WORLD MESSIANIC CHURCH OF SOUTH AFRICA
JOHREI CENTER OF PRETORIA
MONTHLY SERVICE GREETINGS, 12/09/2021
Reverend Claudio Cristiano Leal Pinheiro
Good morning everyone!
How are you doing?
Congratulations for our Monthly Service of Gratitude! Thank you very much!
I would like to thank all of you for all the effort you have done to spread Johrei and the Teachings of Meishu-Sama here in South Africa, in Africa, and to everyone watching along with us in the whole World, especially to those who have done their best to achieve this through beauty, through the flower arrangements and through many others forms of art that we know that are essential for the upliftment of our spirit and the construction of a better world. People inside or outside of our religion that are committed to the creation of a better World through the practice of beauty, I would like to thank all of you! For all you have done to expand our activities of cleaning the homes giving this concept to people about how important and how essential it is for the construction of a better World.
I also would like to thank our Brothe and Sister for their wonderful testimonies of faith (A round of applause).
In the teaching we heard today, Meishu-Sama speaks about the whole aspect of beauty surrounding our lives.
But now, I spent a long time far from you right?! It had been almost four months that I spent in Angola. We have been developing well at our Headquarters of Africa. Thank God and Messiah Meishu-Sama, we are constructing a new part of our Headquarters as you can see through the pictures on our website, it will improve much more, making our Headquarters looking more beautiful than it already is. We are also doing our best in the construction of our Sacred Grounds. The fence we are constructing there, is a very big one, and we are putting pillars around the whole grounds to protect it better. Every week we have many people giving service there, keeping the maintenance, taking care of the garden, plating and practicing nature farming. We are also doing this in our farms in Angola, so our brothers in Africa are doing their best for the construction of the paradise on Earth through the practice of Johrei, Beauty and Nature Farming.
It is very important that we get to share the testimonies of faith and we are doing our best to translate them as much as possible for you, in English, in French, and in others languages and it shows us just like we heard today how everything can change when we practice what Meishu-Sama teaches us. The teaching we heard today, where Meishu-Sama says:
“Our members well know that God’s purpose is to create an ideal world where truth, virtue and beauty reign in their perfect forms. Needless to say, the dark forces have a goal that is completely opposite to this, one that fosters falsehood, vice and ugliness. Since falsehood and vice are well-understood terms I don’t think any explanation is necessary, but I would like to write a little on ugliness, for that may need some explanation. There is one mistake which is made by many people in the world; that is, some individuals live in ugliness side by side with truth and virtue, and many others seem to admire them all the more for it. Let me put this more plainly. Since ancient times there have been numerous virtuous individuals who have done good deeds in service to humankind, but who have been content to wear coarse clothing, eat frugal meals and live in hovels, maintaining a minimum standard of living. If forced by circumstances, of course, it cannot be helped that these individuals have experienced and do experience stark privation. But when this is not necessary and such graceless lives are led by choice, it is not good. There have always been quite a number of spiritual leaders who have led ascetic lives as a means of self-discipline…”
From that, we have to understand that when we speak about God we speak about laws of nature, there is the law of identity of spirit and matter. But, what is the law of identity of spirit and matter? For example if I am in a place that is dirty, that is trashed, therefore where there is material dirtiness, there is spiritual dirtiness as well, and all these spiritual dirtiness come in forms of disease, poverty and conflict. That is why we have to speak about beauty as an integral part of our lives, starting from our homes because if our homes are dirty and unorganized, that can be neither a high level of the spiritual atmosphere nor a home. And Meishu-Sama goes on saying:
“The case of individuals, both men and women should take care of their personal appearances so that they give pleasant feelings to others with whom they come in contact. Women especially should try to be as lovely and charming as possible. Perhaps I’m too concerned, but this is the way I feel about it. The same applies to the interior of a home. If each room is kept clean, if no cobwebs are to be seen in any corners or near the ceilings, if the floors and all the furniture are kept free from dust, if anything unnecessary is kept out of sight and all things are arranged in an orderly manner, not only the family members occupying such homes but their guests and visitors too feel uplifted. And, they automatically feel greater respect for their hosts. The exterior of a house, if kept in good repair, clean and beautiful though not necessarily expensive-looking, gives pleasure to passerby. This even contributes to the promotion of Japan’s national policy of attracting more tourists. Switzerland is noted for the pleasures experienced by visitors from other lands because of its lovely, clean cities and well-kept parks. I believe it is one of the big reasons so many tourists are attracted to that country, and that we can learn a lot from this example.”
So it is very important when we speak about the construction of Paradise, to have this consciousness about beauty in our daily life, to keep our homes always clean and well-organized with flowers of light because of the energy emitted by flowers, especially when we vivify a flower, we who are connected with Messiah Meishu-Sama, with the goal of making other people happy, that same flower radiates light, transforms the environment, changes the lives of people who are close to it and see it. If we plant flowers in our garden with the goal of making happy the people who will pass by it, they will feel better! Whenever they pass by them, something will change inside them. That is why in order to change our neighborhood it is essential to explain these concepts about cleaning, about the cultivation of flowers, planting of trees. This is the construction of Paradise in our daily life and it must start inside of us, because when Meishu-Sama speaks about beauty, He puts a lot of emphasis that it starts in our hearts, our feelings of gratitude, our feeling of compassion toward other people in wanting to help and make other people happy. So, it is very important to reflect about our feeling of gratitude towards God and Messiah Meishu-Sama, towards our family, towards society. What we carry in our hearts is the foundation of paradise in our material life, in our home, and we just have to expand it. That is why it is so important this daily contact with giving and receiving Johrei, reading the Teachings, and practicing forms of Beauty, not only with flowers arrangements, but others forms of beauty that each one has affinity with like literature, music, painting, theater, cinema, whatsoever, but it is essential that we start from within our hearts.
The testimony we heard from our brother Henry, he spoke about what his brother was going through in Germany and his brother was also born in our religion just like him. They have been Messianic followers since they were born, so they have received a lot of blessings since their birth. In my case, it was since I was four years old. So, about all the blessings we have received, sometimes when I talk to my mother she reminds me of them, and she makes me aware of things that I did not know at the time because I was too little. We had our lives changed through Johrei, through the practice of the Teachings of Meishu-Sama and still his brother had lost his Ohikari, was not giving service, making donation, he was not expressing gratitude according to all the blessings he had received. When we speak about giving service according to the blessings we have received, it does not mean that all we need to do is come to the church. No, it’s not just this. We need to be guided by the practice of Makoto. Meishu-Sama says that one of the key words of our religion is the word ‘Makoto’. Makoto means “do what you say and say what you do putting the happiness of others and the world in the first place”. And Meishu-Sama here says:
“The key to the solution of all problems, whether they concern an individual, a nation or the world, is makoto.” It is very strong when He says this, and He goes on saying: “ The lack of administrative ability stems from a lack of makoto. The shortage of material blessing is caused by a shortage of makoto. The absence of morality is due to an absence of makoto. The deterioration of social order is the result of the deterioration of makoto. Indeed, the basic cause of all distressing problems is due to an insufficiency of makoto. Religion, education and arts are only skeletal forms without makoto at their core. Ah, makoto, makoto! I say to all humanity that the only key that can solve all problems is makoto and makoto alone.” This is the way Meishu-Sama wrote this teaching.
So, when he brought the problem of his brother two years ago, he was guided to make his donation. He kept doing his tithes, and left all the problems in Meishu-Sama’s hands, and so, he could overcome the problem he was facing. It is very important to know that when we speak about purification, if we are going through a purification we need to reflect and do our best to improve, instead of just think “I will give service while I am going through this problem”. It is better to think ‘‘Meishu-Sama, I will do my best to improve myself! ’’, because when Meishu-Sama speaks about purification He makes it very clear that “Men’s clouds prevent God’s blessings.” A person asked Meishu-Sama: “Please, teach us how God’s laws and blessings are working to remove the cause of misfortunes and disasters after we join the church”. Meishu-Sama said: “ When a full member experiences a misfortune or a disaster it means that even though God wishes to give His blessings to him, due to the many clouds that person has, he is not qualified to receive God’s blessings in full as yet, as the receptacle is not clean enough to hold good things, God is cleaning it, taking the dirty away so it can hold His blessings. This is the meaning of member’s purifications.”.
His brother was facing financial difficulties in Germany, due to spiritual clouds related to money. So, he needed to make that special donation for all the time he was not giving service properly, he had already received a lot of blessings before, but he was not expressing gratitude for them neither was he being useful to the construction of Paradise on Earth. So, his brother spoke to him that it is not about the amount of money you give or the time you missed, it is all about your sincere effort, which is his makoto, and all of us need to reflect about each one’s makoto. When he did that, and he started again making donations, praying, reading the Teachings, doing the best he could as there was no Centers in the city where he lives, his life started to improve again.
When things like this happen, we need to make this reflection like his brother did: “Oh Meishu-Sama, what do I need to improve? What do I need to change inside of me and what can I do better?”. We need to use all the opportunities, difficulties and obstacles for our self-improvement, knowing that we are being guided by God. So, we have always to ask: “Oh Meishu-Sama, what do I still need to learn so that I can qualify better to help other people?”. We learn so many things by listening to people’s testimonies of faith about what they go through life, studying the Teachings, reading other books, or watching movies, but there are some lessons in life that we have to feel ourselves, because if we do not feel it, if we do not go through that same situation we will not learn to wear someone else’s shoes. It is much easier to judge someone when we haven’t gone through some kind of hell in our lives. When you go through some kind of difficulties, you learn to wear other people’s shoes, you learn to put yourself in other people’s place, not judge nor criticize and to have also a strong belief that it is possible to overcome any kind of difficulties through giving service.
And again the second testimony of faith from our sister Lisa, when she said that we are preparing ourselves for our Annual Ancestor Service, right?! Have you heard that or have you forgotten about that? It will be on a friday, on the 24th of September. We will do it here at 11 o’clock, SA Standard Time. We should remember that we cannot talk or worry about our ancestors only when we are close to the annual Ancestors’ Service day. We need to change our paradigm that when the people die they are over, and Meishu-Sama also speaks about it. Her testimony of faith is very useful for all of us to reflect because it also speaks about makoto. She had done her Sorei-Saishi but she stopped there, and thought “ Oh, it is not my problem anymore! ”. She was not worried about requesting prayers every year and this is also a lack of makoto, because when we speak about makoto it is also about respecting our commitment with God and Meishu-Sama and with other people .
Sometimes people are very good, but they are always very late for their appointments. So, Meishu-Sama says that people who do that are not approved in faith, because if I have an appointment with you at 10AM and I arrived at 10:30, maybe because there were an incident and I had the attention to call before you explaining it to you, considering that it just happens once in a while, then it is fine. But, there are people that are always late for their appointments. Does that happen here in South Africa often as well? (‘’yes, a lot!’’ attendees answered). So, a person who does that can be a very good and wonderful person, but this person does not have makoto, because the person does not worry about the ones waiting for them to arrive, and this eliminates all others qualities! All other qualities are erased. And this is Meishu-Sama’s teachings, not my interpretation. Meishu-Sama speaks about it, that is the reason why many people do not prosper, besides of being a lovely person, or even a Minister, the fact that the person is always late means that, they are not approved in faith, and they can even lose their mission sooner or later. There is something wrong deeply inside of them and they must overcome that. That is why when we study the Teaching it is not to judge others, it is for us to reflect about ourselves. When we speak about commitment, for example I always say to people who I work with, if I have to leave at 7AM I need to wake up earlier to prepare myself, because if I wake up half an hour before I will definitely be late, because I have this commitment with the ones that will be waiting for me. When we think this way, we are thinking about other people. Once again, this is makoto, and makoto is one of the most powerful Teachings that we have, if not the best, and we need to reflect a lot about it and use it as our guidance.
So, through our sister’s testimony of faith we could see that she made something very simple, and it reminded her that it was not about the amount of money. It’s amazing that after 13 years, the institution called her telling that the money that belongs to her family was there waiting for them. So, it was something very small that she needed to change. Sometimes when we have a huge problem, we think that it is also a huge thing that we have to change, but, quite often, it is just a small thing that we have to change inside of us, like my way of thinking, my way of speaking, my way of acting towards others. We need to search for these small details. There is a proverb that says: “Devil lies in the details”, but we have to remember that “ God lies in the details ” as well. We need to pay attention to small things. Because when she asked for a Service for her brother-in-law, she recognized his existence. Don’t you feel happy when someone you love calls you on your birthday? Then, it is the same thing. That is the meaning of requesting the Service for our ancestors. When it’s my father’s anniversary of death my feeling is: “Oh Father, I have been thinking about you, I am worried about you and I am glad that you existed in my life! ”. This not to be made with a sense of guiltiness because this is not the way of thinking of our Messianic faith, it is to be done with joy, with gratitude, with lightness because the person is still alive, and this is what changes everything.The purifications we go through, we also have to use it for our own improvement, to become closer to God and Messiah Meishu-Sama, to renew our commitment in the construction of Paradise on Earth.
Today, at our Headquarters of Africa there was a testimony of faith of a young woman, she is 25 years old, and she was guided to the church when she was only 10 years old, 15 years ago. At that time she had a lot of family problems with the relatives fighting constantly, financial difficulties and she had been suffering with malaria for many years. When we speak about malaria, for those who are not familiar with it, some people can have it continuously and they never get truly healed from it. And she had been going through that cycle of suffering for many years even though they spent a lot of money with either medical or traditional treatments. But she finally overcame all that sufferings by receiving Johrei, giving service, practicing the Teachings and after that they became full members and started giving service . Some years after she got married and started her own family, she stopped going to the church and giving service. She abandoned the church forgetting the feeling of gratitude. After sometime, she had an argument with her husband and he left her with the two kids and many financial difficulties, alleging that one of the kids was not his. Then, he found another woman and she was in a lot of suffering again even attending another church. So, she remembered how Meishu-Sama saved her life before and she started attending our church again, renewed her commitment and started guiding many people to the church. And it is very interesting that the people who came in contact with her, had similar problems like hers, and through the basics practices of our faith their lives started changing to the better as well. After that, she could restart her life, her husband came to her after many years of dedications, apologized for what he had done to her, and acknowledged that the son was his. He expressed his apologies and asked her to come back together. So, they came back and now they have their own house. They used to rent houses but, now they live as a happy family again. She needed to reflect: “ Oh my God, I forgot Meishu-Sama and I am not using my life to change the life of others”. She had spiritual clouds to be cleansed by going through all of that. I believe that if she had not quit giving service, maybe that could not have happened to her. However, as she acknowledged her mistake and came back giving service and guiding people, she was able to recover her marriage and restart her life in a much better situation than it was before and now she is committed with the mission of guiding as many people as possible.
All of us can be useful for helping other people, and participate in the construction of Paradise on Earth.
Just to finish, I would like to share a story I heard. It is a tale about King Solomon. Once he was in his chamber and a bee got in through the window and his assistances tried to kill the bee so that it could not sting the king. And while they were trying to kill it, the bee reached the King and whispered to the him “Please, honorable King Solomon, do not kill me! Maybe, someday I will be useful to you! ”. The King replied, laughing: “ Oh, I am the most powerful man on Earth, how could you be useful to me? But , do not kill the bee, let it live! ”. After some days, the queen of Sheba came to visit the king Solomon. She wanted to test the king, to see if he was as wise as people used to say and then she made a lot of questions making a lot of traps in between but he could see how clever the queen was and he answered to all of them properly. So, the queen of Sheba went to the palace garden and picked a flower. She called her artisans and asked them to make ninety-nine copies of that flower, and they made perfect copies that it was not possible to see any difference between the true one and the copies. Then, she picked fifty girls and fifty boys, and gave each one of them a flower and asked them to go in front of the palace where the king was. So, she asked to the king: “King Solomon, I want you to tell me which one of these flowers is the true one! There is only one! ”. The king thought :“Oh my God, now she got me! How can I know which one is the true one? “. Then, he felt something touching his arms and it was the bee. The bee flew all over the flowers and buzzed over the true one and showed it to the king! Therefore, nobody is so big that does not need the help of the others and nobody is so small that cannot help someone! Let’s do our best to construct Paradise on Earth along with the Supreme God and Messiah Meishu-Sama!
Thank you very much, have a very good day and see you on our annual Ancestors Service on 24th of September!
Thank you very much!