“Acts of Faith” October Sermon 2012

Good morning. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to attend the October Grand Service here at Pearl Church and thank you for your kind and sincere offerings. I am sure God the Parent and Oyasama are really happy to see you all here today and to have performed the service with joy and in high spirits!

Today’s service is called the October Grand Service, instead of monthly service because it is the month that Tenrikyo began, October 26, 1838, 173 years ago.

“I am God of Origin, God in Truth. There is causality in this Residence. At this time I have descended here to save all humankind. I wish to receive Miki as the Shrine of God.”

These were the first words declared by God the Parent, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, through the mouth of Oyasama, Miki Nakayama.

Miki’s family was greatly startled by the unexpected revelation. Using every possible argument, they refused God’s request, but God the Parent remained steadfast. Finally, forsaking all self-centered human thoughts and concerns of inconvenience to the family, they replied that they would comply with God’s request. That day, October 26, 1838, marks the beginning of Tenrikyo. That is why this month’s service is called the October Grand Service, rather than monthly service.

Acts of Faith

In our daily lives, when we wake up, we go about performing our daily duties in our respective positions at home and at work. Depending on what our job is, we may find ourselves doing the same old thing every day with no change and no growth. In this daily routine we may lose track of what our life is about. Even as ministers, we get distracted. I always think about what can we do to bring the teachings in harmony with our daily life. As a follower of this path I believe that once we can put the teachings into practice in our daily life, our destiny will change for the better.

Recently we met a Tenrikyo minister from Japan who has 49 branch churches. He talked with us about some of his extraordinary experiences. And we would like to share this with you today. Rev. Hirata comes to Hawaii to do missionary work and visit his followers about twice a year. In his busy schedule, he stays in Hawaii for just one week to do missionary activities.

One of the activities of missionary work is called “Kamina nagashi.” Those participating form a single line with the first person playing the wooden clappers as all sing Yorozuyo as they walk along the street. The name is his church is Noumu which is a branch of Gimi Grand Church. A few years ago, this Rev. Hirata, encountered four groups engaged in kamina nagashi. The first group was in Tokyo, where the missionaries of the Tokyo diocese missionary house did kamina nagashi and street preaching. The second group was in Korea in front of a train station in Pusan where many Tenrikyo followers were doing kamina nagashi in Korean in a continuous flow as different people came for their assigned time. He was told that they were doing this every day from morning till night. Also, just before entering an elevator in an office building in this busy city, someone gave him a pamphlet which was written in Korean. He couldn’t read Korean but he recognized three Kanji characters on the pamphlet. To his surprise it read “Ten-ri-kyo!” The 3rd and 4th time was in Osaka when he saw two groups doing kamina nagashi in a busy section of the city. He said he was really impressed with how they were doing it. He described it as lively and spirited.

After seeing these spirited Kamina nagashi, he felt that God was telling him to do Kamina Nagashi decided to do it in Hawaii which he did in front of the Gandhi statue in Waikiki. When he returned to Japan, a couple came to his church and said that they want to become Tenrikyo members. The couple said that many religious groups put their pamphlets in their mailbox, but they felt that the content in the Tenrikyo pamphlet was the best. Although they didn’t feel like joining a church, one day, the thought just popped in their head and they went to his church. Later he found out that it was the couple’s second visit to his church. On the first visit they were told that Rev. Hirata was away on a trip to Hawaii. When he asked them what that day was he learned that it was the exact same day that he performed kamina nagashi in Waikiki! He couldn’t help but feel the power of God’s blessings which worked over long distances in an instant!

Through Rev. Hirata’s guidance this couple completed the Besseki lectures and became yoboku. They also installed a shrine for their monthly home service and attend the monthly service every month at Noumu Branch Church.

In the Anecdotes of Oyasama, Story #91 Dance All the Way Home,

In 1881, when Oyasama gave a red undergarment to Shina Okamoto, Shina felt extreme honor and delight. Oyasama said, “Wear it when you go home. On the way through Tambaichi town, wear it over your kimono and dance all the way.”

Shina was surprised by Her words. Her delight faded away, taken over by anxiety. She thought that by doing so she would only make a laughing stock of herself among the people in the town. She also feared that she would not be able to get home on that day because in those days, worshipers at the Jiba were often taken to the police. However, she soon made up her mind and said to herself that she would not care whatever happened nor would she mind it even if she were not able to get home that day. She put on the red kimono-undergarment over her kimono and set out. On her way home through Tambaichi she danced the Teodori with all her heart and soul.

Before she was aware of it, she was at the edge of town. At that time she realized that nothing bad had happened, thanks to divine protection. She felt relieved and her joy was doubled by the fact that she had been given the red garment by Oyasama and she had fulfilled her given mission. Deeply moved, Shina thanked Oyasama from the bottom of her heart and hugged the red garment tightly against her bosom.

Generally speaking, singing and dancing the Yorozu-yo in public is embarrassing for the normal person. If someone they know sees them, one might feel that they are thinking, “He must have lost his mind!” However, when we sing the Mikagura-uta concerning this we cannot help but believe that this is something we must do.

Fifth, Always ridiculed and slandered,
Still I will realize remarkable salvation.

Also, Song 6, verse 5

Fifth, Always performing the Kagura and Teodori,
In the future I will work remarkable salvation.

In this spirit of faith and totally relying on God the Parent, Taeko and I have started to do kamina nagashi in Waikiki. We did it for five days straight during this past week. At first we felt a little embarrassed because people were looking at us probably wondering, “what in the world?” But we reminded ourselves to rely on God and we kept on going and did it for half an hour walking from the zoo to Princess Kaiulani Hotel and back. At the end of each time we felt refreshed and relieved too!

On the third day, a Caucasian man suddenly said, “I know Tenrikyo, I’ve been to Jiba.” So we stopped and talked to him for a while and gave him our phone number, address and the date of today’s service.

This is not only for our sake as a church, but this Kamina Nagashi is also for world peace. This act of faith, we believe we must continue.

Thank you for your attention.

Announcements

  1. Thank you for bringing your deposit cans and bottles for our fundraising drive. We are still continuing our fundraising efforts for our next project which is the repainting of Pearl Church this summer. Please continue bringing your deposit cans and bottles and any yard work referrals.
  2. Taeko will be returning to Jiba this Friday, October 19th to attend the Tengen WA General Meeting.
  3. The MHQ service will be held this coming Sunday on October 21.
  4. This month we will be supporting the Trick or Treat for UNICEF fund drive by passing out the orange collection boxes. Please take one or two for work or home and join in the drive to assist those children in disaster stricken areas. We will be joining the Mission HQ group to do trick or treating for UNICEF in Waikiki on Halloween Day. If you wish to participate, let me or Taeko know.
  5. Please welcome new home stay student Mr. Yuta Maeda from Tenri University who is attending the NICE program at UH, and Ms. Sachiko Akai attending the Institute of Intensive English in Waikiki.

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