The Prayer for World Peace and Grand Ancestor Service was held at the Atami Zuiun-kyo Sacred Grounds Su no Hikari Headquarters Altar Room from August 3rd thru 5th—over three days with morning and afternoon services on each day—a total of six services.

It was the first time that Izunome Group received Kyoshu-sama’s presence at the Su no Hikari Kyodan Headquarters. In this service, also attended by Kyoshu-sama’s wife Mayumi-sama and Masaaski-sama, a total of approximately 3,800 people from all over the country came to worship over the three days.

In placing importance on absolute spiritual hierarchy—from God to Meishu-sama, then Kyoshu-sama and continuing on—Izunome Group members determined to seek Meishu-sama’s teachings, his will and wishes through Kyoshu-sama’s guidance and gathered at the Sacred Grounds. And so, as one might expect, it was a service filled with enthusiasm.

10:30 am, start of morning service. 1:30 pm, start of afternoon service.

First, the Prayer for World Peace Service was held in front of the Sacred Altar. After Kyoshu-sama, serving as Officiant, entered the altar room, the Opening Prayer for the Prayer for World Peace Service was read by the Assistant Officiant. Kyoshu-sama offered the pine branch (symbol of our appreciation) to God and was followed by President Shirasawa. Then, everyone prayed the Amatsu Norito with Kyoshu-sama leading, followed by the singing of Meishu-sama’s hymns.

Next, the Grand Ancestor Service was held in front of the Ancestral Shrine, beginning with the reading of the Opening Prayer. Kyoshu-sama offered the pine branch to the ancestors, followed by President Shirasawa. Everyone prayed the Zengen Sanji (Prayer for Paradise on Earth) with Kyoshu-sama leading, followed by the singing of Meishu-sama’s hymns.

Then President Shirasawa stood to give a greeting and mentioned the damage caused by the heavy rains in western Japan. He expressed words of gratitude for the relief donations received from all over the country and called on everyone’s continued support.

He also brought up the Opening Prayer for the Grand Ancestor Service. In it, he said that it “expressed what should be the most important basic posture of not just us Sekai Kyusei Kyo members, but of humankind, in accordance with the profound will of God. And so here and now, I would like to once again think deeply on this Opening Prayer, and thoroughly take it in,” and read aloud the entire prayer.

In the end, he reported to everyone of Masaaki-sama’s visit to Europe. Upon his accepting an invitation from the ministers in Europe, Masaaki-sama will be attending the Youth Conference held at the church in Frankfurt, Germany on September 2. Approximately 40 youth from Japan will be participating in the conference as part of a Youth Group Trip to Germany. At that moment, Masaaki-sama stood and nodded to the congregation. President Shirasawa called out to him, “Bon voyage!” and he replied, “Good bye!” as he jokingly made for the exit, enveloping the room with laughter.

Next, Kyoshu-sama took the podium, beginning with the words, “Last month, heavy rains in Japan caused extensive damage, especially in the western regions. Just a moment ago at the service, together with everyone, I surrendered to God in the name of Messiah, which is one with Meishu-sama, my prayer that restoration and reconstruction may move forward smoothly and that together with those who were victim to the heavy rains and everyone who was affected by it, we may be welcomed into God’s heaven as ones who have been forgiven and granted eternal life.”

He also said, “Recently, Meishu-sama made me realize one thing. Before, I always had thought that the Practice of Sonen – the practice of surrendering to God various feelings and thoughts that appear in our mind – was the work of saving something that had happened in the past – the salvation of the past. However, I have realized that everything God does is for the future, the salvation of the future. He uses the past, the present and the future to create a new future – this is His work of creation. God is the God of the Future.” Then he continued, “Let us call out to God, ‘I thank You, God! You are using me and all my ancestors for Your Future of making all things new!’”

Still more, he spoke about the third hymn that was sung that day: I tell you, my people: Repent and be prepared! This is how you survive the end of the world with ease.

He pointed out that “Meishu-sama is urging us to admit that we are sinful, to repent and accept the pardon of God in the name of Messiah.” And he said, “God sent Meishu-sama to the world and let us recall the name of Messiah through him. How great, deep and unfailing the love of God is! We must respond to His love and serve in it. For that, we must receive God’s forgiveness that is in the holy name of Messiah. Then, we will be able to take part in God’s creative work of making a new future and making all things new. With Meishu-sama leading us, let us serve God with one heart, unwaveringly.”

And on the final day in the afternoon service (Aug. 5), Kyoshu-sama expressed words of appreciation at the end of his message to the members who dedicated themselves at the service for three days and gave a round of applause.

After all the attendees sang “Divine Light Hymn” and “Goin’ Home” (lyrics set by Kyoshu-sama) in loud voices, President Shirasawa once again took hold of the microphone. He announced that August 3rd was Mayumi-sama’s birthday and presented her with a surprise bouquet of flowers.

When Mayumi-sama accepted the bouquet, with tears in her eyes, she said, “Thank you so much. I am so touched. President Shirasawa just mentioned this was an expression of everyone’s gratitude. But for me, I feel it is entirely because all of you who walk together with Kyoshu-sama with the same spirit that an opportunity for me to say thank you has been prepared for me—for that I am truly, truly grateful. Thank you very much. And I believe that it is because all of you walk together with Kyoshu-sama with the same spirit that Masaaki, who is very kind and sometimes strict, along with his wife, who suits him so well, can walk together with us. I am truly thankful. All of you who walk together with Kyoshu-sama with the same spirit from here on, I, too, will go forward with all of you.”

Comments about the service from attendees include, “Just as if we were family, there was a sense of closeness to Kyoshu-sama in the service.” “As I was listening to Kyoshu-sama’s message, I understood that Kyoshu-sama is sincerely facing Meishu-sama and is earnest about faith in Meishu-sama. I truly felt sorry for MOA and Izunome Kyodan and their judging Kyoshu-sama.”

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