PDF file: 20210901_September Monthly Service_The best offering_Masaaki-sama

 

Hello, everyone.

After our current Yondai Kyoshu-sama assumed the position of Kyoshu in 1998, it was around 2003 or 2004 when he started to guide us on Meishu-sama’s new faith. Since then, already seventeen, eighteen years have passed.

At each grand service and also during his missionary visits not only within Japan but also overseas, he delivered his messages to us, and at the same time, on missionary visits, he took time to directly answer questions from the members.

More recently, Kyoshu-sama’s Hymns are being published once a month, and there are also lyrics that he has written for songs such as “Goin’ Home,” “Amazing Grace” and “Tristesse.” Through these various means, Kyoshu-sama has been teaching and guiding us.

All this information and material is basically published in the Church publication. Furthermore, for those who are not into reading, there is also YouTube. On YouTube, you can watch videos of the actual messages. Still more, for those who are visually impaired or want to get information through the ear, there is an audio version (in Japanese) of Glory that is also posted on YouTube.

As such, Kyoshu-sama is making every effort to teach and guide us.

Of course, outwardly, Kyoshu-sama is one person. But my mother, who you know as Mayumi-okusama, constantly supports him. The two of them are working hard as one for our sake.

Why? Of course, they want us to awaken to the truth and salvation that Meishu-sama left. Furthermore, the things that we need to realize, the things that we need to change in our way of living—for these, Kyoshu-sama literally works himself to the bone, giving his all for our sake.

In response to all those efforts that Kyoshu-sama has been making for so long, these last seventeen, eighteen years, how have we answered? What has changed if we compare ourselves then and now in 2021?

What’s the difference between the you of today and the you from seventeen years ago? What kind of impact have the messages of Kyoshu-sama had on your life? How are you understanding his messages? If I ask these questions to each one of you, what will be your answer?

Although I think there would be all kinds of answers, some of you may say things like “The messages are wonderful but difficult to understand” or “I am trying hard to understand them, but it’s not easy. So I’m cherishing what I was taught before.”

Or there may be some who say, “The messages are wonderful, but Kyoshu-sama is someone close to God and Meishu-sama. It’s not possible for someone like me to understand his messages just like that.” And then basically continue with their faith as before.

If we are honest with ourselves, don’t we have a posture within us that would answer in those ways?

But Kyoshu-sama has been working so hard for us over the last seventeen, eighteen years. Can we really end this by saying “his messages are difficult” or “it’s difficult to understand”?

I just thought of an analogy regarding that. Let’s say you are going to get married. For your to-be spouse, it is the second marriage. Let’s say in this case, you are the wife, and the divorcee is the husband.

One day, the wife does her best in cooking a meal for her husband, and she brings it out for him. The husband says, “Wow, what a fancy meal! You have used some unusual ingredients that I haven’t seen before.” He says what he needs to say, and when the time comes to eat, he doesn’t. Instead, he goes to his ex-wife’s home in the end and says, “I’m sorry, honey. I just like the flavor I know and am used to,” and eats his ex-wife’s cooking.

Or here’s another one. The wife brings out the meal. The husband says, “This looks wonderful. You’ve used the best ingredients. This is just too good for me—it would be a shame to eat it.” Without eating anything, he says so long and goes to his ex-wife’s to eat her cooking.

These are only analogies, but I think these postures are in our postures toward Kyoshu-sama’s messages. We say “it’s wonderful,” but it turns out we simply can’t break free from the faith we have had up until now.

Or let’s say the wife prepares a meal and the husband says, “How wonderful this is!” And he eats it, finally! Until now, he never ate it, and this time, for the first time, he eats it. But he doesn’t seem to be enjoying his meal. He is a little more than half full when he puts his fork and knife down and says, “There’s something else I still want to eat.” He ends up going to his ex-wife’s and also eats her meal, saying, “It’s because I like the flavors that I’m familiar with.” So there’s this pattern of eating both kinds of cooking. Both of them.

As a wife, if your husband did that sort of thing when you want him to have a full stomach from your own cooked meals, you would be sad, and it would not be worth making, right?

So if you replace this analogy with Kyoshu-sama’s messages, you say, “Kyoshu-sama’s messages are wonderful,” and you study his guidance, but since you have a kind of lingering attachment to the faith we have had up until now, you also carry on with that too. This is the kind of posture I am talking about.

Even though Kyoshu-sama wants to convey Meishu-sama’s true faith to us, rather than be fulfilled by that, we try to carry on with the faith we have had up until now. I think this is disrespectful to Kyoshu-sama, who has been working so hard for our sake.

Now, what exactly is this “faith we have had up until now” that I likened to the ex-wife’s cooking? Like this analogy, at the end of the day, at a fundamental level, we like this “faith we have had up until now.” It’s beyond logic, but we like the ex-wife’s cooking; we like the old faith. These kinds of thoughts are inherently within us. So regardless of what we are told, we can’t help this lingering attachment.

So what is this “old faith” or “the faith we have had up until now”?

It is the faith symbolized by expressions like “love for others” and “gratitude.” It is the faith symbolized by teachings like, let us love others; let us practice love for others; let us be thankful for everything; let us be thankful for hardship; let us love everyone equally; let us practice this and that; do not do anything bad; be obedient and humble; take good care of your possessions.

It is the faith symbolized by our efforts to have feelings of gratitude and love through utilizing our minds.

This, I say, is the faith we have had up until now.

And we like that faith. That is because we feel that all these efforts make us better than others; we feel we can put ourselves in a higher position than others. Or we say, “I can never be like that,” when secretly, we take pride in how admirable our own humbleness is. This kind of faith is the kind that boosts human worth, and that’s why we like it.

Enhancing our own virtue by being grateful or making efforts to give love to others makes it possible to clearly differentiate between our own posture and another’s posture in a way that can be seen. That is why we like this faith.

But when I say this kind of thing, don’t you want to say that you’ve never heard anything so ridiculous, that it was Meishu-sama who taught about love for others and gratitude?

You have to realize that there is the true meaning of love for others and gratitude that Meishu-sama teaches. That is, love for others is the love of God. And gratitude is something that is fundamentally not so easily had by human capability.

But what we have done is take Meishu-sama’s Sacred Word and lower them to the level of love for others of the human world and gratitude of the human world. We have been assuming that these are what Meishu-sama has been talking about.

You may think it is rude of me to compare this to the ex-wife’s cooking, but what I am trying to get at is that Meishu-sama says those kinds of matters are just morals, which are below religion. He says this in various instances.

People should have these feelings; have good thoughts; do no bad; be good to your parents; treat your possessions with care—Meishu-sama says that all these kinds of things are morals.

Until now, we thought that these made up religion, but Meishu-sama says that they are morals. They are below religion. Meishu-sama wanted to do religion, something that transcends morality.

In today’s Sacred Word, “Kannon faith,” too, shojo, narrow-minded faith or faith based on commandments was mentioned, right? When we hear the word “commandments,” we just think about extreme things like praying to God five times a day. But commandments are basically rules, right? So for example, do the practice of love for others; do the practice of gratitude; do this practice or that; go to church, minister Johrei, do service; have good thoughts; don’t do anything bad. These are actually all commandments.

And Meishu-sama says that, in the end, we cannot keep it up, as you heard in the Sacred Word today. He says that regardless of how praiseworthy the faith you hold up is, you can’t do it for long, so it becomes falsehood.

In other words, outwardly, you say one thing, but inwardly, it is another. Meishu-sama points this out as “good on the outside and evil on the inside.”

I mean, among any of us, is there even one person who can say: “I can love everyone equally”; “I am grateful for absolutely everything”; “I have never failed to treat my possessions with care”; “I’ve never done anything bad to my parents”?

To be honest with you, I don’t think anyone can say these things.

Yet we say that the value lies in trying to be that kind of person. What hypocrites we are! We are aiming to be someone we can never be no matter how hard we try. Really, we are stuck in this kind of faith, not knowing how to get out. Of course, God can do these things. But here we are binding ourselves to commandments.

If we continue living in that way, Meishu-sama says that as a result of falsehood, we will want to show off our achievements and be regarded as important. Then we will end up giving off a bad odor, metaphorically speaking, and it will be really ugly to see—we will be what Meishu-sama calls petty people.

Naturally, in a faith based on commandments, if someone rises to greatness, it is undeniable that their greatness is based on their adherence to the commandments. “I am practicing many good deeds for others. I am able to be grateful for anything. That is why I am in this high position.” This kind of thinking is inevitable.

As Meishu-sama says that rather than appearing great, to want to show off or to put on appearances, showing I can do this, I can do that, produces the reverse effect, and you’ll just be a petty person.

I believe this posture is of course our own posture and also the posture many people in the Church fell into after Meishu-sama passed away.

As Meishu-sama says that we make a mold, voluntarily go into it and suffer, we do just that and make our own mold, that is, “I have to do this practice,” “I have to be grateful in unfavorable situations,” “I have to do this; I have to do that.” And since we can’t do it perfectly, we distress ourselves and suffer. But if it isn’t enough to suffer on our own, we try to push others into the mold and make them suffer too. This is what Meishu-sama says in “Kannon faith,” right?

We may think that we are not doing such things. But here’s an example. Thinking that it is good, you tell the people around you about having such-and-such illness and how at first, you thought about why God would do such a thing, but eventually, you were able to be grateful for the illness. The people listening to you would think, what an incredible person, I need to become someone who can be grateful for anything too.

Or here’s another example. You tell someone that it is important to be humble. You would make the one who hears this think, ah, this person is humble and great; I don’t think I can ever become humble; I easily pride myself on what I can do.

In that way, we make these molds called commandments, voluntarily go into them, and by living in that kind of world, we push the people around us into those molds and make them suffer. We believe that this way of living is good because we think the commandments are good.

So I think this is our posture. But who, actually, is able to preach about faith that is not based on commandments? That kind of faith hardly exists in the world, right?

In any religion, in most cases, they say things like be sure to properly greet people, let us pray to God every day, let us do these practices. As commandments imply, everybody thinks that religion is living a life following a particular set of rules. So we really have no idea what a faith not based on commandments looks like.

As you see in the Sacred Word “Kannon faith,” Meishu-sama was different. But once he passed away, we could only take in what Meishu-sama left us in a commandment-like way. The phrase “love for others” turned into “I must love the people around me.” The word “gratitude” turned into “gratitude is important.” Thus, we lowered Meishu-sama’s Sacred Word to the level of society even though he was trying hard to teach us a faith not based on commandments.

But now, I believe Kyoshu-sama is conveying to us the new faith, the true faith, a faith that goes beyond one based on commandments that Meishu-sama said was the Kannon faith or daijo faith.

So in Sekai Kyusei Kyo or World Church of Messiah, Meishu-sama and Kyoshu-sama are teaching about this new faith that is not based on commandments.

In Christianity also, at the root, Jesus taught the same. Paul, too—who wrote a large part of the New Testament—spoke about it. But in the end, I think Christianity today, too, has fallen into a faith based on commandments for the most part, teaching “you cannot do that, but you can do this.”

In this way, I think all of us pushed ourselves into the molds of commandment-based faith, don’t you think? For people with that kind of faith, Meishu-sama used stinging expressions like “giving off a bad odor” and “really ugly to see.” But I think that was us, wasn’t it?

Now what exactly is a faith not based on commandments? Meishu-sama explained it in the following way: “Human beings have to simply acknowledge the existence of God and know that He sees through everything. Anything else is a trivial matter; it is unnecessary. Everyone makes religious teachings so troublesome by saying things like ‘one must do this’ or ‘one must practice this.’” He continues, “But the single, most crucial point is this: God exists. But there is scarcely anyone who teaches this.” This is what Meishu-sama says.

All this time, though, didn’t we make things so troublesome by saying “one must do this” or “one must practice this”? Didn’t we say we must be grateful in unfavorable situations; we have to practice this; we have to practice that? But Meishu-sama says human beings have to simply acknowledge the existence of God and know that He sees through everything. Anything else is a trivial matter and unnecessary.

If God sees through everything, that means there is nothing we can hide from Him, right? Usually, we try to hide what we can’t do so we become “good on the outside and evil on the inside” as it says in “Kannon faith.”

But since God sees through everything, we cannot hide anything from Him. We cannot hide.

We are completely naked before God. God sees through the deepest part of our hearts, the deepest part of our souls.

So as Meishu-sama says, Kannon faith is daijo faith and does not have two faces. You can be your honest, undisguised self before God.

Even if you can’t follow things like commandments, rather than going out of your way to hide it, simply acknowledge that there is a you that cannot do it. “Ah, I cannot do it”—that’s all. There is no need to hide that. Then there would be no need to fall into falsehood, to show off or to be proud.

Meishu-sama says it easily, but actually, it takes courage to do that. To acknowledge the fact that God sees through you, to the deepest part of your heart, takes courage.

And if you calmly observe your heart, I think you will realize something. I think you will realize that you have things you want to hide from God and at the same time, that God already knows them.

Meishu-sama says that once the need to be two-faced is gone, you become cheerful. We don’t have to hide anything as we have been doing until now, so of course we will be cheerful, right? But at the same time, when you realize certain things about yourself, you may be shocked.

While this isn’t quite sweeping something under the rug, we usually hide those things and strain ourselves into doing good deeds or having such-and-such thoughts, right? That way, we don’t have to face the parts that we want to hide from others.

Everyone, I’m not talking about anything complicated. In our daily lives, when we meet with acquaintances, friends or family and have tea or coffee, or when we’re out shopping, something happens that bothers us and makes certain thoughts well up within us, right? That is what I am talking about. That is when God says, “I see through that.”

When you truly realize those thoughts and feelings and realize that until now, you pushed yourself into a mold and worked hard to uphold it, but in reality, you could not follow the various “rules” and “commandments,” you may feel that you are irredeemable, with no hope of salvation. You may think how terrible some of your thoughts are or how embarrassing it is even to be a person of faith.

In that way, you may think you are irredeemable. But that’s not true. Our irredeemable selves are exactly what God wants to redeem. I repeat, our irredeemable selves are exactly what God wants to redeem.

“The uniqueness of the salvation of our Church.” This Sacred Word is quite a title, isn’t it? It is a Sacred Word that explains the uniqueness of World Church of Messiah’s salvation. And what is it? He says, “The mission of our Church is to save those who are suffering in hell into heaven.” And how is that to be realized? He says, “To save people into heaven, you must climb up to heaven first and become its resident. Then you can pull everyone up to heaven and bring them salvation.”

When you hear this, you may think about how saving everyone by pulling them up is no easy matter, how you don’t know a lot of people anyway, how hard it is. But actually, that’s not the case.

That is, those who are suffering in hell are actually within you, right? Thoughts of being irredeemable are within us, right? Meishu-sama uses the expression “pull everyone up,” but this “everyone” also includes all the ancestors that exist within us.

After all, we are alive right now. In other words, we have prevailed over others until today. This could only mean that we have killed others until today. If we got killed, we wouldn’t have survived.

So the mere fact that we are alive now could only mean that we, within us, carry something horrible. If we were meek and thought that we shouldn’t attack others, we wouldn’t have survived until today.

We fought wars and prevailed over others—that is why we are standing here today. As such, we, within us, of course carry those who appear to be irredeemable, are suffering and are in hell.

So even if we have the most impossible thoughts and feelings, “you must climb up to heaven first,” as Meishu-sama says. The very first thing you must do is climb up to heaven and become its resident.

But instead, we have ended it with thoughts like “I have to make a big effort to become a resident of heaven” or “I want to become a resident of heaven, so I’ll work hard.” But Meishu-sama says first. He is telling us to climb up to heaven as the very first thing.

So what we must do is muster up our courage and go before God first, genuinely acknowledge the thoughts and feelings that well up within us and then offer our honest and undisguised selves to Him.

But instead, we hide those thoughts and feelings and say, “It was hard, but I am finally able to be grateful.” To God, the part that was “hard” is more important. Here’s another example. You may say, “I only felt hatred for that person, but finally, I was able to love them.” This “I am finally able to be grateful” or “Finally, I was able to love them” became our emphasis. We’re constantly thinking about our own improvement, “I have to become a better person,” right? In the time that we are alive, we spend it constantly trying to better ourselves. But in actuality, we have come here to save those ugly thoughts, those difficult, hateful thoughts.

So here we are, not thinking that we can actually suddenly become residents of heaven. Plus, there are all kinds of elements within us, all kinds of thoughts and feelings going back and forth within our hearts. There, we think we are supposed to have good thoughts, and we continue to suffer because of it, every day.

But Meishu-sama says that the mission of our Church, that is, the mission of the followers of Meishu-sama, “is to save those who are suffering in hell into heaven.” This is our mission. If that is so, we must first climb up to heaven with courage, or else we will never be able to fulfill that mission for the rest of our lives.

So in this next second, are you going to use that time for your own betterment as we did before? Or are you going to use that time to think, “There are people within me who are suffering in hell. I want to use my time for the sake of their salvation.” You must decide which way to live.

In today’s service, there were five hymns.

The first hymn reads:

“Ah, how many are the fools / Who build up a prison by their own hands / And walk right into it.”

Aren’t we creating this prison ourselves? We create it by saying things like “I must practice this” or “I must love.” Then we go into the prison and live as such. Not only that, we try to push others into that prison.

Until now, we didn’t think of it as a prison, right? Instead, we thought it was a praiseworthy posture. We believed that we were living our lives properly by deciding to follow various “commandments.” We built wonderful castles in the air where we could love others, be kind to others, be loyal to our parents, treat our belongings with care. But Meishu-sama said that this was a prison and that we made these prisons ourselves. We walked right into it, and we put others in there too.

The second hymn says,

“Alas, the human ears! / They can hear the smallest of voices / But not the great words that resound so loudly!”

What are “the smallest of voices”? They are human voices. We are very good at picking up on human voices. When we hear someone gossiping or spreading rumors, isn’t it like our ears suddenly open wider? Don’t we perk up and wonder who it’s about or what is going on? Well, this includes myself—we can hear those voices very, very well.

And then there are “the great words that resound so loudly.” What are they? They are of course God’s words. God is constantly calling us, “Stop it with those other things, and come to Me honest and undisguised!” But we don’t pay attention to that voice. That’s because human, worldly matters are important to us. When we are with a friend, listening to their problems and we hear God’s voice, we say, “God, please be quiet! This person is going through something really difficult!” We are so consumed with what’s in front of us, aren’t we?

Of course, don’t get me wrong, it is important to do your best for a friend. But we must not forget that God is constantly calling us.

The third hymn reads:

“In the Crystal World, / Any hidden thing will be exposed. / Any secret will be revealed!”

When we see this hymn, we would normally think about the various incidents that happen in this physical world, on this earth. Certainly, there are those things. But aren’t all hidden things being revealed within us? Within our hearts, every thought and feeling under the sun is being revealed with hardly a place to hide, like “that person is so mean” or feelings of jealousy.

The Transition from Night to Day has already been accomplished in the spiritual world, hasn’t it? So isn’t the light of God shining brilliantly into the inner part of our hearts? And just as shadows are formed when a light is shined, we see those shadows, in full flood. As such, various things in our hearts are exposed. And that’s because it has become a Crystal World.

I’m not saying that you need to literally reveal all secrets, shame or those kinds of matters within the heart to the people around you. But at the very least, it must be different when it comes to God. God is saying, “You don’t have to hide anything. I see through everything.”

And He says, “I have already removed all your shame.” It also says in the Bible that God already wiped away all tears from our eyes! Things that we feel ashamed of before others, things that we want to hide from others, shameful incidents or horrible things we did in the past that make us want to cry—God already removed these things from us and wiped away all our tears. That is why we do not need to hide anything from Him.

In the fourth hymn:

“Ah, humans, / How foolish you are! / Why do you throw aside and ignore / God’s true path that is so easy to walk on / And instead, continue to live in anguish!”

God is saying He wants our honest and undisguised selves, so there is nothing easier than this! God is telling us, “Offer your honest and undisguised self to Me.” But instead, we think we are not worthy of being in front of God’s presence or we first need to have hearts of gratitude or we need to be able to do certain deeds first. And we continue, forever in anguish. We continue in anguish thinking that even though it’s difficult, one day we’ll be able to accomplish it.

And in the end, the fifth hymn says,

“The path to hell / Or the path to heaven— / It is up to each one of you / Which path you choose. / That is how this world works.”

This hymn says that whether you go to hell or whether you go to heaven, in the end, the choice belongs to you. Well, in actuality, you don’t really have a say. It is not you who choose. But by His heart of mercy and compassion, He is saying, “I will wait for you until you firmly decide.”

We may not think that the old faith based on commandments will lead us to hell, but that kind of faith is based on thinking centered on this world, isn’t it? The thinking of what deeds have I done, what mark have I left in this world. If you live your life that way, prioritizing this human world, what awaits you is death. By death I mean, you will become an existence that is impossible to save. That is, what awaits you is hell.

So are you going to walk that path from here on too? Or are you going to walk the path of heaven, the way of living where you show your honest and undisguised self to God, want to return to Him and want to become one with Him? If you walk this path, what awaits you is eternal life, not death.

Now do you choose death or eternal life? The choice is left to each and every one of you. This is what the fifth hymn is about.

 

As you listen to what I say, there may be some of you who are thinking that while you would understand this in theory, if things like commandments actually disappeared, what would happen to order in this physical world?

Of course, you must follow the rules of the world and practice common sense.

But if we transcend that and things like commandments disappear, you may think that people won’t appreciate each other anymore and it will become one terrible world; that faith based on commandments is better; that people filled with gratitude and love are bound to increase.

I understand what you mean, but there is something we must never forget. Meishu-sama says in his hymn,

“Do not seek approval from human eyes or mouth. / Respond only to the will of God.”

That is to say, we are more concerned about people and what they think of us than we are concerned about God and what He thinks of us. We may say that we are all about God, but when we get wind of something from a person, it doesn’t even take a moment before our thoughts are drawn into their words. Our own thoughts are quick to prioritize the human world rather than God.

In a similar hymn, he says:

“Those who strive to respond / To the will of God only / Are true human beings.”

He is saying to single-mindedly live by God’s will, not humans’, and that one who strives in this way is a “true human being.” So if you think about it this way, we have not even reached the level of “human being,” for sure. Remember, Meishu-sama has also used the phrase “animals” to refer to us.

We may think these two hymns are really wonderful. But the content is quite strict. He is saying to live without being drawn in by human perception or talk and simply live single-mindedly by God’s will. But this is just about impossible.

We spend most of the day for the “human being.” I might even say going to church, in the end, is for ourselves. I mean, don’t we become so proud for doing so?

So instead of taking this hymn and thinking, “I have been human-centered until now, but from now on, I’m going to strive to follow God’s will,” that is, instead of making it a commandment, we must recognize, “I am not able to do so.”

These thoughts that you are not able to follow God’s will; that you are someone who is concerned of what people think of you and their words; that you are not able to be grateful for everything; that you are not able to love everyone equally; that you thought you could do everything with your own strength but you cannot do anything—to recognize these is the first step.

Otherwise, you will be right back to where you started. We are so quick to make anything a teaching or a commandment, aren’t we? Anything.

Even when it comes to Kyoshu-sama’s messages, for example, if there is guidance on breath, we are quick to start wondering, “Am I practicing?” “How many people are practicing?” Or asking, “Are you practicing? Or not?” For surrendering, “Are you surrendering? Or not?” And there’s “Are you going to church?” “Are you repenting before God? Or not?” Then in the end, “I still cannot repent from the heart, so I’m no good.”

That is how much we end up turning everything into a commandment. Rather than go there, we must first acknowledge, “I was not able to do it.” That is the very first step.

Acknowledge, “I could not love” and “I could not be grateful,” then say to God, “But still, can You accept the likes of me? I want to live with You.” Then we can climb up to heaven.

Now, even if you decide to climb up to heaven, it doesn’t mean that the whole world will suddenly become rosy. The physical forms will not immediately change. All kinds of thoughts and feelings will still continue to arise. But the time after you make the decision—the time after you return to God in heaven—that is the time of salvation, isn’t it? Regardless of what kinds of thoughts and feelings you have, you will be able to recognize them for what they are: “Ah, these are the thoughts and feelings of people who are suffering in hell.”

This is the true faith that Meishu-sama was teaching us and what Kyoshu-sama is teaching us now—the true faith, the new faith.

And you know what else? We say “old faith” and “new faith” as if there is a difference between them. But actually, there is no difference.

When we hear “old faith,” some say, “Then what have we been doing until today?” Well, to tell you the truth, your hearts and minds have always been used by God to save those who are suffering in hell, that is, you have always been used by God in the “new faith.”

For a long time, we have been saying and thinking: “I have to do my utmost,” “But some things cannot be overcome by human effort,” “I want to be grateful for everything, but this one is hard” and so on.

This posture of trying to overcome issues with human effort was exactly what God was trying to harvest. And He did harvest all of that as the end result of the human world. Even though you were not conscious of it, God used you for the sake of salvation all the way up until today and is using you even now.

But from now on, we will be used in God’s work of salvation through our own will. So if I have to point out a difference between the old and new faith, it is that.

I mean, from now on too, are we going to present ourselves as being the ones who need to be saved? Or are we courageously going to climb up to heaven, become one with God and be used in the divine work of salvation from this time onward?

What you think and feel may not change. But you must decide whether or not to go forward together with God, thinking, “Ah, I have come to save these thoughts and feelings.”

But you may be having a hard time understanding what I am saying now. Let’s say I spoke today about gratitude and said, “Regardless of what happens, let’s be grateful for everything.” Then you would think, “I understood this talk really well!” Or if I said, “Let us love everyone equally,” I’m sure you would think, “Yes, I totally understand what this is about!” Why is that? As Meishu-sama says, within us is a “rod” that has been passed down to us from generations of ancestors. When we hear talks that align with that rod, we think, “I understand very well!”

But this new faith is something that we have not heard about until now. That is because Meishu-sama was trying to do something no one had ever done before.

Like so, you may think it is difficult to understand at first, but right now, through Kyoshu-sama, we have reached the path to understand this true faith.

In reality, this is a simple matter. But because it is new and we are not used to it, it feels difficult for us.

But rather than making it complicated, think of it this way. For example, today, there are many offerings on the altar, aren’t there? They are all very beautiful. This is, in form, our way as human beings to present the best things to God. This red sea bream is the best looking one. The fruits are also the unblemished ones. We offer the best to God to show our love and sincerity to Him, don’t we?

But our hearts are not like these. [As Masaaki-sama speaks, he turns around to look at the offerings.] Look at this, a nectarine, maybe? Or how about this pear? Like this perfect pear, we think, “I have become a wonderful person who can give thanks to anything,” and try to show God a spotlessly clean self. That is what we’ve been doing until now.

We say, “God, how do you like this wonderful nectarine? I worked so hard for it!” and we hold it out with one hand. But behind our back is our other hand, holding a rotten fish or a rotten nectarine or a bruised pear that we don’t want to show God. We are holding many of these. While we do that, we only show the clean, pretty ones to God. God sees all of this and is saying to us, “Hold out your other hand. What are you hiding?”

Of course, it is appropriate to make something beautiful when it comes to physical offerings. But for our inner hearts, all we have to do is put everything on the offering tray and offer our honest and undisguised selves to God. I think God would be so happy if you do so. He would say to us, “That is the very thing I wanted to harvest.”

I believe that it is this love of God that Kyoshu-sama has been trying to convey to us in various ways over the last seventeen years. To become children of God, too, means we cannot become children of this Parent in the truest sense if we are hiding things from Him, right? It means be hugged, honest and undisguised, by your true Father. This is what it means to be born anew. We just complicate it in our minds.

But there’s no need to do that. Kyoshu-sama has become one with my mother and is inviting us to the path of true joy. So no matter what thoughts and feelings we have in our hearts, there is nothing to be ashamed of. If you offer your whole honest and undisguised self to God, I am sure Kyoshu-sama would be quite happy about it.

After all, Kyoshu-sama has worked so hard these past seventeen, eighteen years to free our hearts. We were actually living in a prison this whole time, the prison of commandments. Kyoshu-sama came with the key to open that prison and say, “Time to come out. What are you waiting for? How long are you going to act like a sinner?”

So if we offer our honest and undisguised selves to God, that would make Kyoshu-sama happy for sure. In turn, if Kyoshu-sama who inherits the sacred work of Meishu-sama becomes happy, Meishu-sama would become happy. And if Meishu-sama becomes happy, it would make God happy, too.

And if God becomes happy, as He lives within each and every one of us, we will feel a happiness, a joy, that we have never felt before. We will undoubtedly be able to feel it bubbling within us. And even though our lives until now were truly chained up, God will set us free and open up the path before us, wide and bright. This wonderful time is approaching. It is awaiting us right before our eyes.

So don’t think that it’s too late in life for you. As Meishu-sama said in one of the hymns I mentioned earlier, “It is up to each one of you which path you choose. That is how this world works.” Do you think that once you pass away from this earth, you don’t have to make a decision? That’s not the case. If you don’t decide, even after you pass on, God will continue to ask you, “So which one do you choose?” I say you should decide today! You don’t want to be asked by God every day, “So which one is it?” do you?

It is so much better to be alive to save the people who are suffering in hell, unquestionably. This would make God very happy, and it would also be for the sake of humanity.

So from today on, with courage, let us go forward together on this path of salvation.

Thank you very much.

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