Why Do We Have Faith in God?

TENRIKYO PEARL CHURCH SERMON 2003 FEBRUARY

I would like to thank you all for attending the February Service, here at Tenrikyo Pearl Church in this 166th year of Tenrikyo. I’m sure God the Parent and Oyasama are very happy to see you here today and will bless you accordingly.

WHY DO WE HAVE FAITH IN GOD?

Why do we have faith in God? There are many people who seem to be living happily without having faith in God or going to church. There are also people who think that they should stay at home and take a nap rather than waste their time at church. However, we have faith in God because we believe that we will continue to receive God’s marvelous blessings. If we didn’t receive any blessings, we wouldn’t believe in God. In fact, there are many people who are suffering from all kinds of problems, such as problems in relationships with others, illness, accidents, and other unpleasant incidents.

This past Tuesday, we went to nioigake (missionary work) in the Wahiawa area. I met an elderly lady, whose granddaughter, Kahealani, 11 years old, was murdered last December. Most of you have heard or read about it in the newspaper. The suspect was her 18-year-old sister’s boyfriend who is 20 years old. Because the boyfriend needed money, he robbed Kahealani of her Hawaiian bracelets, which she always wore to school, and subsequently ended her life. After hearing her story, I couldn’t say anything, but to give my sympathies to her grandmother. Why does this kind of thing happen? I thought and thought about for a long time.
We are taught that fruit do not grow without a seed. Consequently, whatever happens in world are the results of seeds that were sown. This is the law of nature. When you throw a ball hard, it rebounds hard, if you throw it soft, it comes back soft. This is the nature of heaven and the providence of God. The path that we are on is the path that we have laid for ourselves. We are reborn from previous lives so we have been accumulating all kinds of dusts from our present life as well as our previous lives. We don’t know it, but we might have committed many misdeeds in our previous lives.

Just because one day we put our hands together and ask God for help, doesn’t mean that we will be instantly cleansed completely of the dusts in our mind. In the same way, having faith in God doesn’t mean that good things will always happen from that day forward. For instance, if we always make people happy, then people will be kind to us. On the other hand, if we accuse people and make people suffer, then we will receive suffering. But if we have faith in God, God will reduce a big misfortune into a smaller misfortune, according to God’s grace. We will never have to face severe misfortunes.

Here is a story of a family who has faith in Tenrikyo. The son, who is a college student wanted to buy a motorcycle and started to work at a part time job. After one month past, he wondered why he didn’t get paid and went to see his boss. The boss said that his mom came and asked that one year of her son’s pay be given to his mom in advance. Later he found out that his mom offered his money to God. His mom told him that he did not have any ‘toku’ or virtue to receive and safely ride the motorcycle. The son then scolded his mom and told her to never do this again. Anyway, he continued to work at the part time job and earned enough money to purchase a motorcycle after the second year. He was so happy to finally be able to ride his motorcycle. But shortly after that he was involved in an accident with a car and but did not suffer from any injury, not even a scratch. As you can see, if you have faith in God, God will protect you, by making a big misfortune, small, and a small misfortune into an inconvenience.

There is another story about Mr. Hiroki Mitsunaga, the late husband of Mrs. Mitsunaga. When he was 80 years old he was still working part time as bookkeeper for a produce company. Against his family’s wish to stop working because of his age, he continued to work. While he was driving to the bank on the company van, he was struck from behind by another vehicle and his van went over a fire hydrant. The fire hydrant went right through the underside of the vehicle and appeared on the side of the driver’s seat. He then opened his door and came out of the van without a scratch and looked fine. The ambulance came and took him to the hospital, which he hesitated to go, but was finally persuaded to go. At the hospital, he took x-rays twice because the doctor wanted to make sure and it was found that nothing was wrong. He was not injured at all. This is due to his faith (the toku or virtue accumulated) and his devotion in attending the monthly service.

Toku is invisible; we cannot see it and we cannot touch it. It is not an object. However, devotion to church worship, connecting with God, and helping people with our kindness will accumulate toku and thereby receive God’s protection and blessings.


Announcements:

1. The Dendocho Spring Grand Service will be held next Sunday at 9am.

2. The monthly Nioigake Day will be held on following day, Monday, 17th at 9am.

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

4. The Boy’s and Girl’s Association Hinokishin Day at Stadium Park will be held on Saturday, February 22, at 10am, we will meet at Dendocho at 9am.

5. The Boy’s and Girl’s Association Spring Camp will be held on March 22nd to the 24th (Sat thru Mon). On Sunday, at 10am we will be having the General Meeting. Everyone is invited, so please come and enjoy.

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

6. We regret to announce the passing of the late Daryl Nakai, who was injured in a moped accident on January 4th and passed away three days later on January 7th. Daryl attended our November Service last year. Our hearts go out to his friends and family and pray that he will be reborn and join us once again in a new life.

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