Greeting by Masaaki-sama
Grand Ancestor Service
August 3–4, 2019
As we saw in the video just now, I accompanied Kyoshu-sama on his missionary trip to Brazil.
As with all of you in Japan, I came in contact with the strong faith of those in Brazil and was very moved.
In the course of various happenings in the church from the year before last through last year, I believe that all of you here in Japan were uneasy with things like the unreliable information swirling around.
And Brazil is the farthest country from Japan, directly opposite of us. In a place far removed from here, I believe those in Brazil held feelings of unease, just like all of you or perhaps even more.
In the midst of that, I believe that those in Brazil stood up, just like all of you, believing in this one point that “Meishu-sama conveys his will through Kyoshu-sama.”
In the video, there was a gratitude report from a woman, Ms. Conceicao. She said that she stood up by herself in a situation where there was no one around her who held the same thinking as her.
I listened to her story, and if it were Japan, I thought of everyone in Toho no Hikari Group. All of you from the group had no support around you, and, even having been assailed from all sides, I believe you stood up with courage believing that “I want to walk with Kyoshu-sama, I want to receive Meishu-sama’s true will!”
And there was a report from a man, Mr. Leonardo Seneda. It was a talk about how he was the center head of a Johrei center but was removed from his position by Brazil’s Sekai Kyusei Kyo (IMMB or Igreja Messianica Mundial do Brasil). However, many members sided with him and left the center.
Were this in Japan, I thought about how this would be Izunome Group’s many church heads, Johrei center heads and staff ministers as well as the members connected to them who left Izunome Kyodan. Those in Brazil experienced the same thing.
And something I believe we must not forget is that this time’s missionary visit to Brazil by Kyoshu-sama was made possible because of those at Su no Hikari Kyodan led by Rev. Narii, President of the church.
In Brazil, members stood up and were able to welcome Kyoshu-sama. In Japan, those at Izunome Group and Toho no Hikari Group stood up, making today’s grand service, as well as the advancement of faith activities, possible. I believe this, too, is because of those at Su no Hikari Kyodan.
I believe this is something that we can by no means forget.
The church guideline of Su no Hikari Kyodan, “Fully follow Kyoshu-sama’s example and his messages,” was seen as a problem by the illegitimate Board of Executive Directors of Sekai Kyusei Kyo umbrella corporation. From last year, they continue to one-sidedly assert that Su no Hikari Kyodan is no longer a part of Sekai Kyusei Kyo.
Even in those circumstances, everyone at Su no Hikari Kyodan, completely unshaken by these events, continues their unwavering stance. I believe that owing to them, the missionary visit to Brazil was realized, and Izunome Group and Toho no Hikari Group could also exist.
At the same time, I have been thinking. At this past Paradise on Earth Service, the “Hallelujah” chorus offering that Meishu-sama was wishing for for a long time came to fruition by the efforts of many members. Also, Meishu-sama said that “World Church of Messiah will work in concert with Christianity.” And then, how even in the middle of the symptoms of a brain stroke, Meishu-sama said he was “born anew as the Messiah.” He became a prototype for all humanity. All of humanity must do the same thing as Meishu-sama did – one must be born anew as the Messiah – the prototype he left for us.
Meishu-sama – the one who said that we would work in concert with Christianity to save all humanity. Meishu-sama – the one who was newly born as the Messiah, as a prototype for humanity. This Meishu-sama’s will has been condensed into the leaflet that we are using now.
As such, through Kyoshu-sama, Meishu-sama is now conveying his true will to us. This is not an imaginary story. Now, by our hands, it is realistically taking form, advancing piece by piece.
Kyoshu-sama often says, “Meishu-sama takes the lead.” What I imagine when I hear these words is Meishu-sama as the skipper of a boat, standing at the head and guiding us to where we should be.
I believe that Meishu-sama is at the port saying, “The time has come. I will set sail.” And I believe that we all jumped on. I believe we made the decision to jump on. That is, the members of Japan, the members of Brazil and I are the same.
When we think about these things, there are matters like which organization we belong to. While those certainly exist, I believe we need to go beyond that, go beyond “I am part of Su no Hikari Kyodan,” “I am part of Izunome Group,” or “I am part of Toho no Hikari Group.” Or “I am Japanese,” “I am Brazilian” – I believe we need to go beyond all of this and go forward with Meishu-sama’s true wish of saving all humanity.
It is most humbling, but the time has come to materialize what Meishu-sama is truly wishing for, piece by piece, with our own hands. The time to truly save humanity has come. I believe that Meishu-sama is entrusting us with this task.
From here on too, there may be various difficulties. I believe it will be a path with ups and downs, laughter and tears. However, I would like to always walk together with Kyoshu-sama who receives Meishu-sama’s will and together with all of you, the members.
For me, this missionary trip to Brazil was one I was strongly able to feel this. And now, seeing this video with all of you, I feel this even more.
Today is the Grand Ancestor Service, and so I would like to speak a little about what Kyoshu-sama has been guiding us on ancestors.
As all of you know, for many years, Kyoshu-sama has been guiding us about how our ancestors have been forgiven, saved and thus revived. I am sure that we have thought, what does this mean exactly?
That is, as we usually hear the word “karma,” it is said that we have the karma from our various ancestors, that those ancestors are not yet forgiven and saved, and because they have that karma, we must pray, pacify and hold services for them. We have thought that is why we have the mitamaya in our homes.
And so, when we hear “our ancestors have been forgiven, saved and revived,” depending on the person, some may say “then why do we even pray at the mitamaya? Is the mitamaya even necessary?” There may be those who think this.
However, I don’t think Kyoshu-sama is trying to say that. Whether our ancestors are saved or not, whether they are forgiven or not, I believe, all comes down to whether we, ourselves, who are the sum total of our ancestors and who are one body with our ancestors, are forgiven, saved and revived, or not.
Do we and our ancestors still live in the age of night and are ones that still need to be forgiven or not? Or do we now live in the age of day and are existences filled with the light of God or not? I think it is one of those two. This is the most important point.
Then what is Meishu-sama saying?
Meishu-sama wrote in a hymn,
“Miserable are you, the lost sheep. / Why do you not realize? / Look. / The long-standing age of night has already passed!”
He said that the long age of night has gone, that the age of night is over and that miserable are the people who do not know this. In this way, Meishu-sama clearly said that the long-standing age of night has already ended.
And he also said, “The time of the suffering of this earthly world has already ended.” We believed for a long time, and still believe, that this earthly world was and is a world of suffering – we live in a world of suffering, that is, the age of night. However, Meishu-sama is saying that this period has already ended.
Rather, Meishu-sama says that the sun is already out. He says the sun that forgives sins is already out. And next, it is whether you open the door or not. He says that a world of forgiveness, a world filled with light, has already arrived. Next, does each and every one of us open the door or not? Do we recognize that we are existences that have been forgiven or not? That is all that there is.
But whether we recognize it or not, the truth is that the light that forgives sin is out. Meishu-sama had said this and now, Kyoshu-sama is also teaching this to us.
For sin to be forgiven means, in simple words, “not guilty” or “sinless.” God is now declaring to us, “You are not guilty!” Us, all of humanity, our ancestors, have been pronounced cleared of sin.
Usually in a trial, when a decision of “not guilty” is reached, the defendant feels a joy so great that they break down crying on the spot. However, if we were told now, “You are not guilty,” would we feel that much joy? Even though we are cleared of sin, all of humanity is cleared of sin, our ancestors are cleared of sin, and we have been declared “not guilty,” do we understand how grave this matter is? Do we feel joy? We can’t help but say we don’t, can we?
Why that is so is because we have no perception of the depths of our sins. I believe it is because we have no awareness of being sinners. And so even when we hear “not guilty,” we simply think, “Oh, we’re not guilty…okay…,” or “The time of the suffering of this world has already ended. We are living existences that have been forgiven and saved…okay…,” and thus the matter passes by as such, doesn’t it?
I believe this shows just how much we are not able to realize the depths of our own sins, that we ourselves are sinners.
Meishu-sama wrote a hymn that reads,
“Whenever I go into Your bosom / And kneel before You, / My eyes are filled with tears. / O God! You who have delivered me / And saved my body and soul!”
Whenever he goes into the bosom of God and kneels before Him, his eyes are filled with tears. He is saying that his eyes are filled with tears thinking about his circumstances, that he is saved.
We hear from Kyoshu-sama saying, “You are forgiven and saved,” but do we actually shed tears? We are told that the time of suffering of this world has ended – do we shed tears? We do not, do we? And so there, I believe we, ourselves, carry a conceited self, an arrogant self toward God.
And so that is why I believe that God is doing all He can now to guide us to have thoughts like Meishu-sama.
For that reason, in our daily lives, through all kinds of human relationships, we distress, we suffer, we are conflicted, we think that person is detestable, we are jealous, we have angry feelings – we are made to feel various feelings. Or through the news, we are shown the various conditions of humanity.
God is saying to us, “You may not know the depths of your own sins and your eyes may not fill with tears when you are told you are not guilty, but this is how you were. I forgave you and your ancestors for how you were.”
So it is not about whether others are good or bad. It is through knowing this that, truly, if you can think, even if just a little, “Ah, so this state of mine being a sinner has been forgiven,” then I think we may be able to feel a small part of what Meishu-sama spoke of, that he felt he was saved and his eyes filled with tears whenever he knelt before God.
But for us, it is hard to think about these things all the time, isn’t it? It is difficult to always think about our ancestors or God. After all, we must earn a living, or various things need to be done in our daily lives.
That is why God prepared in form the mitamaya for us. So while we think about the various issues that arise in our daily lives, trouble with our neighbor, having an illness, the various thoughts and feelings we have toward people, or the things we see on the news and are made to feel, we can face the mitamaya in the mornings and evenings, at the very least, and we can think on all those matters, “Ah, these kinds of things that my ancestors who are within me did or felt were forgiven,” or “Ancestors, let’s receive God’s light of forgiveness together!” We can think these things as we face the mitamaya.
Even regarding the Divine Scroll (Goshintai), of course, God is within us, but to always think that is difficult. And that is why when we face the scroll in the mornings, evenings or other times, we can think, “God is within me,” or “Great divine light (or Daikomyo – the word of Meishu-sama written on the divine scrolls that we currently use), the light of forgiveness, is within me.”
Toward Meishu-sama’s picture, we can think, “Meishu-sama is within me,” or “Meishu-sama, who received the name of Messiah, and the name of Messiah itself are within me.”
And so when we face the mitamaya, I believe we can think, “Ancestors, together, let us receive the forgiveness embedded in the name of Messiah.”
In this way, I believe having a mitamaya in a concrete form is really important, especially now that we have a mitamaya with a renewed design. If we do not have a mitamaya at home, it is rather difficult to remember our ancestors, to receive forgiveness together and to create an opportunity to interact with them.
And so when Kyoshu-sama explains that our ancestors have been forgiven, saved and thus revived, in no way does it mean that it is unnecessary to pray at the mitamaya.
I believe that a mitamaya with a form is truly important for us in order to interact with our ancestors who are within us and, together, receive God’s forgiveness.
Also, when we receive the mitamaya, we often end up receiving it with the thought that it is the mitamaya only of our own family line. However, in actuality, through your own father and mother, grandfather and grandmother, great-grandfather and great-grandmother, all of humanity is linked.
So when you face the mitamaya, do not just think about your close ancestors and say something like, “Grandfather, you may have done something like such and such, but you have been forgiven.” Rather, “Ah, not only my grandfather. There may be those within the ancestors of all humanity who also had similar sufferings.” And so I believe it is necessary to think, “Ancestors of all humanity, together, let us receive the forgiveness in the name of Messiah.”
If we can come to think in this way regarding the mitamaya in our homes, rather than our own family’s mitamaya or so-and-so’s family’s mitamaya or a small matter such as these, it would be “all of humanity’s ancestors are here. I’ve been given the chance to interact with all of them through it.”
“The forgiveness of God” in one phrase means “the love of God.” The love of God is the forgiveness of God.
In truth, love can “forgive what is unforgiveable,” which is why it is called “love.” To forgive something that is forgivable is not love. Humans often forgive within their own permissible range of forgiveness, love what they are able to love, and in this way we truly live self-centered lives. As such, human love is not true love. Love that forgives what is unforgiveable – humans can never have this kind of love.
The love of God, as it is also said in the Zengen Sanji prayer as “immense and limitless great mercy,” is something unfathomable. That is the love of God. To forgive that which is unforgiveable is the love of God.
We, our ancestors and all of humanity, too, were “those who were unforgiveable.” We were those who were unforgiveable, but by God’s immeasurable love, He forgave the “unforgiveable” us. He unilaterally forgave us. It is not because we did something good or we deserved it, rather, even though we were unforgiveable and we were sinners, God unilaterally forgave us.
At today’s Grand Ancestor Service, I would like to receive this love of God together with all of you and together with our ancestors. And from here on too, I would like to serve together with all of you in this limitless, deep love of God. Thank you.