Congratulations, everyone, on the September Monthly Service.
Even though the 7th month midpoint (Aug 23, one of the 24 solar terms in the traditional East Asian lunisolar calendar when “heat withdraws”) has already passed, extreme heat continues and numerous typhoons have again emerged bringing heavy damage to various regions of Japan. Even in those circumstances, all of you came from various parts of the country to attend the service. I’m glad to see all of you at this Sacred Grounds!
Also, with considerable amount of cooperation and effort we received from everyone at Su no Hikari Kyodan, we were able to bring today’s service into realization. I sincerely thank Rev. Narii, President and all the staff members.
Just now, with Kyoshu-sama having written the Opening Prayer and selected the hymns and teaching, the service was solemnly allowed to take place. I am truly thankful for this and offer my gratitude to God and Meishu-sama.
And after this monthly service, the Fifth-Year Memorial Service for Itsuki Okada, the third spiritual leader (Sandai Kyoshu-sama), combined with the monthly Ancestors Service will take place. Let us remember Sandai-sama’s motherly warmth, her affection and guidance to us members. Together with all of you, I’d like to offer my gratitude to her.
Just a moment ago, we heard from [AM] Ms. Mineko Ohsugi from the Tsurumai Church in the Chubu Region. [PM] Mr. Yoshio Watanabe from the Ohmiya Church in the Eastern Japan Region. In their faith experiences, they reported on the important realizations they received, the practices in their daily life and the joy they felt in awakening to an entirely new faith through Kyoshu-sama’s guidance. I reported to God these experiences as experiences we each received from God. Thank you.
Now, starting with the Hokuriku-Kansai Region, Kyoshu-sama has visited all regions to be present at Membership Meetings, gathering members that share the same spirit as Kyoshu-sama. In order for us to move forward in this new phase of divine work, he provided important guidance to us members.
I believe that everyone experienced Kyoshu-sama up close and were enveloped in the deep emotion they felt in each and every word that sank into their hearts. In order for us, the members of Izunome Group, to move forward in this entirely new phase of divine work, let us be sure to learn, deepen and practice Kyoshu-sama’s guidance.
And on August 19 in Osaka, the Ohikari Receiving Ceremony for the Hokuriku-Kansai Region was held. In this ceremony, 55 new members were presented with the Ohikari or Sacred Focal Point by Kyoshu-sama himself, which until now has not happened before. I, myself, until then, could not even imagine being able to receive the Ohikari directly from Kyoshu-sama. For that very reason, being present there, I felt the glow of deep emotion in my heart.
Kyoshu-sama read aloud and confirmed each and every person’s name, “Mr. or Ms. ___ ?” and presented the Ohikari. It is easy to imagine the deep emotion felt by of course those who became new members but also those who guided and cared for them.
From here on, every other month, even at the altar of this Sacred Grounds, the Ohikari Receiving Ceremony will be held under Kyoshu-sama’s presence. This month’s ceremony is scheduled for the 16th. And in each region, ceremonies are being planned, in which Kyoshu-sama will be attending and presenting Ohikari at each and every one of them.
I’d like to take this opportunity for us to once again think about the character “hikari” (光 light) written by Meishu-sama in the Ohikari, the Sacred Focal Point, that rests around our neck.
Regarding this, Kyoshu-sama gives us the following guidance. He indicated that “Our Sacred Focal Points are lasting and powerful reminders that your life is one with the eternal life of God and that you, within you, possess the everlasting Light of God.” (Meishu-sama’s Birthday Service, 2012)
He also gave the following guidance:
Meishu-sama let us know this pardon from God through the Transition from Night to Day. This transition has already been completed. God already accomplished the transition, pardoned us without exception and brought back everything into His glorious heaven. How fortunate we are that we, who abandoned Him, have come to know this transition and the pardon of God!
The true light of God is His pardon. Each one of us is already abundantly filled with His true light. Yet, is it not our habit to want more light when we receive Johrei or when we visit a Johrei center, a church or the Sacred Grounds? We think this not because we lack light but we, in fact, are completely filled with it.
Or is it not also our way of thinking to try to impart light to others when we channel Johrei? We think this not because the recipients of Johrei lack light, but they, in fact, are completely filled with it. Light, that is, the pardon of God, is everywhere, and the whole of our body is brimming with it.
Johrei is the work of God Himself and the manifestation of God’s Will. Meishu-sama taught us this holy work not so that we channel light “out” to the recipient, but to channel light “back” to God. God is saying to us that He already filled the whole world and every single person with His light. If this is so, it would not be possible to impart or channel light “out” to others thinking the world needs more light, would it? We need to let go of our old understanding of what Johrei is. Through Johrei, God wants us to recognize that the light of Johrei has already reached everyone and everything completely, without exception. Through Johrei, God wants us to realize that, instead of imparting light to the world, we need to turn to God who is perfect and return to heaven where the source of light exists. We wear the Ohikari (literally meaning “light”) or the Sacred Focal Point to remember that the world is filled with the pardon of God, with His light. (Meishu-sama’s Birthday Service, 2016)
Until now, I had the understanding that having been granted the Ohikari, through Johrei and various other activities, I was sending light to the recipient, something that was to be shared with others. Also, we tend to understand Johrei as a treatment or cure and it is a fact that we channeled Johrei with the purpose of easing suffering.
However, Kyoshu-sama has guided us saying that God’s light has already reached all people. He said that in order to remind ourselves that God’s light has reached all people and all things, Meishu-sama granted us members with the Ohikari, the Sacred Focal Point.
My life is one with the eternal life of God. I was granted and already possess the everlasting Light of God within me. In order for us to keep this in mind and thus serve in God’s work of creation, that is, make all of humanity his children, Meishu-sama granted us the Ohikari. I renewed my gratitude to him.
From now on, we will be moving forward with something different from before, an entirely new way of holding the Ohikari Receiving Ceremony. Let us firmly take in the message we just heard from Kyoshu-sama and together, serve in the solemn work of the Ohikari Receiving Ceremony.
Now, we have lost churches and Johrei centers and are still facing various difficult situations. However, even if we lose centers, our hearts and minds have not changed. In the center of our being is God and with Kyoshu-sama in the forefront, I really feel this entirely new phase of divine work is rapidly accelerating.
Everyone, let’s join together with Kyoshu-sama and keep in mind our church motto, “In the name of Messiah, which is one with Meishu-sama, let us awaken to an entirely new faith” and from here on too, cheerfully, boldly go forward.
As it is written in the lyrics set by Kyoshu-sama of “Goin’ Home,” “Let us return together, to our home, to God’s home, to our true home,” let us all return to the heaven within us, our true home.
Also, today, September 2, Masaaki-sama is attending the Youth Conference, a gathering of the world’s youth, taking place in Frankfurt, Germany. There, to the Christian world, he will be conveying the true meaning of the name Messiah and in order to serve in God’s work together with everyone, he will be delivering an important message. I believe that we will be able to receive a report from him when he returns. Everyone, please look forward to it.
Also, starting yesterday (Sept. 1), Su no Hikari Kyodan removed the mihoro (curtain covering the interior) of the Ancestral Shrine in the Headquarters altar room. Meishu-sama teaches us that a human, each and every one, is the sum total of their ancestors.
Also, Meishu-sama wrote a hymn that reads:
I have realized this and want you to know –
To save all people is to teach them
The path of eternal life.
Despite that, for a long time, we regarded our ancestors as dead, a faraway existence. I feel truly sorry for this.
Kyoshu-sama has repeatedly provided us guidance, saying that our ancestors, too, are with God and live together with us. Through his guidance, we have been awakened to the fact that we and our ancestors are one existence. With this understanding, at this time, Su no Hikari Kyodan has removed the mihoro (covering) of their Ancestral Shrine with Kyoshu-sama’s consent.
Let us serve in God’s entirely new work of salvation, receiving the great love and forgiveness of God and His nurture for us to be born anew as a child of God, a Messiah.
To finish, I’d like to make three announcements.
This coming 8th of October at the Intex Osaka, the Grand Autumn Service will be taking place with Kyoshu-sama’s presence, together with members from Su no Hikari Kyodan. I await your presence.
Also, on November 4, the 30th Year Anniversary of the Korea Headquarters Membership Meeting will be taking place at the Korea Headquarters, having received the permission to have Kyoshu-sama’s presence. The members at the Korea Headquarters were one of the first to say they want to go forward together in spirit with Kyoshu-sama, clearly making their stance. In order to know the essence of Meishu-sama’s teachings through Kyoshu-sama’s messages, they are making efforts to practice and learn from his messages.
At the Korea Headquarters, they send daily excerpts of Kyoshu-sama’s messages via email so that members may continually be in contact with his messages in their daily lives, thus coming up with various ways to practice them. With the many Korean members who share the same will and for the 30th year anniversary celebration, I heard that representatives from different countries will be assembling. With the many members from Japan who will be attending, let us attend and celebrate together. We will confirm the details on a later date. Please stay tuned.
And finally, by the grace of God, Izunome Group’s Central Office has opened in the Daiichi Building in front of the Atami Station on the 8th floor. For the opening ceremony, Kyoshu-sama, his wife Mayumi-sama, Masaaki-sama, his wife Mami-sama and also their daughter, Mei-sama, were present. After the ribbon cutting and the prayer, all present received Johrei and a message from Kyoshu-sama conveying his hopes and encouragement to serve together in God’s work of creation.
From here on, we will advance forward with a broad range of office affairs supporting missionary work in each region and strengthening our ties with each church in countries around the world. It took a long time to finally launch but I am filled with deep gratitude for receiving the permission to have an office. All of us staff at the Central Office, together with all of you, are aiming towards an entirely new phase of divine work. Let us serve in one spirit with Kyoshu-sama. To the members, I ask for your continued support.
Let us all meet again at the Grand Autumn Service in Osaka. Thank you.