Congratulations, everyone, on today’s World Church of Messiah Meishu-sama’s Birthday Service.
First, as with last year’s Meishu-sama’s Birthday Service and this year’s Grand Spring Service, I would like to thank all the staff at Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba hotel for their tremendous understanding and cooperation as well as their consideration on numerous matters. It is due to their support that we are able to hold this service today, and for that, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to everyone at the hotel. Thank you very much.
Meishu-sama received his life here on earth on December 23, 1882. This year marks the anniversary of his 139th birthday.
Each one of us, too, has a birthday. But both Meishu-sama and we were able to be born on earth only because God connected all of us to the name of Messiah and bore us as His spiritual children first, in the world of Spirit, in heaven.
God has us be born on earth so that we, His spiritual children, can become separate individuals, each with his or her own sense of self, and so that each one of us can be born anew as a Messiah—a child of God.
God predetermined that all humanity will be born anew as His children, and now, by His authority and with His grace, He is carrying out His work of creation within us and within all that exists.
We can all become the children of our true Parent—God.
God brought this gospel to all of us humanity through Jesus. In order to forgive the sins of humanity against Himself, God put Jesus on the cross, received Jesus’s atoning blood and soul, raised Jesus from the dead and resurrected him as “the Messiah, the child of God,” as Jesus Christ.
Two thousand years later, by believing in the forgiveness of God through the atonement of Jesus, Meishu-sama, on behalf of all humanity, responded to this gospel with his very own being.
A year before his ascension, while the symptoms from the brain hemorrhage persisted, Meishu-sama, with enormous joy and surprise, announced that the Messiah was born within him, that the birth of the Messiah took place within him. He told us that it was not reincarnation but a new birth.
On behalf of us and for us to follow in his footsteps, Meishu-sama responded to the divine will of making all humanity be born anew as God’s children.
No matter who you are or where you live, if you believe in Jesus’s atonement and resurrection and if the way you believe in them is deemed right in the eyes of God, you can be born anew, right here, right now, in an instant. You can be a child who serves God, living eternally, filled with true life and true comfort.
Today, we are holding this service, first, to sincerely celebrate the birth of Meishu-sama who has imparted to us this grace of being able to be born anew and, second, to express our gratitude to God for sending Jesus to us two thousand years ago and for sending Meishu-sama to us now. I am truly happy that I am holding this service together with all of you.
Everyone, thank you.
As all of you already noticed, I did not minister Johrei during today’s service.
From now on, too, I am not going to minister Johrei in services or other gatherings.
For I believe that that is what Meishu-sama wants from me.
We and all our pioneer ministers have been ministering Johrei by the raising of the hand.
We were able to encounter Meishu-sama and exist today because our pioneer ministers worked so hard in spreading the gospel through Johrei with burning desire to save the world. When I think about their passionate faith and efforts they put in over the years, my heart is filled with gratitude.
We awakened to the existence and power of God through Johrei, through witnessing changes in the condition of our illness or health.
But in cases where the result of Johrei was not something we expected or where we were not able to perceive or see any change in the condition of our health even after receiving Johrei, didn’t we try to satisfy ourselves by saying things like “We need more Johrei,” “His Johrei is not strong enough,” “There’s something wrong with the way I serve God” or “I need to dedicate more”?
Even though we said that we wanted to be of use to God, didn’t we use Johrei to fulfill our desires rather than those of God? Didn’t we evaluate the power and light of God and their infinite workings in a way that suited our own desires and needs?
How arrogant we have been! Yet God has permitted us to raise the hand of Johrei until today, patiently guiding and nurturing us. We will never be able to grasp even a fraction of how great and deep this love of God is.
Why did Meishu-sama allow us to raise the hand of Johrei, something he himself performed?
That was for us to be able to turn our hearts to God even just a little and admit that we exist only because God exists, and for us to realize that God’s hand of salvation exists within us.
Weren’t these also the reasons why Meishu-sama drew the image of a Kannon with many hands, known as Thousand-Handed Kannon?
Through his hymns too, Meishu-sama demonstrated to us an undeniable fact that God’s hand of salvation exists within us with its authority of grace.
“Know this everyone: / The master of your life is not you! / Your life is in the hand of God.”
“Wise are those / Who obediently rely on the Messiah. / For the fate of the lives of all people / Is in his hand!”
“O great hand of the Messiah! / All creation on earth, without exception, / Will be saved by you!”
“O God, You, with Your hand, / Gently beckon the wandering sheep / Who are lost in the darkness!”
We now have come to know that the Lord God lives within us and that He is welcoming everyone and everything into His hand as ones that are atoned for, forgiven, saved and purified through the name of Messiah.
To accept and admit this salvation that exists in the name of Messiah—this, I say, is the true, living work of Johrei.
It is this work of Johrei that God is ministering to us—inside of us—without a moment’s rest.
Meishu-sama taught us that all diseases, suffering and agony are purification. For us to admit any form of suffering as purification is to admit that God is ministering His work of Johrei through that suffering.
Purification and Johrei—God is accomplishing His work through these two as one.
Purification and Johrei are one.
In one of his calligraphies, Meishu-sama wrote, “Look at me, everyone. I am now going to extend my great, saving hand!”
As you can see in this Sacred Word, God who is with Meishu-sama is now working ever so powerfully with His great, saving hand.
Everyone, don’t we need to admit now, at this moment, that we have been raising the hand of Johrei as if the hand of God existing within us were our own?
Don’t we need to express our repentance to God and Meishu-sama for that and return the precious and holy hand to God through the name of Messiah?
At the same time, let us believe that God’s hand of Johrei exists in our sonen and breath so that we can respond to the will of Meishu-sama who said, “From now on, we enter the world of sonen. Johrei is not so important anymore. Sonen comes first, so pray in your hearts.” Let us put an end to the Johrei by the raising of the hand that we have been practicing until today and serve in an entirely new work of salvation through our sonen and breath.
By receiving the permission from Lord God whom Meishu-sama and Jesus Christ serve in unity, let us walk this path of an entirely new salvation—the path that leads to eternal life—courageously and with unshakable determination.
Although I am sure all of you already know this as we heard in President Narii’s greeting a moment ago, allow me to say the following with renewed commitment and humility.
Receiving permission from Lord God and Meishu-sama, I have decided to hold the Grand Ceremony to Celebrate the Birth of the Messiah together with all of you on June 15 next year.
67 years ago, on June 15, 1954, Meishu-sama held the Provisional Ceremony to Celebrate the Birth of the Messiah. Since then, it will be the first time that the actual ceremony is to be celebrated.
In the provisional ceremony, Meishu-sama wanted to share the joy of true life with all the members—the joy of true life he perceived when he was born anew as the Messiah. In order to respond to this heart of Meishu-sama, let us do our utmost in serving in the work of creating a new future so that Meishu-sama will be truly delighted on the day of the actual ceremony.
To close, I would like to thank all of you for walking the path of World Church of Messiah with courage and hope throughout this past year. May you have a fruitful new year, filled with grace and comfort.
Thank you very much.