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Greetings from Rev. Kanta

April 14, 2018 (Tenrikyo 181)
Honjima Grand Church Head Ministers’ Meeting

I’m grateful for the Path
I’m grateful for churches

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

katayama kanta

(Summary)

Today, I will relay a story that made me think, “I’m grateful for The Path, I’m grateful for churches.”

When I go to a church for a mission visit, I can see the children's growth at the church. There is a girl who has Down syndrome at the church I visited this month. When I visited the church last time, she was in elementary school, and she was sitting next to the head minister of the church at their monthly service performing the role of singer #2. The head minister would tap her on her knees and back keeping the rhythm of the service, and she was able to perform in the monthly service.

She is attending middle school from this spring. I didn’t see her sitting in her spot as the singer at the monthly service this time. Looking for her, I found that she was playing the cymbals on her own.

I am grateful for this Path. I was so moved that God the Parent is nurturing her. She has matured and is able to play the instrument by herself now.

Later, she was playing with one of the head ministers of a subordinate church before evening service. Then, after the service, I heard her say to that minister, “Tomorrow, I have school. So, I can’t play.”

Having been brought up in a church and an environment where helping others is the norm, she has cultivated a mind to empathize with others. This gave me a warm feeling. I’m so grateful of this Path.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon (Summary)
April 14, 2018 (Tenrikyo 181)

“What is painful is a knot”
Let us relay the joy of faith to our children

Rev. Keiko Nagao
Grand Church Associate Board Member

Rev.katayamayoshiharu

(Summary)

In 2010, my husband, who was the head minister of SeaTac Church, passed away for rebirth. All three of our children were adults at the time. I gave thanks that my husband, who had so many illnesses, was allowed by God to live this long and that our children were grown. After that, I resolved that I would live the rest of my life in America and later, I received the truth of the 6th head minister of the SeaTac Church.

I started to serve as the head minister with the support of my family and the church members. Then, in my second year as a minister, we were shown another knot. One of our American Yoboku who had been a member of our church for nearly 10 years passed away for rebirth at the age of 28.

He and my son were supposed to attend the Spiritual Development Course together, but my son attended alone. After that, he served as a live-in volunteer at Honjima Grand Church.

Then, in 2012, it was the year of the 110th Anniversary of Honjima Grand Church. Wishing to overcome the knots shown to us, many of us from SeaTac Church returned to Jiba and to Honjima for the Anniversary.

However, on the day after the Anniversary, something happened to my body. I was in so much pain that I could not get up. I could not even move my body. I was rushed to a hospital in Marugame City and all sorts of tests were done on me. Throughout this whole time, I was in so much pain and that I was starting to lose my consciousness. Later, I learned that the doctor had told my daughter that if the pain continues for 24 hours, it could endanger my life. Since it was shortly after the passing of her father, I can’t imagine how scared she must have felt.

Though I had escaped death, I was receiving crippling painkillers through the IV. I remained at the Ikoi no Ie Hospital in Jiba for further testing, unable to move. Still, they had no name for my disease.

During that time, many people came to administer the Sazuke to me. What came to my mind was my mother who gave birth to me. My biological mother passed away for rebirth when I was two years old and five months, my younger sister was only 5 months old. I am told that she passed away from chest pain due to acute rheumatism. After the passing of many years, I have become aware of my causality. As I look back and think about my parents’ thoughts on following the Path, I feel that I have received God the Parent’s Parental love.

Later, I was able to return to the United States somehow, but had difficulties in my daily life. After a year, I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. It is one of those systemic disorders with unknown causes. Many people become bed-ridden. A famous American singer, Lady Gaga, has put her appearances on hold indefinitely since December last year due to this disease.

In my case, I continuously had severe coughing and chronic pains. It happened to be the time when Instruction Three was first announced for the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama, so I made a spiritual resolution toward the Anniversary.

It has been six years since then, and my health condition has gotten better each year. I’m truly thankful for this great blessing of God the Parent.

Later, I also suffered from an acute glaucoma and almost lost my sight, but luckily, I was able to get an operation on the very day it was found. It was a close call. I will never forget the joy of how clearly I could see things when the eye dressing was removed two days later. I felt as though God the Parent taught me to “follow the voice of God.”

I received religious counseling from our Grand Church Head Minister and I understood that, through the illness of the head minister, God wanted the Yoboku connected to the church to mature. Then, the church started to change in that way. I felt that God the Parent had instructed us in an area where I, as the head minister, was not able to reach.

Rev. Yoshie, our former Grand Church Head Minister, taught me a part of a Divine Direction:

“What is painful is a knot, yet buds spout from knots. Have a spacious mind that allows you to accept your pain as a knot and a source of delight.” (Divine Directions March 5, 1894)

Rev. Yoshie then gave me these warm words, “Let us learn from the Divine Model of Oyasama and look for joy without getting discouraged.” The Divine Direction she taught me is one that I am not able to forget and is a source of nourishment for my mind.

As I look back on the 33 years since I came to America, I feel strongly that it is due to the hardships endured by our predecessors for the cause of overseas mission that we are being protected everyday and we are where we are today.

My three children are now all married. My eldest daughter and her husband, who reside in Kona, Hawaii, have been blessed with two children and live a life of faith. My son and his wife live here at SeaTac Church and serve the church. My second daughter lives in the neighborhood and helps me in many ways. All my sons- and daughter-in-law were born in the United States, but they all wear the service garments and perform the Service. I am thankful for that.

When I look back to eight years ago when my husband passed away for rebirth and I became the church head minister; the future seemed uncertain. When I think about that, I am truly grateful. I look forward to the future and am determined to serve my duties joyfully together with my church members

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Greetings from Rev. Kanta

March 22, 2018 (Tenrikyo 181)
Honjima Grand Church Head Ministers’ Meeting

Let Us Return to Jiba Once a Year

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

katayama kanta

(Summary)

The Tenrikyo Women’s Association will be holding its 100th convention on April 19th.

Leading up to this convention, the Women’s Association is aiming to accomplish these three goals:

  1. Participation of all women’s association representatives from each church
  2. Participation of members from each church
  3. Let us have people attend the Besseki lectures

The first and second goals look for the participation of representatives and members from all the churches to take part. The third goal has to do with the Besseki lectures. There must be many who are part way through their Besseki lectures. Many people attended the Besseki lectures during the pilgrimage for the Anniversary of Oyasama. Let us nurture them and bring them back to Jiba again.

The 25th and final session of the Seminar for Successors has started from today. This time, the total number of attendees of the 25 sessions of the Seminar from Honjima Grand Church was 182 people.

Compared to The Seminar for Successors that was held 10 years ago, this time the number of attendees decreased significantly (there were 288 attendees 10 years ago, a decrease of 106). I think we need to reflect on the result, resolve our minds to do something, and execute the determination.

Though I had called on many people to attend the Seminar, I struck out on many of them. I learned the difficulty of guiding just one person. Through this, I have been pondering over two things.

The first is that many of those who participated in the Seminar were those who had attended the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, and activities for the Boys and Girls and Student Associations. I hope to continue to focus my efforts in nurturing young people and not only have them attend our activities, but to relay what blessings we receive from God the Parent and Oyasama so that they really understand them.

The second is, even if they lived in Tenri as students, if they don’t return to Jiba for a long time, before long, it becomes a faraway place rather than a precious place to return.

That is why I feel it is important to diligently encourage them to return to Jiba regularly. I think it is important to nurture them so that they will return to Jiba at least once a year.

It is essential to apply our effort in relaying the truth of the Jiba, God the Parent and Oyasama while they are in the Boys and Girls and Student Associations, and to also encourage them to return to Jiba once a year. This is the message I would like to relay to the next generation.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

Boys and Girls Association Vertical Mission Seminar
March 22, 2018 (Tenrikyo 181)

Let’s convey the joy of faith to the children with joyousness, courage and persistence

Rev. Kouichi Hata
Boys and Girls Association Headquarters Committee Member

Rev.katayamayoshiharu

(Summary)

This year’s activity guideline for the Tenrikyo Boys and Girls Association is

“Let’s implement the Joyous Life each day and convey to children the joy it brings.”

Regarding this activity guideline, Mr. Chikara Iburi, the Chairperson of the Boys and Girls Association said, “The goal of people in the Tenrikyo faith is to live the joyous life in their daily lives; a life of finding joy and living joyously no matter what the situation is. To guide the children so that this way of life becomes their own is what we aim for.”

Continuing, the Boys and Girls Association “Activities to Promote” are:

  • Implementing “church sleepover” and “church children’s day” by all local churches.
  • Implementing Hinokishin activities at local districts and encouraging the participation by the whole family.
  • Strengthening the Wakagi age (age 12-15)—Implementing and enriching the youth training seminar by directly supervised churches and Wakagi training seminar by diocese.

In particular, implementing church sleepovers at every local church may seem difficult.

For the church sleepover program, the first and foremost is to have the participants visit and worship at the church. Then, they can do some hinokishin activities and/or some fun activities. If a sleepover is difficult, a half-day program is good enough.

Have them take part in performing the service, listen to a talk based on the teachings, have meals together, and stay overnight at the church. That’s all.

The fun part is the icing on the cake. When they are together with other children, even kids who usually don’t do chores at home find that they can help with meal preparation, gather up trash in the morning, etc, and it will come to them naturally. There can be such discoveries.

When we praise them for their hinokishin, they are able to enjoy it.

Simple play that we used to enjoy as little children such as tag can be new to them and they will enjoy it. Sitting in a circle and playing “Duck, Duck, Goose!” is also one of such games. Just little things like that can be plenty enjoyable.

Then, gradually, the children open up and have conversations. When we take them outside and give them a ball, they start to play by themselves.

I try to implement three things: “Joyousness” “Courage” and “Persistence.”

Joyousness means that I, myself, am cheerful and full of joy.

Courage is what it takes to decide to have a church sleepover and do activities for children.

Even when we invite children and they decline, or they change their mind at the last moment and cancel, we must have persistence and be able to say something to them to keep reaching out and connecting with them.

At my church, we have sleepovers twice a year. By continuing this tradition, I am grateful that there have been children whose parents were not church members that went on to participate in Student Association activities, or they come to help with the church sleepovers, or they take care of the younger children. There are 6 to 7 such students.

My eldest daughter is a high school junior in Tenri. Her former classmates will come and participate in church activities when I call on them, even if my daughter is not here.

The children are busier and busier nowadays. In order to nurture such children, we much first have a “Let’s do it!” attitude and be “true to the faith.” And as long as we have “Joyousness” “Courage” and “Persistence,” it should resonate with the children.

Vertical mission must be implemented toward the Boys and Girls Association members from parents to children and from grandparents to grandchildren. Those of us who are in the position of doing the nurturing must project our joy of faith through our activities at the Grand Church and local churches and do our best to cultivate our youth.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Greetings from Rev. Kanta

February 22, 2018 (Tenrikyo 181)
Honjima Grand Church Head Ministers’ Meeting

Let us work together in a unity of minds

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

katayama kanta

(Summary)

I would like to talk about three things I felt upon hearing the Shinbashira’s Spring Grand Service Sermon.

Regarding January 26th when the Spring Grand Service is performed, he said:

Regarding the truth of the twenty-sixth, which is also related to the founding of the Teaching, the second Shinbashira quoted the following Divine Direction at almost all Grand Services:

[C]oncerning the twenty-sixth, the principle of the founding and that of the ending are one in truth.
Osashizu, February 29, 1896

He explained that it was out of Her parental love for us human beings that both led Oyasama to reveal the Teaching in 1838 in Her role as the Shrine of Tsukihi in order to save all of us throughout the world and motivated Her to open the portals and step out to level the ground throughout the world in 1887.

In our teachings, we believe that God the Parent is the “Parent” of all human beings, and this teaching is easy to understand when compared to the relationship between God the Parent and humans to that of parent and child.

When we think of how parents feel about their children, because we hope for a bright future, sometimes we are not only gentle but also strict. I think it is important to bear in mind the Parental love that underlies all occurrences shown to us.

The second thought I had was regarding the knot of the felling of the Kanrodai. The Shinbashira spoke about his thoughts on this matter:

Last July, which was exactly half a year ago, the upper sections of the Kanrodai were knocked down. The two bottom sections that remained at Jiba reminded me of the confiscation of the Kanrodai, which took place after the construction of the stone Kanrodai had come to a halt. The tenons that connect one layer with another were broken, making it impossible to put them back together even for the time being until its replacement. To me, that situation appeared to tell us that we were lacking some connections among our hearts. I saw the incident as God’s instruction for us to become one in mind.
Unity of mind requires that we work together toward the same, shared goal while fulfilling our respective roles, helping one another.

Our goal that we strive toward is the same. Our respective roles and positions may differ, but we must work together in a unity of minds without losing sight of our goal.

The Shinbashira shared with us his understanding of the event to mean that, “… we were lacking some connections among our hearts.” Let us be in accord with the intention of the parent. Let us be mindful of connection, unity of mind, and cooperation.

Lastly, the Shinbashira stated that “The tenons that connect one layer with another were broken, making it impossible to put them back together even for the time being until its replacement.”

The character used for the Japanese word for “tenon” has the same meaning as “navel.”

The layers of the Kanrodai are connected by mortise-tenon joints. In this incident, these mortise-tenon joints were damaged, making it impossible to even temporarily put the layers back together.

The navel is a remnant of the umbilical cord through which babies receive nutrients from the mother during pregnancy. Based on this idea, we can reflect critically upon ourselves that we may have lost a sense of receiving warm blessings from the Parent everyday.

Let us reflect on the guidance God the Parent provides for us out of God’s concern for our future. Let us firmly settle the Shinbashira’s parental heart in our minds as we serve our duties this year.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon
February 22, 2018 (Tenrikyo 181)

Let us settle in our minds the truth of a thing borrowed, and repay God the Parent for the blessings we receive as well as make daily donations (nichi nichi no ri)

Rev. Norio Teramoto
Grand Church Board Member

Rev.katayamayoshiharu

(Summary)

The goal in our teachings is the realization of the Joyous Life. That is to say, a world in which human beings help one another, there is no conflict such as wars, everyone believes in God the Parent, and the world is filled with joy. However, when we look at the present world situation, this seems to be very difficult.

In his Spring Grand Service Sermon, the Shinbashira said:

What we are striving to achieve is the salvation of all human beings in the world, thereby realizing the Joyous Life World as intended by God the Parent and Oyasama. Therefore, we must spread the teachings all over the world and through endless generations. We need to nurture more and more Yoboku who will strive to realize that intention of God the Parent, thus increasing the number of active Yoboku.

According to the United Nations world population estimates, it is said the present count is 7.6 billion. If we are to spread the teachings to all the people in the world, simple math tells us that each Yoboku would have to guide tens of thousands of new people. If we think about it in this way, it becomes too overwhelming and one may think, “It’s impossible for me. I must give up.”

However, if we believe that small efforts accumulate to make something big, we can start from those close to us one at a time.

In the very beginning of this year’s Grand Church goals for spiritual maturity, “making repayment to God for the blessings we receive” is mentioned.

Our bodies are borrowed from God. The fact that we can breathe and that our hearts are moving even when we are sleeping and not conscious of it means that God the Parent is working in our bodies and giving us these blessings.

When we calculate the amount of air we breathe, an adult inhales approximately 500 cc of air. And while we are still, we breathe about 14 to 16 times a minute. If we use 14 for calculation purposes, we need 7 liters of air in one minute, 420 liters in one hour, and 10,000 liters in 24 hours. If we calculate using a typical 200-liter barrel, we need a whopping 50 barrels to survive just one day!

This would make traveling very difficult. Each person would have to travel with 50 barrels of air per day. However, we breathe this seemingly unlimited air without any care.

If one were to make a donation equal to what it would cost for a day of air, I think that person would be guided into a splendid world of blessings. What do you think?

This is the concept and practice of “daily donations (nichi nichi no ri).”

Let us establish goals from issues that are close to our hearts as well as our “activities to promote,” study the teachings, return to the spirit of restoration and be stricter with ourselves as we serve our duties.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

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