Believe in God

TENRIKYO PEARL CHURCH SERMON 2003 November Service

Good morning! I would like to thank you all for your kind support and sincere offerings. I am confident that God the Parent and Oyasama are pleased that you are present here today.

THE TRUTH OF SAZUKE

In order to rebuild the Iraqi government, American troops are still occupying the country. Many of our soldiers are being killed on a daily basis by suicide bombers and other attackers who are resisting the occupation.

In California, wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres, killed many people, and left thousands homeless.

These are the great tragedies, and our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of the fires, as well as the brave soldiers fighting for our country.

No matter where we are, or what the circumstances, it is only God who can protect us. If we use our minds in accordance with God’s intention, God will take care of us. We can live a Joyous Life if we but believe in God and follow the teachings.

The topic of my sermon today is ‘Believe in God.’

At this past August’s monthly service at Jiba, Honbu-in (Church HQ board member) Naohisa Takai gave the sermon. I’d like to share a part of this with you today. Rev. Takai left Japan and went to the Congo in Africa to do missionary work more than 40 years ago in the 1960’s. He had no knowledge of the country or language, and being the lone Tenrikyo missionary in a strange land, he devoted himself to performing the service and administering the Sazuke.

Just below the equator in Congo, people suffer with fevers from malaria and everyday, these people come to his place asking to be administered the sazuke. Their temperatures rise as high as 107 degrees and as Rev. Takai strokes their bodies during the sazuke, he can tell that the body temperature is dropping. This happened many times. Also, since the heat from the sun is very strong, there were many who came with skin ailments. Some came with severe skin conditions with blood and pus oozing the entire body and even those he stroked directly on their skin for the sazuke. One month later when he visited a person on whom he administered the sazuke with this skin ailment, he found a giant scab over this person’s chest and stomach. When he peeled it, he found new skin forming underneath.

Everyday after the morning service, there were 20-30 people waiting to be administered the sazuke. When he finished praying for all those people, it would be almost noon. Rev. Takai who has been administering the sazuke to hundreds of people, has a firm conviction that there is no sazuke that does not work. The purpose of the sazuke is not merely to heal illness, but to cleanse the mental dust of both the person administering the sazuke and the person being administered the sazuke. Through human eyes, we wish to see miracles of healing which we can see with our own eyes. But blessing received through the sazuke may come in other forms such as, self-realization, one’s causality being lightened or passing away for rebirth quickly into a better life, without lingering in pain and suffering for both the sick person and the family.

Oyasama said whoever received the Grant of Safe Childbirth, will have an easy delivery. In those days, giving birth was a very uneasy time for women. Not like today, with modern facilities and medical advancements. So the women of those times relied on many superstitions such as, leaning on something and refrained from eating certain foods. Oyasama said she will test the Grant of Safe Childbirth first on her daughter, Oharu. On the day of delivery, there was a big earthquake, but Oharu gave birth easily without any difficulty.

The following day, Yuki, who was the wife of a villager named villager named Sosuke Shimizu, visited the Residence. Seeing Oharu already up and working energetically, she was deeply struck with the wonders of God’s blessing. She asked Oyasama if she, too, would be granted such protection. To this, Oyasama replied:

The same with every woman.

Before long, when Yuki conceived, she came back to ask for the Grant of Safe Childbirth. Oyasama granted it and said:

You must forget all human concern. Rely on God the Parent and have a delivery free from worry.

But Yuki, in spite of having received the Grant of Safe Childbirth, could not rely completely on Her words. Instead, after giving birth, she followed the traditional customs such as the taboo on certain foods and the practice of leaning against something, with the result that she was confined to her bed with fever for about thirty days. When Oyasama was consulted at Yuki’s request, She said:

It is because she harbored doubts.
Yuki realized the exact truth of this response the moment she heard it and, deeply impressed by it, repented from the bottom of her heart.

The next year, when Yuki conceived again, she received the Grant of Safe Childbirth, solemnly swearing that she would never doubt again. Since she kept relying on God wholeheartedly, abiding well by Oyasama’s instructions this time, she was blessed with an unusually easy delivery, and her recovery was smooth.
If you only rely on God and believe wholeheartedly, you will be saved.

When we say rely on God, we don’t mean to do nothing and just rely on God, but rather we should practice the teaching according to God’s intention rather acting on our own self-centered human thinking. This is what is meant by relying on God.

We meet people regularly with serious illnesses and in addition to the sazuke we are performing the twelve songs of the Teodori on a daily basis. Also, I am going to Dendocho everyday to perform the Seated Service.

Some things cannot be done by human strength alone. God’s workings may not be immediately apparent. However, we must believe with strong conviction, without even the slightest doubt, in the words of God the Parent and the Truth of Sazuke.

In the Ofudesaki, Part X: 19 and 34, we read:

Day by day, hasten to begin the Service.
You will escape any danger whatever.

If only the Service is done without error,
The Gift of heaven, also, will be given without fail.


Announcements:
1. This year’s Joyous Life Lecture will be held this Saturday, November 15th at 2pm at Dendocho. The speaker is Rev. Motoo Matsuda who is the former bishop of North America Dendocho. Please take this opportunity to invite friends and relatives to this meaningful talk.

2. The Dendocho November Service will be held next Sunday at 9am.

3. The Dendocho Nioigake Day will be held on following day, Monday, November 17th at 9am.

4. The weekly service practices are held every Thursday night at 6:00-7:00pm.

5. I would like to thank you all for your support and contributions made for our Trick or Treat for UNICEF activity held this past month.

As always, I encourage all of you to take advantage of these opportunities for further spiritual growth, which is the path of the joyous life.

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