through practicing Johrei. His image of God was very vague, especially because he could not hear His voice nor see His form. How his prayer, gratitude, faith and practice had been selfish and human-centered. But Meishu-sama came into this world and opened our hearts, and made us realize that we were human-centered, selfish and not obedient to God. At the same time, Meishu-sama taught us that the light of God is within us and that our life is in fact the life of God. He urged us to realize that our true mission is to serve God’s wishes and not human wishes. Kyoshu-sama guided us saying, “God, out of His love and grace, decided to forgive all of our shortcomings, all of our human-centered ways, and all of our disobedient hearts so that we could be His children. How deep is the love of God!”
Furthermore, he said we should not just rely and depend on Meishu-sama and pray for ourselves. We have come to this world to follow Meishu-sama – to follow Meishu-sama and be born once more as true children of God. And he said, “It is up to each one of us to decide whether we want to live on this path set by God and Meishu-sama. Even if you feel that you cannot make this decision, ask God to make you be able to grow into ones who can make this decision. Nobody can make this decision for you. Each one of us has to make up our own mind, by our own will, to accept this truth – the truth that we are born into this world to become true children of God.”
In conclusion, he talked about the first thing Meishu-sama uttered when he announced the birth of Messiah, “‘On my part, I have become much younger.’ He did not just say, ‘I have become much younger,’ but he included the words ‘on my part.’ I believe that Meishu-sama was casting a question to us, ‘how about on your part? Have you become younger like me?’” Then he called on the congregation, “Has anyone voiced out a reply to Meishu-sama? Have we told him that we also were able to become younger thanks to Meishu-sama? Let us respond to Meishu-sama now, shall we?”
From the venue, voicing out loudly with Kyoshu-sama, came, “On my part, I have become much younger, too! Thank you, Meishu-sama!” with a big round of applause.
After he ended his message, applause continued for quite a while, giving a strong impression of how long the members were waiting for Kyoshu-sama’s presence.
The meeting continued with a declaration of determination by a member and then the singing of Divine Light Hymn and Goin’ Home (lyrics written by Kyoshu-sama) together with a chorus group. Members here and there shed tears as they sang.
After the end of the service, Kyoshu-sama, his wife Mayumi-sama and Masaaki-sama exchanged handshakes with the participants and personally expressed words of appreciation to them.
From this day, comments expressing joy came from participating members including, “I’m glad that I made the decision to leave Izunome Kyodan and instead follow Kyoshu-sama (Izunome Group)” and “It was a wonderful gathering.”
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