Hall of Worship, Atami Sacred Grounds
October 1-2, 2015
In deep awe and fear of God, I would like to say that before we were born on earth, in the World of Beginning – in heaven, God gave birth to us, endowed us with His very own spirit and created us as His divine particles or as His divine spirits, as I would like to call them. That is why we can call the Creator of all things and the one and only God as “our Father.”
God, the Father, is the One who bore us. If not, why would He allow us to call Him “our Father”? Through Meishu-Sama, we have been led to the path of faith. And the purpose of faith is to know and realize that God is the parent of our souls and that He exists within us.
In 1930, at the age of 47, before he founded his religion, Meishu-Sama wrote a memoir entitled, “The Path of Faith I Have Walked,” and reflected on his life until then. I read this memoir the other day and it moved my heart deeply.
According to the memoir, Meishu-Sama, as you all know, grew up in a very poor family, was weak and prone to sickness from a very early age. His dream was to become a painter and he entered art school at the age of 14. But as his eye disease worsened, he had to give up on his dream and withdrew from school. Many illnesses continued to befall Meishu-Sama throughout his early life. Looking back at this stage of his life, Meishu-Sama, in the memoir, wrote, “I completely lost all hope in life. I did not want to go on living.”
Sometime later, Meishu-Sama started a business, selling women’s accessories. Despite enjoying momentary success, he soon found himself in enormous debt and struggled with the business. Worse still, he lost his first wife around this time.¹
It was at this moment of his life when something began to change for Meishu-Sama. Something happened within him. Let me now quote from the memoir how Meishu-sama himself described this moment of great change.
Suddenly, my soul longed for a faith. Faith! Faith! I felt that finding faith was the only way to be saved from the sufferings of my heart, body and life. Deeply, so deeply had the harsh reality of life surrounded me and my heart like a thick ice wall. At the very least, I wanted to look up at the warm light of faith somewhere in the sky above me. This act in itself brought salvation to my soul that cried with grief and pain over my life.
Meishu-Sama wrote that he, at the very least, wanted to look up at the warm light of faith and that this in itself brought salvation to his soul. This part, as I read it, struck my heart so greatly. I believe it was at this desperate moment of his life when Meishu-Sama found, with overwhelming joy and with an absolute certainty, that God and God’s salvation existed within him.
“Faith” is not an easy word to grasp, though it might appear to be so. We, ourselves, should never assume to know what “faith” exactly means. Meishu-Sama must have taught us, and must still be teaching us, the essence of what the word “faith” means. We should always be asking ourselves what this essence may be so that we can continue to deepen and broaden our faith toward God and Meishu-Sama.
Even though the hardships of his life continued, Meishu-Sama’s conviction never wavered once he had found God. In the memoir, he wrote, “in the deepest part of my heart, I had an unwavering conviction of faith that burst out like a flaming fire… and nothing was able to affect my strong conviction that God protects me always.”
In 1935, five years after he wrote this memoir, he founded a religion, which we now call World Church of Messiah. I am convinced that Meishu-Sama founded a religion to share, with as many people as possible, his great joy of encountering God and his burning passion for faith.
After founding the religion, countless trials and tribulations fell upon Meishu-sama. He had to endure numerous police controls and crackdowns on his religion. At one point, he was wrongly imprisoned. But Meishu-Sama never lost his positive spirit as his strong conviction and passion were so firmly established within him.
We, as the followers of Meishu-Sama, now read his teachings, practice them in various ways and gather at his Sacred Grounds around the world. Yet we should never forget that within everything Meishu-Sama has left with us, his great joy of encountering God, his unwavering conviction of faith and his strong passion penetrate and permeate.
Even when he collapsed from a brain hemorrhage in 1954, a year before he passed away, his firmly established conviction of faith and passion did not weaken at all. Rather, while suffering from enormous pain of the stroke, Meishu-Sama announced with great joy, “On my part, I am getting a lot younger…A Messiah was born.”
As Meishu-Sama teaches us, God gave birth to us as God’s divine spirits. God regarded these divine spirits as His children. He then named all of His children under one name – Messiah. Each one of us is entrusted with the holy name of Messiah.
Meishu-Sama, in his younger years, found God amidst complete despair. A year before he passed away, he came to a realization that the God he encountered was the parent of his soul, that God was his Father. Having complete trust in God the Father, Meishu-Sama, I believe, bravely and courageously jumped into his true home, that is, the heaven existing within him. God, being the Father of Meishu-Sama and of all humanity, must have welcomed one of His beloved sons, that is, Meishu-Sama, into His heaven with great joy.
God the Father then decided to endow Meishu-Sama anew, with a divine spirit that bears the name of Messiah. God granted eternal life to Meishu-Sama. Meishu-Sama, in both fear and joy, received this divine spirit anew and its holy name. That is why he declared in 1954 that he was newly born and that a Messiah was born.
I am lost for words whenever I try to imagine the joy Meishu-Sama must have felt on this occasion. Meishu-sama felt great joy when he first encountered God in his younger years. In 1954, he was filled with joy again as God gave him a new divine spirit named Messiah. I believe that these two joys of Meishu-Sama are in fact one joy. They are connected.
We, too, must have felt a joy when we first encountered Meishu-Sama and were guided into the life of faith. This joy of ours is one with the joy of Meishu-Sama. Meishu-Sama’s joy is within us. I would like to believe in this. I would like to believe that everything Meishu-Sama felt is within me and within all of us.
No matter how hard and difficult our life may be, let us believe that the overflowing joy of Meishu-Sama exists within each one of us. Let us believe that, just like Meishu-Sama, we have a mission to receive a new divine spirit named Messiah that leads to eternal life and let us serve our Father with great joy and hope, returning all things to God as His glory.
1 Meishu-Sama later remarried Yoshi Ōta, who was to become Nidai-sama, our second spiritual leader after Meishu-Sama.