On October 8, with clear blue skies, Su no Hikari Kyodan and Izunome Group jointly held the Grand Autumn Service at the Intex Osaka. Including attendees from France and Greece, approximately 5,300 people gathered for the service.
After 9am, charter buses arrived one after another at the parking lot. The number exceeded over 50 buses. Without a hint of fatigue and in high and proud spirits, members were seen heading towards the venue.
Around the venue, a surging crowd of those who came to attend from afar formed a long line at the entrance before 11am and became a lively crowd.
The service began at 1pm. Kyoshu-sama, who served as officiant, and the assistant officiant entered and took their seats on the altar that was created for that day. Under the lead of Kyoshu-sama, all attendees stood and prayed the Amatsu Norito and Zengen Sanji. The venue was enveloped with voices praising God and Meishu-sama.
Next, five tanka poems that were selected from a pool of 212 poem offerings were sung in sonorous voices. After the teaching “Materialization of the prophecy of the kingdom of heaven” was heard, Kyoshu-sama channeled Johrei.
Rev. Narii, president of Su no Hikari, took the podium. First, he addressed the subject of Masaaki-sama’s visit to Germany, representing Kyoshu-sama. He expressed that rather than regarding it as an event that occurred far away overseas, it was a visit that took place within all people.
He also touched upon going forward on the path of this entirely new faith under the guidance of Kyoshu-sama and said, “Could there be a faith greater in Sekai Kyusei Kyo than this? …With Kyoshu-sama at the lead, in the name of Messiah, which is one with Meishu-sama, today, I offer my resolve to make efforts in the learning and practicing of this entirely new faith.”
Next, a video showing a glimpse of Masaaki-sama’s visit to Germany representing Kyoshu-sama from August 28 through September 5 was presented. As attendees enjoyed the video showing Masaaki-sama visiting places such as the Buchenwald concentration camp and a refugee camp with members who gathered from around the world, as well as their participation in the Frankfurt Church’s Monthly Appreciation Service combined with Youth Conference, they deeply felt that worldwide missionary work had indeed reached a new phase of divine work.
Next, Masaaki-sama took the podium. First, he said that it was owning to the members of Japan who took a stand in order to protect Kyoshu-sama and Meishu-sama’s true divine work, that he was able to visit Germany. He expressed his feelings, saying, “Although I went representing all of you, I would like to take this chance once again, to thank all of you who prepared this opportunity. Thank you so much.”
He also mentioned that it was owing to Kyoshu-sama that he was able to meet Meishu-sama and walk on the path of faith. He said, “I believe that Japan’s youth members are the same. When I was in Germany, I thought that their spirit of faith was truly a treasure for the future of the church and I saw that their spirit of faith was handed down by all of you.
In that way, I would like to take this opportunity, as a representative of my generation, as a representative of youth members, to say thank you to all of you.”
Furthermore, having visited Germany, he said that he had even more conviction in Meishu-sama’s most important teaching, “to be born anew as a Messiah,” Meishu-sama’s good news of salvation; salvation that not just people of Japan but also people of the world are waiting for. “With the truth that Meishu-sama left for us and together with Kyoshu-sama who succeeded that truth, no matter what may happen, I would like to join together not just with my generation but with everyone and offer my life to God’s great divine work.” And thus, voiced out his strong determination.
Next, testimonials were shared by a member from Su no Hikari Kyodan and a member from Izunome Group, both of whom participated in the Youth Group Trip to Germany. Each presented their own learnings and realizations about God’s will embedded in the holy name of Messiah, drawing out the emotions of the service attendees.
Then, in the thunder of applause, Kyoshu-sama took the podium. First, he guided us by saying that the will of the one and only God is to bear children in His likeness and to live together with them.
And even though we now breath on this earth, we belong to heaven. Wherever we are, whatever we do, we are always “citizens of heaven” and God permits us to have our sense of self so that each one of us can serve in His work of having us be born anew as Messiahs and making all humanity His children.
He also touched upon how the name of Messiah was deeply important to Meishu-sama and said, “Through Meishu-sama, God let us know the most precious and holy name of Messiah. With great awe, fear and joy, I would like to receive this name together with all of you and attribute all glory to God.”
Still further, he referred to the teaching of the Grand Autumn Service entitled, “Materialization of the prophecy of the kingdom of heaven.” It is because of our work of constructing an earthly heaven at the center of each one of our consciousnesses that the prophecy of Jesus Christ proves to be true. We are here to serve in this will of God and accomplish it. He brought his message to a close by calling on everyone, “Receiving and responding to the will of God, we aim to be born anew as children of God, as Messiahs, and live with Him in heaven. In other words, we must aim ‘to construct an earthly paradise at the center of each one of our consciousnesses.’ With this aim firmly engraved into our hearts and together with everything and everyone, let us serve in the new phase of salvation that Meishu-sama has shown to us!”
Afterwards, together with the Su no Hikari Kyodan and Izunome Group Mixed Chorus, all attendees sang “Divine Light Hymn” and “Goin’ Home,” with lyrics written by Kyoshu-sama. With the deep emotion of being united with the love of God and singing at the top of one’s voice with the determination of returning to the heaven of our beginning, all were reluctant to part as the service came to an end.
Taking into our hearts the joy and learnings received from God at the service and the mighty hope of being born anew as a Messiah, service attendees departed from the venue pledging anew to walk as a true follower of Meishu-sama.
On this day, member of the House of Councilors, Kunihiko Muroi also rushed to the service to attend. Before the service, he met with Kyoshu-sama, his wife Mayumi-sama and Masaaki-sama in the anteroom and received words of deep encouragement.
Afterwards, Kyoshu-sama and his family made their way for a visit to Shiga Prefecture.