PDF file: 20210501_May Monthly Service_For I now know Your love_Masaaki-sama

 

Hello everyone.

I think it is not too much to say that the history of the Church is a history of conflict, that the path Sekai Kyusei Kyo has taken until today has been one of conflict.

As all of you know, after Meishu-sama’s ascension and during Sandai-sama’s time, there was of course the trial, but also a scramble for power over the Sacred Grounds, a scramble over churches and even times when the police were dispatched. After that, there was a temporary reconciliation, but power struggles over leadership continued. In the end, having Kyoshu-sama was inconvenient for some people, so they secretly followed him and the like, attempting to expel him.

We often use the phrase “Church purification.” If outsiders or God and Meishu-sama were to say to us, “Yes, this is a purification” or “This discord is actually for something good,” I could understand saying “Church purification.” But the conflict of Sekai Kyusei Kyo is the same as infighting—we are in no place to say, “This is a purification.”

For example, if a family is having a fight in their home and cause a nuisance to the people living around them, they wouldn’t normally and openly say, “This is a purification. It is for something good,” would they? I think they would be saying something like “I’m sorry for causing a nuisance because of my family’s fighting.”

As such, I have to say that the path of the Church has been a path of conflict.

What exactly would Meishu-sama say to us about all that? Here lies the important point.

There is a Sacred Word called “Daijo love,” and in it, Meishu-sama says that a religion that advocates love almost always has internal strife. He writes examples of the Crusaders in Europe or the Buddhist monks who became soldiers to fight each other during the medieval period in Japan.

The Crusaders were primarily Christians who waged a war against Islam in order to recapture Jerusalem. Strictly speaking, it was not a conflict within a religion. But within the large framework of the Judeo-Christian religion, it could be said as such.

And Meishu-sama said in this teaching that “If you have conflicts within your religion or with other religions, it means that you no longer possess the right to be a person of religion.”

What are we going to do with this?

We belong to Sekai Kyusei Kyo, right? Everybody thinks that the history of Sekai Kyusei Kyo is that of internal conflict.

What are we going to do with the above words of Meishu-sama?

So while we are fighting, or even now, we say things like “This is Meishu-sama’s will,” “I know Meishu-sama’s will” or “We are seeking Meishu-sama’s will” without even giving it much thought. But to be honest, since we already lost the right to be a person of religion, we have no right to even call on the name of Meishu-sama.

Or regarding the teachings or Sacred Word—we easily say things like “It says so in the teachings,” “This is not written in the teachings” or “Meishu-sama’s teachings originally meant this.” But since we no longer possess the right to be a person of religion, we actually have no right to even read the teachings of Meishu-sama. Did you know that?

We even say, “I am a follower of Meishu-sama,” as if it were a matter of fact. But since we are no longer people of religion, all of us members belonging to Sekai Kyusei Kyo, myself included, are in no position to even call ourselves followers of Meishu-sama.

And this is not just in Meishu-sama’s Sacred Word I just mentioned. I think people in society think the same thing. New religions, particularly in Japan, are looked at with suspicion. So if a new religion like ours is having an internal conflict, regardless of how much we assert we are right and the others are wrong, don’t you think people in society would think neither is right? Wouldn’t they think, “They say they’re a religion, but then they’re fighting. That doesn’t make sense”?

So we have various activities. Art activities, flower activities or activities that we say are good for society. But here’s what Meishu-sama says in one of his hymns:

“Pathetic are those who, / Even though they are wrapped in the clothes of culture, / Commit barbaric acts.”

Wouldn’t you say this is what we’ve become?

Regardless of how much we try to be like normal people and pretend we are “wrapped in the clothes of culture,” if our fellow followers of Meishu-sama committed the act of secretly following and filming someone, didn’t that prove that all of us followers of Meishu-sama are, without exception, barbaric people who commit horrible things?

Secretly following and filming Kyoshu-sama and his wife—do you think that you have nothing to do with this cowardly act? Yes, you do. Yes, we do. For that act was carried out by our fellow followers of Meishu-sama. That means it is the same as us having done it. We committed the same sin as those who actually did the act. No matter how much we try to wear the clothes of culture or try to be normal, in the end, our true nature is of one that secretly follows and films people, isn’t it? And since we have that kind of nature within us, didn’t Meishu-sama specifically have certain people manifest that nature for us and make them act the way they did? And through their actions, we were made to know our true nature.

But I am sure that within us, we’d like to think that we have nothing to do with such things. Maybe we don’t really know what happened thirty years ago during the Church purification with Sandai-sama, or we’d like to think that the act of secretly following and filming people is not related to us. But to this day, we have continued to have internal conflicts within the Church. For this, has anyone truly apologized to Meishu-sama, admitting that we are ones who no longer possess the right to be people of religion?

In one of Meishu-sama’s hymns, he says,

“O God! / If You so wish, / With Your unfailing love, / With Your great mercy and compassion, / Forgive me— / Me whose body, family and ancestors are filled with many sins!”

Meishu-sama himself says that his “body, family and ancestors” are filled with many sins and that he wishes for God to forgive him with His unfailing love, great mercy and compassion.

We must wonder if Meishu-sama even had that much sin. But here, he asks forgiveness for not only his sin, but his ancestors’ sin too. He is apologizing not only for himself, but also as a representative of all the people who are connected to him.

If this is Meishu-sama’s posture, then rather than thinking we have nothing to do with what our predecessors of Sekai Kyusei Kyo did, we, too, must apologize to God and Meishu-sama, admitting that we are like our predecessors, that is, we are the kind of people who fight with each other, don’t you think so? Somebody must carry these kinds of thoughts.

Or are we really going to continue thinking that we are right? And continue having legal trials? Don’t get me wrong. There is a necessity for that kind of thing as there is the order of this world. But even if there is such necessity, as people of faith, we truly must apologize to God and Meishu-sama.

After Meishu-sama received the purification of a brain hemorrhage in the last years of his life, he repeatedly said, “From now on, apology will not be enough—you need to repent.” When Meishu-sama says apology and repent, what exactly is the difference?

I believe that repent has to do with life or death. Apology doesn’t go as far.

I believe that when Meishu-sama received the purification of the brain hemorrhage, he must have felt something life-threatening. I think he thought, “Truly, I must sincerely repent before God regarding my life.”

Also, regarding the Church history, I believe there are people who have apologized to Meishu-sama to a certain degree and said something like “I apologize for all this conflict we had.”

But if we actually did lose the right to be people of religion, this would be very serious, wouldn’t it? Basically, it would mean we are no longer followers of Meishu-sama, that is, if our ties to Meishu-sama were cut, it would mean our way to eternal life is cut. It would basically be a pronouncement of death for us.

So until now, whether we were directly involved in the conflicts of the Church or not, we must realize it would be serious enough for Meishu-sama to tell us that we no longer possess the right to be people of religion. And we must repent.

At the same time, we say “we need to repent” so easily and lightly, assuming that if we repent, we are sure to be forgiven. Well, let me say this: don’t get too optimistic. It is not as easy as you think.

Kyoshu-sama and of course Meishu-sama have been teaching us the importance of repentance for everything and anything. But there is a part of us that has not taken this seriously, assuming that with repentance ultimately comes forgiveness. But listen to what Meishu-sama says in two of his hymns:

“When the end of days comes, / You will be taken to the court to be judged. / No matter how much you repent at that time, / It will be of no use.”

He says at the “end of days,” that is, the Final Judgment, you will be taken to “the court,” and even if you repent then, there will be nothing that can be done for you.

And:

“Oh, how fierce is the fire of judgment! / When it comes, / Though you may look up to heaven / And pray to God, / It will be too late.”

This is by Meishu-sama too. He is saying that God’s fire of judgment is fierce, and when that fire comes, even if you look up to heaven and pray to God, it will be too late.

Both of these hymns are harsh and unsparing. While we may simply be assuming that forgiveness will be granted to us, in reality, we really don’t know what God will do.

At the very least, we must realize the awe and fear that Meishu-sama held toward God, as written in those hymns. So I believe that we, too, should not take repentance lightly.

If God says to us it is too late when we repent, that’s it, isn’t it? We will be burned up by the fire of judgment and perish. That could be the fate that awaits us.

As such, that is what happens in harsh terms. But actually, far from being burned up by the fire of judgment, God’s forgiveness, God’s love for us, is immeasurably greater.

But look at us. We are assuming that we will be forgiven, and that is why we don’t feel anything even though we hear that God is ready to forgive us.

But if you can think, “If things don’t go well for me, I may be burned up” or “I may be someone who cannot be forgiven when God looks at me,” and with these thoughts, if you gather your courage and say to God, “I repent,” and then if God says, “I forgive you,” the joy that you feel will be beyond words.

But what do we feel when we hear Kyoshu-sama telling us God has made us sinless? Nothing! Rather, we think something like “What sin have I ever committed?” I must say that we, including me of course, really think lightly of the fact that we are sinners.

“If God rejects me, this is a serious problem”—if you can truly know this, even just a little, and can go before God with that thought, and if God says to you, “I forgive you. You are innocent,” there is nothing in the world that can replace the joy you will feel.

And know this. Ultimately, from God’s point of view, this is a matter that goes well beyond whether you are forgiven or not. As I just said a moment ago, God envelops us in a love that far exceeds our imagination, even now.

For if nothing else, we are alive right now, aren’t we?

We are alive and we are breathing—we breathe out and breathe in.

We also very easily take for granted that we can breathe. We even come up with “breathing techniques” and say things like “breathing in this way is good for you,” making breath our own human thing. But see how when we breathe out, we can breathe in. When we breathe out now, we can easily breathe in right after that, can’t we?

Don’t you take it for granted that you can breathe in as you wish? But for us to be able to breathe in means that after each breath we breathe out, God gives us His breath and says to us, “I will give you My life.” This takes place with every single one of our breaths, and that is why we can breathe in after we breathe out.

You may think, “No, I breathe on my own.” But is that the correct posture to take as a believer of God?

Let’s exhale. See, then we can inhale, right? We can breathe in so easily without hindrance. This could only mean that after every breath we breathe out, God is providing us with a new breath, saying, “I will give you My life.” He does this for us 24 hours a day and with each and every single one of our breaths.

And it is not just for us! God gives His loving breath to both the good and the evil without any discrimination. He does this with every single breath we all take. The greatness of God’s love is really a love that cannot be grasped by human intellect.

Meishu-sama speaks about there being “human love” and “God’s love,” right? He says that God’s love is daijo love, love for the world, love for humanity, love for others.

When we hear Meishu-sama saying “love for others,” we immediately make this love our own and bring it down to the “love for others” usually understood by society. And eventually, we end up saying things like “Let’s do something for the people around us. That’s the ‘love for others’ that Meishu-sama teaches.” But Meishu-sama says that the love we have for others around us is a human love, a shojo love, and no matter how strong it may be, in the end, it is evil.

We have long been saying we need to “love others.” But can we human beings have stronger “love for others” than God? God loves everyone without prejudice. Whereas when we do a kindness to someone and they do something that is less than pleasing in return, we are quick to be offended.

But for anyone, without exception, even for someone who we feel is definitely in the wrong, God constantly pours His life and love into them and allows them to live.

And who are the “others” when we say “love for others”? They are all people of humanity. Do we human beings have the capacity to love all humanity, each person, equally? No, we do not.

Right now, we are here on earth. On the other side, there is someone who is sleeping. Even to them, God is giving life right now, and allowing them to live. Even though we can never do that kind of good nor have that kind of love for others, we have lived making that love our own until today.

Even when we hear “God is alive,” right from the start we are quick to say, “I can’t actually feel Him” or “There’s no proof.” But we’re alive right now, aren’t we? We are alive. But this life, this perception of “I”—we did not make these things. Consciousness, the workings of the heart—it is utterly impossible for us to create these.

That is to say, our consciousness is actually not our consciousness but the consciousness of God.

Right now, you feel that you are alive, don’t you? You feel that way only because God is living within you! So the fact that you feel you are alive right now is the very proof that God exists within you. There’s simply no way we would be alive by human power.

We are alive. This is the actual feeling and the very proof that God exists. I mean, aren’t we alive right now? That means God is alive within us!

But even though we are so blessed by God, we say things like “I believe in God” or “I don’t believe in God,” as if we have the right to choose. But who is the one that gives you the power “to believe” or “not to believe”? It definitely is God. Believing and not believing—neither of these feelings, in and of itself, can come into being by human power.

In a hymn that Meishu-sama wrote in 1953, he said:

“From this year, / I will leave the path of thorns / And walk on the path of glory!”

This is in 1953. But as I talk about it, I am not just reminiscing about the past, like something nice happened. This is not just a hymn written for 1953 with no connection to the us of now.

Rather, the fact that Meishu-sama left us this hymn means that he is confronting us, asking, “Are you going to go forward on the path of thorns or the path of glory? You must decide now.”

Now, as in today. Today.

The path of thorns—that would be making God’s love our own and ultimately, having conflict with others. It would be taking God’s consciousness and making it our own consciousness. It would be us living like we own our life, like we do things by our own power or make things happen on our own. Of course this would be the path of thorns! What else could it be if we say we can do everything with our own power when it is God who holds all power? We say that humans put in 99 percent of the effort and God helps us with the last one percent. Well, who makes you put in the 99 percent of effort? It is God!

As such, are you going to walk the path of thorns? Or the path of glory? Glory. God’s glory. The path of glory would mean believing that everything is God’s glory, that your life is a manifestation of God’s glory, and that regardless of what kind of love you have, it is the manifestation of God’s glory. Meishu-sama is asking us this: “Do you want to take the path of thorns or of glory? You must decide today.”

As it says in the Bible, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:15)

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”

Actually, we have already heard His voice, haven’t we? Yes, we have!

“God exists within us. Light exists within us”—we have heard this before, haven’t we?

But to us, there is nothing more inconvenient than that. That’s because we want to live and accomplish things by our own power; we want recognition and to acquire virtues, don’t we?

So before, when we heard His voice, we thought, “There is nothing more inconvenient than this,” and turned our backs on God. We turned our backs and said things like “I can live on my own! I have a heart of faith! I’m doing all this for You, God!” As such, we have taken the path of thorns until today, haven’t we?

But now, another chance has come. That is, through Kyoshu-sama, Meishu-sama is teaching us that God exists within all of you.

So, today, if you hear His voice, are you going to turn your back on God like before, harden your hearts and say, “No thanks. I’m going to live on my own from here on too”? Or not? Which one is it?

And this word voice. I mentioned it at the Grand Spring Service, but in Meishu-sama’s hymn, he wrote:

“You, the Savior! / Every time I hear your voice, / My body and soul rejuvenate and regain strength. / How precious is your voice!”

Meishu-sama heard this “you,” this being’s voice, right?

So as mentioned in the phrases “Today, if you hear his voice” in the Bible or Meishu-sama’s “You, the Savior! Every time I hear your voice . . . How precious is your voice!” there is the existence of God’s voice.

But what about us? Aren’t we likely to answer, “I don’t hear His voice. I don’t hear anything”?

Of course, this voice is not something that is easy to hear. But actually, I believe that God is calling us. I am certain that God is telling us something.

That is, “I love you for all eternity.”

At the very least, I believe that God is saying this to us.

Feel free to say, “I can’t hear Him. I don’t hear Him.” But in actuality, today, you have heard God’s voice—the voice that said, “I love you for all eternity.” The truth is that you have been hearing it all the way from the beginning to now, even today.

Here we have another hymn:

“O God, my sin is grave. / But You, O God, did not punish me for it. / Instead, You bless us with abundant happiness!”

We are sinful. There is no doubt about that. So is God going to punish us for our sins? Actually, no. Rather, He is saying that He is not even going to condemn us. Still more, He is saying that He is going to bless us with abundant happiness. Really, how great is the love of God.

You must be wondering what exactly is this “happiness”? Of course there is material happiness. But actually, this “happiness” is the blessing of life. Life.

And yet, the life of this world, the breath of this world, eventually comes to an end. Everyone has a lifespan. But the “abundant happiness” we receive is the blessing of eternal life. Eternal life and eternal breath.

No matter the depths of our sin, God is saying to us that He will bless us with the abundance of eternal life.

“You no longer possess the right to be a person of religion” means that we lost the right to be with God, doesn’t it?

But God is saying to the likes of us, “I love you for all eternity, so live in My eternal life!”

And if that is so, shouldn’t we be wanting to obtain this happiness even if we lose everything? Shouldn’t we want to receive God’s eternal life even if we had to sacrifice everything? If you feel so, I believe God would be very happy about it.

From what I have been telling you today, you might want to say, “But what can we do? What act or practice should we be doing?” Actually, the question is way beyond that. God who lives within us is saying to us, “I love you” and “I am going to use you as I wish. Is that fine by you?”

Then what else can we do except to say to God, “It is no use for this ‘me’ who is so sinful to do anything. Rather, may You please use me so that Your will be accomplished.” This is all we can do. As Meishu-sama says that human love is small, it is no use for us to manifest ourselves in the world. If God manifests through us, there is no bigger blessing than this.

Essentially, we are in no position to ask God, “What should we be doing specifically?” And that is because there is nothing else but for us to be used by God.

With His overabundant love and power, God blesses all of humanity with His life and breath even now, including this very moment. And He is always within us.

As such, even if we lose everything, all we would want is to live in God’s love, right? Wouldn’t our only thoughts be “I want to live in the love of God; I want to live that kind of life”?

It is certain that we are existences that no longer possess the right to be people of religion. Yet, looking at the Church history, there is no one who truly realized this and repented—we have seriously gone wrong, actually.

So even if we have lost the right to be people of religion—actually, we have lost the right countless times—even if we are that kind of people, if we are able to think from the bottom of our hearts, “No matter what happens, I want to be united with Meishu-sama. No matter what the price, I want to live in the life and love of God that Meishu-sama taught me,” then perhaps God will not rebuke us and will say, “I forgive you. For I love you.” This is what I believe.

So today, we have heard God’s voice. We heard Him say, “I love you for all eternity.”

So let us make the firm decision to go forward on this path of glory, and together, let us live in God’s love.

Thank you very much.

This post is also available in: 日本語 Português