Eleanor Roosevelt

TENRIKYO PEARL CHURCH SERMON 2004 February 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 to participate in this February Monthly Service.

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

Have you ever heard of Eleanor Roosevelt? When you hear of the name Roosevelt, you will probably think of the president. Eleanor Roosevelt was the wife of the President Franklin Roosevelt.

She was born into a wealthy and influential New York family.

Her father’s brother was President Theodore Roosevelt and her mother’s forbearers included a signer of the Declaration of Independence. She was brought up in such a political family. However, her mother passed away when she was eight years old and two years later, when she was ten, she lost her father. She grew up in her grandmother’s home.

Grandmother always reminded Eleanor that caring for others would make her feel better about herself. Moreover, her father also said, ‘If you can let people know you love them, you’ll make them happy. And that will make you happy too.’ This is how she was raised.

Eleanor remembered her father’s advice when she traveled with her family to the far-off country of Italy. She was riding a donkey, and she saw that the servant boy who led her donkey was limping.
Eleanor said, ‘You ride, your feet are sore and you need a rest,’ and she got off the donkey. The servant boy was impressed with this little girl and was happy and grateful for her kindness.

When she was twenty-four, she met her distant cousin, Franklin Roosevelt and they got married. She had everything that a woman could want: a fine husband, six healthy children, and lived in a beautiful big house. But in spite of all the wonderful things, a very sad thing happened. Franklin caught a dreadful disease called polio. There were no shots to protect people in those days; so many people became crippled by this sickness.

Eleanor thought that she had to find a way to help him. She was sad but she remembered how caring for others had helped her with her own problems.

She said to Franklin, ‘Why don’t you run for public office? I think you’d be happier if you were doing something to help others.’ He asked, ‘How can I run for office with this condition? I can’t even walk properly.’ Eleanor said, ‘You can do everything that is important. Don’t worry,’ she said. He then ran for governor. Despite of his health problem, with the support of Eleanor, Franklin was elected governor of state of New York.

Then the hard times called the great depression came to America. Factories shut down, stores went out of business. Farmers stopped growing food and banks had no money. All over the country, people lost their jobs. The time came to elect a new president and the people wanted to vote for someone who cared about those who were out of work and money.

Franklin ran for and was elected president and gave the people new hope. He wanted the people to have faith so that they could work to solve their problems.

In spite of her husband’s paralysis and his life on a wheelchair, Eleanor went all over the country to talk to the people and help solve their problems.

Unfortunately, in 1939, World War II started, Eleanor began to travel to the places where American troops were fighting. Moreover, she visited the wounded and tried to make them feel better. She didn’t just visit the troops and forget about them.
When she got home from her trips, she wrote a letter or telephoned the families of the men she had seen. President Roosevelt died just before the war ended.

Even after her husband passed away, she continued to work for people in need all over the world. Many people in the overseas countries lost their homes in the war. Refugees lived in crowded camps in faraway countries. There were homeless, lonely, and uncared for children: thousands of youngsters who didn’t have enough to eat. Eleanor set her mind to find ways to help them. She worked at the United Nations on the founding of UNICEF and the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to help the sad, poor and hungry people everywhere.

In conclusion, I want to share what Eleanor said, ‘You get more joy out of giving joy to others and should put a good deal of thought into the happiness you are able to give.’

After learning about Eleanor Roosevelt, what she said and what she did, reminded me of the Tenrikyo Teaching:

Ponder from your innermost heart to understand.
Through saving others, you will be saved.
Ofudesaki III: 47

While thinking of and praying for others, without realizing it, your mind becomes purified and naturally, solves your problems.

Eleanor encouraged her husband with a few words saying, ‘I think you’d be happier if you were doing something to help others.’ With these few words, they saved millions of people all over the world.


Again from the Ofudesaki III: 37, we read:

Do not grieve over whatever path you are now on.
Take delight in the main path that lies ahead.


Announcements:

1. I will be departing for Jiba and then on to Australia and Zealand to give the Joyous Life Lecture at six different locations on February 21st through March 8th. Then I will be serving as Shuyoka instructor for 3 months at Jiba from March 21st through June 30th.


2. Pearl Church renovations Phase I will begin tomorrow on February 9th and end on March 21st. Installing an emergency exit staircase and raise the front entrance landing. Phase II is widening, the front stairs, installing a wall in the sanctuary will begin on July 1, after I return from Jiba.

3. The Dendocho February Monthly Service will be held next Sunday at 9am.

4. The Dendocho Nioigake Day will be held on following day, Monday, at 9am.

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

6. Later this month on February 28, that’s Saturday, the BGA will be doing Hinokishin at Stadium Park. Meet at Dendocho at 9am or go direct to the park by 10am.

7. The BGA Spring Camp will be held on next month on March 26th through 28th (that would be Friday through Sunday).
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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