【February 2019 No.401】PCT-Kyodan Consultation Convened in Japan

The 16th Joint Church Consultation between the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) and the Kyodan was held Nov. 13-15 at Howa Seminar Plaza and Minamiyama Church in Aichi Prefecture, with 13 participants from the PCT and 30 from the Kyodan. The theme of the gathering was “Suffer Together, Rejoice Together” (1 Cor. 12:26). In a workshop prior to the consultation, the Kyodan participants learned about the 1930 Wushe Incident, the Feb. 28, 1947 Massacre, the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident, and the current relations between Taiwan and China. Kyodan Moderator  Ishibashi Hideo preached the sermon at the opening worship service, and Vice-moderator  Kuze Sorachi hosted the evening reception and dinner where participants were able to get acquainted.

 

On the second day, PCT General Secretary Lyim Hong-Tiong explained the political situation in Taiwan and spoke about the church’s mission and challenge to walk hand-in-hand with the people to seek “justice and peace.”  In addition, there were reports on the work of missionaries Divan Suqluman in Hokkai District and Yuki Takai-Heller at Tainan Theological College and Seminary, and PCT Secretary  Lin Wei-Lien reported on volunteer activities in Okayama following the torrential rains and flooding in western Japan in June and July 2018. Osaka District Moderator  Ogasawara Jun also expressed his gratitude to the PCT for its aid after the earthquake that hit northern Osaka on June 18, 2018. In the afternoon, the assembly moved to Minamiyama Church and separated into groups that toured Silver Home Makiba (a Kyodan-run home for the elderly), the Aichi Farm facility, the Asian Health Institute Hospital, the Asian Health Institute (AHI), and a special nursing-care facility for elderly persons called “Nozomi” (Hope). In the evening, members of Minamiyama Church prepared a delicious meal of nabe stew and sukiyaki, and everyone enjoyed meaningful fellowship.

 

On the third day, the participants heard a report by young people on the Taiwan Youth Mission, as well as reports on the mission agreements between Hyogo District and Takao Presbytery and between Tohoku District and Kagi Presbytery, all of which affirmed the deepening cooperation of both denominations in a variety of settings.  In addition, participants conferred on the writing of a joint declaration. At the closing worship service, PCT Moderator  Hsieh Pao-Tsan delivered the sermon, and the consultation ended with all the participants joining hands and singing “Malji malji ti Yisusama” (Thank and praise the Lord) in the Paiwan language (an indigenous language of Taiwan and one of its national languages). (Tr. DB)

—Sato Takafumi, secretary Commission on Taiwan Church Relations

 

第16回台湾基督長老教会Presbyterian Church in Taiwan(PCT)と日本基督教団との教会協議会

 第16回台湾基督長老教会Presbyterian Church in Taiwan(PCT)と日本基督教団との教会協議会が、11月13日から15日まで、愛知県の邦和セミナープラザと南山教会を会場にして開催された。主題は「共に悩み、共に喜ぶ」(第一コリント12:26)、参加者はPCTから13名、教団からは30名であった。教団参加者は協議会前に事前研修をおこない、1930 年の霧社事件や1947年の2.28事件、1979年の高雄事件)や中台関係などついて学んだ。開会礼拝では石橋秀雄総会議長が説教を担当し、久世そらち(Kuze Sorachi)総会副議長の司会で歓迎夕食会が開かれ、懇談の時を持った。

 2日目の協議では、PCTの林芳仲総幹事より、台湾が置かれている政治的状況についての解説があり、民衆と共に歩む「正義と平和」を求める教会の使命と挑戦についての発題があった。さらにディバン・スクルマン宣教師の北海教区での働きと、高井ヘラー由紀宣教師の台南神学院 での働きが報告され、PCTの林偉聯幹事が西日本豪雨災害における岡山でのボランティア活動報告をした。小笠原純大阪教区議長からは大阪北部地震の際のPCTからの支援に対する謝辞が述べられた。午後は南山教会へ移動し、グループにわかれてシルバーホームまきばと愛知牧場、愛知国際病院、AHI(アジア保健研修所)、特別養護老人ホームのぞみを見学した。夕食は南山教会の方々が準備して下さった鍋料理とすき焼きを堪能し、交流を深めた。3日目は青年たちによる台湾ユースミッション報告と、兵庫教区と高雄中会との宣教協約報告、東北教区と嘉義中会との宣教協約報告を聞き、両教団が様々な場で協力を深めていることを確認した。さらに共同声明文作成のための協議をおこなった。閉会礼拝ではPCTの薛伯讚(Hsieh, Pao-Tsan)議長が説教を担当し、最後は参加者全員で手をつないで「マリ・マリ・ティ・イエスさま」をパイワン語で賛美して協議会を終えた。佐藤飛文(台湾協約委員会書記)

【February 2019 No.401】Statement on Ceremonies related to Imperial Abdication and Enthronement

by Ishibashi Hideo, Kyodan Moderator

 

During the period of April 30 and May 1, 2019, the present emperor is scheduled to abdicate his throne and the new emperor is to be enthroned. We wish to express our opposition to the various ceremonies related to these events, particularly the daijosai ceremony [in which the new emperor makes an offering of rice to the Shinto gods]. Following are the reasons for our position.

 

1. As the various religious ceremonies surrounding the abdication and ascension to the throne are supposed to be religious ceremonies of a private nature conducted by the Imperial Household, having the national government hold the daijosai as a public event gives the impression that the emperor has a separate existence from that of ordinary citizens so leads back to the former deification of the emperor.

 

2. Having the national government participate in the religious ceremony called the daijosai is in clear violation of Japan’s Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom and the separation of religion from government.

 

3. No matter how public funds used for the daijosai are labeled, such expenditures of government funding are a violation of the separation of religion from government, as expressly stated in the Constitution.

 

As followers of Christ who live according to the teaching of Scripture that no being is to be made into a god other than the true God, we express our unyielding opposition to the participation of the government in all religious ceremonies, and particularly the daijosai.(Tr. TB)

 

July 9, 2018

 

天皇の退位および即位の諸行事に関する声明

日本基督教団総会議長  石 橋  秀 雄

 2019年4月30日と5月1日に、現天皇の退位および新天皇の即位が予定されています。私たちは、これに関する諸行事、とりわけ大嘗祭に国が関わることに、以下の理由により反対の意思を表明します。

1.天皇の退位および即位に際して行われる諸行事において、本来は皇室の私的宗教行事である大嘗祭まで国の公的な行事として行うことは、国民に対して天皇が特別な存在であるとのイメージを植え付け、天皇の神格化を推し進めるものとなります。

2.宗教行事である大嘗祭に国が関与することは、日本国憲法が保障する信教の自由および政教分離の原則に反するものです。

3.どのような名目であれ大嘗祭に関わる経費に国費を支出することは、日本国憲法の政教分離の原則に反しています。

 私たちは、神以外の何ものをも神としてはならないとの聖書の教えに生きるキリスト者として、天皇の代替わりに関する宗教的諸行事、とりわけ大嘗祭に国が関わることに強く抗議し、反対いたします。

2018年7月9日

【February 2019 No.401】60th Ou District Retreat Highlights History and Hope

by Hirasawa Noboru, pastor Morioka Matsuzono Church

It is with a grateful heart that I make this report on our annual Ou District Retreat from July 30 to Aug. 1. It was held at the Yumori Hotel Kaikan in Tsunagi hot spa area. The main speaker was Fujimoto Mitsuru, pastor of Immanuel General Mission Takatsu Church. The theme of the retreat was “A Church Living In Hope; Learning From History.” The lecture titles were “The Gospel Shared in the Course of Our Calling” and “Hope in God, Hope in Us.” The retreat began with a message by Muraoka Hiroshi, pastor of Hirosaki Church and chair of the Commission on Ou District’s Commission on Mission.

 

While introducing himself and sharing with us his relationship with the Kyodan, in his first lecture Fujimoto spoke about missionaries who were called to evangelism in Japan. He pointed out that our journey in mission begins when we encounter Jesus Christ and that mission itself is the work of Jesus Christ. Then he spoke about Paul: how he was chosen and how, in the midst of hardships, he continued in hope to follow Jesus and pass on the baton of mission and evangelism.

 

In his second lecture, Fujimoto challenged us by asking if we were not much like the early disciples who, when told to go to the other side of the lake, lost sight of Jesus while looking at the stormy sea. The church in Japan, which seems to be struggling in its evangelistic mission, is faced with what is called the “2030 Dilemma”: decreasing number of pastors, aging congregations, and fewer children. However, our mission is Christ’s mission, and he walks with us and shares in the hardships we face. Fujimoto continually stressed to us that our hope is in Christ, and his impassioned words energized and encouraged all of us.

 

For our optional tour, we visited four churches in Morioka, using a microbus and a minivan. Over 40 participants joined us, and we visited Yotsuya Church (Roman Catholic), Uchimaru Church (Kyodan), Morioka Anglican Church, and Morioka Orthodox Church in Japan. During our visits, we were able to hear about the traditions of each church and the challenges they are facing. The decline in membership and pastors was mentioned. We felt the seriousness of the problems, but we were grateful for the warm welcome we received at each church. The participants said that the tour was a good experience.

 

There were also three workshops. One dealt with cults and possible countermeasures; another dealt with the problems connected to the nuclear fuel cycle; and the third workshop dealt with sexual discrimination. These workshops were followed by a full group discussion and closing worship. I give thanks for God’s guidance and blessings throughout the retreat.

*            *            *

 

Ou District Children’s Retreat, A Welcoming Event

                                                  by Kato Naoki, pastor Kitakami Church

As children gathered in the tatami (rice-mat) room on the first day of the Ou District Retreat, you could see the mixture of expectation and tension in their facial expressions. Among the three staff members, the feeling was the same. The “Retreat for Children” began with three youngsters, varying in age from the last year of kindergarten to junior high school, who sat awkwardly at a table. However, after listening to Pastor Matsuura Yusuke of Shimonohashi Church speak about “Shalom” (peace), then working together to make attractive door plates, there were comfortable smiles on the faces of everyone.

 

On the second day we went outside, in spite of some concern about the heat. In front of us was a public square with a water fountain. It wasn’t long before the children were playing together in the water—at first up to their ankles, then up to their knees, and finally, getting their clothes wet. One of our staff, Sato Midori, member of Kitakami Church got into the water with the children. During the break afterward, everyone tried different challenges on the adventure playground next to the square.

 

On the third day, the children and staff used a variety of rubber stamps in various sizes and shapes to make colorful images on a large piece of paper as we recalled our experiences during the retreat. In between the stamps we attached origami and pictures that reminded us of what we had seen and shared during our three days together. We were able to create a work that brought smiles and reflected the joys we had experienced. The junior high student who had gotten sick was able to rejoin us, bringing our three days together to a very happy conclusion. I should add that some of the children younger than five, were in the nursery that shared the same room with us.

 

I give thanks to Jesus, to the churches, and to the families for sending their children to participate in our retreat. (Tr. JS)

From Ou Kyoku Tsushin (Ou District News) , No. 325 Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko

 

奥羽教区全体修養会報告

   盛岡松園教会 平澤 昇牧師

 今年も奥羽教区全体修養会を、7月30~8月1日に開催することが出来ました。心から感謝いたします。会場はつなぎ温泉、「湯守ホテル大観」、講師は藤本満先生(インマヌエル総合伝道団高津教会牧師)、主題は「希望に生きる教会~歴史に学ぶ」でした。講演は「使命のうちに伝えられた福音」と「希望は神に、希望は私たちに」です。

 宣教部長の村岡博史牧師(弘前教会)のメッセージで始まり、講演一では、藤本先生が自己紹介や日本基督教団との関係などにも触れ れ、日本伝道へと選ばれた宣教師について語られました。また、主イエスとの出会いからすべての歩みが始まることを通して、宣教は主イエスの働きであること。そして、パウロが選ばれ、パウロは試練の中にあっても希望をもって主イエスを見上げ、宣教に励み、宣教のバトンを繋いだことが語られました。

 講演二では、「向こう岸に渡ろう」と語る主イエスに対して、同船している私たちは嵐に目を奪われて、共にいる主イエスを見失っていないか問われました。

 伝道不振の日本の教会は、2030年問題「牧師の減少、高齢化、少子化」と暗くなることばかりですが、宣教命令をする主イエスが共にいて、苦しみを共有されています。教会の希望は主イエスにあると力強く語られました。講師の熱い語りは、聴衆の力となり希望となりました。

 「オプションツアー」では、マイクロバスとミニバン二台で盛岡の街の教会めぐりをしました。参加人数40名を超え、カトリック四ツ家教会、日本基督教団内丸教会、日本聖公会盛岡聖公会、盛岡ハリストス正教会の四つの教会を巡りました。それぞれの伝統や、現在の課題などを聞くことが出来ました。信徒の減少、教職の減少を挙げていて、問題の深さを感じましたが、いずれの教会も快く見学させて頂き、本当に感謝でした。参加者からも「良い経験でした。」と喜びの声が聞かれました。

 「ワークショップ」では「カルト問題対策」「核燃料サイクル問題」「性差別問題」と大きな大切なテーマを行いました。全体協議、最後の閉会礼拝の時まで守られましたことを心から感謝します。

 

「大歓迎、こども修養会」

 北上教会 加藤直樹

 修養会の一日目、講演会場に近い和室に集まった子どもたちは、期待と緊張の表情でした。迎えるスタッフ三名も、歓迎と緊張の気持ちでいっぱいでした。「こども修養会」は、年長から中学生までの幅広い年代の子どもたち三名とテーブルを囲んで、まだぎこちない雰囲気の中、スタートしました。けれども、松浦牧師から“シャローム(平和)”のお話しを聞き、かわいくてかっこいいドアプレートの工作をする時には、柔らかい笑顔になっていました。

 二日目は、少し暑いかなと心配しながらも外に出ました。目の前に広がる噴水広場で、くるぶし、ひざ、そしてついに洋服もびしょぬれにして遊びました。スタッフの、みどりさんも子どもたちと一緒に水の中へ。休憩と水分補給時間をはさみ、噴水横のアスレチックにも挑戦しました。いかだでは、子どもたち三人が力を合わせて、何度も回して遊びました。

 三日目は、一緒に過ごした三日間を思い出しながら、全員で一つのものを作りました。 子どもたちやスタッフが、大きさや形も様々な、色とりどりの手のスタンプを(大きな紙に)押しました。スタンプの間には、この三日間で一緒に見たものの絵や折り紙がいっぱいに貼られ、笑顔になれる思い出が、ぎゅっとつまった作品を一緒に作ることができました。体調不良でダウンしていた中学生も合流でき、本当に嬉しい三日目となりました。

 同室では五歳以下の数名の託児が行われました。子どもを送り出してくださったイエス様に、教会に、家族に感謝です。
(奥羽教区報No.325より)

【February 2019 No.401】Living with Illness II

My Disease Makes Life Seem More Precious

                                                                                                                         by Hoshino Takuya, member  Sugamo Tokiwa Church, Tokyo District

 

I am a 47-year-old man, and since May 2014, I have been commuting to a hospital three times a week for dialysis treatment due to chronic renal failure caused by an, as yet, undetermined condition. I realized that up to now, I have never really prayed to God to cure me, to heal my disease.

 

In dialysis treatment, blood is filtrated by machine through two tubes inserted into blood vessels in the arm, and each session takes about four hours. During that time, I lie down in bed and watch movies on DVDs, or I sleep. In four years, the number of movies I have watched has grown to be at least 800. There are even times when I am scolded by medical personnel for snoring loudly! I commute to a hospital that is a five-minute walk from my home, so in my everyday life, I haven’t been particularly inconvenienced by having to undergo dialysis. Dialysis treatment involves withdrawing and reinserting blood. Before beginning dialysis I thought it would be scary and painful, but actually, it is relaxing.

 

Perhaps the reason I haven’t been praying for healing is that in my case, the disease and dialysis treatment itself is not so difficult physically. But I was afraid of living as a dialysis patient and as a person with a handicap in a society of healthy people. I thought, “I do not want to live for so long, just for the purpose of having a long life, if I have to live connected to a bunch of tubes.” I cannot deny that this thought was a reflection of the way I looked at the existence of sick people and people with handicaps who are living now. In order to avoid being seen that way myself, I denied the fact that I was a patient with an incurable disease. I pretended to be a healthy person even though I was a person with a handicap. As much as my physical strength allowed, I began going to a gym, swimming in the pool, and running at night. With a saxophone in hand, I also began going to a bar to participate in jazz sessions. Basically, I wanted to be considered a member of the society of healthy people and thought I could achieve that by distancing myself from the typical lifestyle of a sick person.

 

I thought, “I do not want to live, if I have to live connected to a bunch of tubes.” And I did not even doubt my assumption that such thinking protects my own dignity. At present there are still just two tubes, but it seems that “life connected to a bunch of tubes” is becoming more of a reality than before. However, I certainly do not think that I want to quit living. Rather, I think that I want to live even more. It is ironic, because I thought that getting close to death meant that as the possibilities in one’s life decrease, one’s obsession with living would also decrease.

 

Even though I cannot even see what kind of work I should do, and though the reality is that I have this disease, I still think that I want to live. I think the reason I want to live is just because I do not understand well the task of a living person. Perhaps I want to live because the kind of work I thought I should do and the kind of work God is entrusting to me are different. I have discovered that though we only see reality as being “closed,” God announces that it is “open.” Let’s just say the reason is that God uses us as the world’s debris in a way that we cannot even imagine.

 

Though we know that life and death belong to God, we human beings have a dark desire to control one’s life and death, and other people, and to behave as the ruler of life and death. I think that is the reason for the following phenomenon: when our health is in a serious condition, we request to be notified of the fact, yet it is common for us to hesitate to inform our own close relatives when they are in such a situation.

 

Living is a process of discarding and giving up on various things but, of course, for a person with a disease, the rate of that process will be faster than that of other people. The number of tubes connected to me will not become fewer than at present; rather the number will increase more and more. Just as I thought four years ago when two tubes were connected to me, the more tubes there are, the more life becomes a precious thing to me. In spite of the way reality appears, we have the strength, the ability, and the will to go on living. I think this understanding itself is from the “Word which was in the beginning,” and it is this that supports me even when I have a twisted view of myself. (Tr. KT)

 

—From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend), September 2018 issue

 

病と生きる(2)

星野拓也/東京・巣鴨ときわ教会員

 私は、47歳の男性で、原疾患を不明とされる慢性腎不全(chronic renal failure)により2014年5月より透析dialysis治療のため、週に3度通院をしていますが、今日まで「病気を治してください、癒やしてください」と祈ったことがなかったことに気付きました。

腕の血管に刺された2本の管を通じ機械で血液を濾過ろかする透析治療は、1回4時間ほどかかります。その間私はベッドに寝転がってDVDで映画を観るか、眠っています。4年間で観た映画は800本以上になり、いびきが大きいと医療者からお小言を頂戴することすらあります。通院先は自宅から徒歩5分の所で、透析による日常生活の不自由はほぼありません。透析を始める前は、血を入れ替えるという治療がいかにも恐ろしく、苦しいものと思っていたのですが、現実はのんびりしたものです。今に至っても病の治癒を祈らないのは私の場合、病や透析治療自体が肉体的に、それほどきつくないということかもしれません。

むしろ治療以上に私が恐れていたのは、透析患者という難病患者、かつ障害者であることによって、人生においてさまざまな選択肢が少なくなり、社会の周縁に追いやられてしまうことです。言い換えれば、健常者社会の中で患者なり障害者として生きていくことへの恐れです。「延命などのため、管だらけになってまでいつまでも生きていたくない」と思っていました。その思いは、今生きている病人、または障害者といった存在に対する私自身のまなざしそのものの反映であることを否定できません。(自分の)そのまなざしに復讐ふくしゅうされないように、難病患者でありながらそれを打ち消し、障害者でありながら健常者のように振る舞うのです。私は体力の許す限りジムに通い、プールで泳ぎ、夜に走るようになりました。サックスを片手にバーに赴き、ジャズのセッションに参加します。つまり自分自身が病人らしいライフスタイルから遠ざかることで、健常者社会の一員とされたいと思っているのです。そこに在るのは健常者社会に対する肯定に、他なりません。

「管だらけになってまで生きていたくない」それが自らの尊厳を守ることだと疑いもしませんでした。しかし、現在2本とはいえ以前よりも管だらけに近くなったのですが、決して生きるのをやめたいなどとは思わず、むしろより生きていたいと思う。私の考えでは死の側に近づくことは、人生における可能性が狭まる分、生への執着も薄れてくるはずでしたのに、おかしな話です。

なすべき働きも見えない、病という現実の中にある、にもかかわらず生きていたいと思うのは、結局私は生きている者の仕事ということについて、よくわかっていないからだと思うのです。私がなすべき仕事だと思っていたものと、神に委ねられた仕事とが異なっているからこそ、生きていたいと思うのかもしれません。神は私たちが「閉ざされた」と見るしかない現実に、「開かれた」と告知されることを知りました。私たちが思いもよらない仕方で神が私たち自身を世界の破片として用いてくださるが故だと言えましょう。

生死が神に属するものであると知っていながら、人間にはどこかで自分や他者の命に対して操作を働きたい、命の主として振る舞いたい暗い欲望があるのでしょう。自らが重篤な状態にある場合は告知してもらいたいと願いながら、自分の身内には、告知をためらうことが多いのもそのためだと思います。

生きていくことはいろいろなものを捨て、諦めていく過程ではありますが、病にある人はそのスピードが周りの人よりも速いはずです。私につながれた管は今より減ることはなく、どんどん増えていくでしょう。4年前、2本の管につながれて思い至ったように、管が増えれば増えるほど、いのちが一層愛いとおしいものになっていくのでしょう。私たちには、(現実の姿)にもかかわらず生きていくことのできる力、働きがある。思いがある。これこそが私自身の澱よどんだまなざしに、どこまでも抗っていくことのできる「はじめにあったことば」なのではないかと思うのです。(信徒の友9月号より)

【February 2019 No.401】Retired Kyodan Pastors Reflect on their Calling & Experience

The following reflections are excerpted from the newsletter Yorokobi (Joy), Sept. 20, 2018 issue, which was published by the Kyodan Board of Pensions’ Program to Support Retired Ministers.

 

In God’s Grace

                                 by Kato Hisao

                                      (On his service in Aichi Prefecture)

 On Aug. 15, 1945, I experienced defeat in war at the Kakogawa Air Station in Hyogo Prefecture. At that time, at the age of 20, I was training on a single-seater fighter plane. Upon returning to Nagoya, I found that my hometown had become a scorched battlefield. People were focused on little more than simply trying to get food. I sensed an emptiness in the city; people were losing their incentive to live. In a letter I received from a friend one day in the midst of all this, I read the following words: “These three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.” (I Cor. 13:13). Previously, any “faith” I possessed had been associated with my country and had disappeared when the war was lost. I thought of love as little more than self-love. As for hope—quite simply, I had none. As I read this Bible verse, it resonated in me as a sound from a world about which I knew nothing. Following this experience, I was led to Atsuta Church and was baptized on Easter Sunday, 1947.

 

Two friends from my church who were about my own age, Yamada Tadashi and Shinoda Kiyoshi, dedicated themselves to God and went to seminary. After looking into my own heart, I also experienced a reconfirmation of my decision to follow the Lord and went on to seminary. I am truly thankful to Pastor Takahashi Shuzo at Atsuta Church, who led me to meet and fellowship with Yamada and Shinoda.

 

After graduating from seminary in 1956, I was invited to serve at Atsuta Church, my home church, where I worked for 35 years. During this time, I served as the principal of Kakiwashinsei Kindergarten and as a teacher in the Bible department of Kinjo Gakuin. I truly enjoyed the time I was able to share with the kindergarten children and the students.

 

At the age of 65, I was invited to Tahara Yoshigo Church on Atsumi Peninsula, where I served for 19 years and retired.  After becoming a Christian, I spent my time at Kyodan churches in Chubu District, pastoring churches in Aichi Prefecture. I was assigned to Chubu District during a difficult time for the Kyodan, but I was able to carry out my work, thanks to the many skilled colleagues and wonderful friends by whose lives and fellowship I was deeply blessed.

 

I am now 93 years old. My wife and I have been blessed with good health and are enjoying a very happy time in this latter stage of our life together. We continue to enjoy the warm fellowship and opportunities for worship provided by our home church.

 

I was born during a turbulent time. Through my faith, however, I was given hope. God called me to serve as an evangelist, and for 54 years God has used me, a broken instrument, to perform his work. I have experienced the joy of many valuable encounters and the wonderful fellowship of God’s people. Life is “wondrous,” and by this I mean that life is both mysterious and beautiful. I am deeply grateful for the blessed time I have been given, by God’s grace.

 

     *    *     *

 

The Rock from which I Came

 

                                   by Nishi Tomisaburo

                                        (On his service in Oita Prefecture)

 I will be 94 years old in October 2018. Though I have undergone several surgeries and hospitalizations, God has protected me; I now live in Okinawa Prefecture.

 

On March 10, 1945, the day following the massive air raids in Tokyo, I went to Fukagawa in Koto district, to look for my colleague who had not shown up at work that day. Subsequently, as I witnessed the disastrous situation, I became overwhelmed by the deeply serious human problems with which I had come face-to-face.

 

After a great deal of consideration, on the night of May 24, I accompanied the head nurse from the hospital to the church, where I met a pastor who had just been released from the police detention center [following his imprisonment during the wartime suppression of Christianity].  He was gaunt and thin. In a room darkened due to the blackout, the pastor read to me from the Gospel of John: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish but have everlasting life” (3:16). The pastor then prayed for me and taught me that regardless of any situation in which we may find ourselves, “God is love.”

 

After Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, however, I severed my ties with the church and dropped out of church life completely. But the Lord prepared a way for me in fulfillment of the following promise: “I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it happen to me as you have said. And the angel left her.” (Luke 1:38) I entered a seminary of a different denomination, though I later transferred to the Kyodan. My first assignment was to Higashi-iida Church (now Kusu Church) in Oita Prefecture, then to Mie Church, and next to Amakusa Heian Church. I worked in these churches for a total of 40 years.

 

In recent years, I have seen various acquaintances, friends, and colleagues transported to heaven, just as expressed in the poem, “One more in Heaven,” [by Sarah Geraldina Stock]. In October 2017, with the help of two canes and my wife, I visited the churches where I had worked in Oita and Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu. I was delighted and grateful to see so much good work being done at these churches. I will continue to live as God’s witness for the remaining days of my life.

 

I would like to close this message with a Bible passage that has penetrated my heart throughout my entire life. The Lord says, “ Think of the rock from which you came, the quarry from which you were cut.” (Isaiah 51:1) (Tr. DM)

 

隠退教師の、共に93歳のお二人の証しです。 「よろこび」2018.9.20年金局・「隠退教師を支える運動」通信より

 恵みの中で

加藤 久雄

 1945年8月15日、私は兵庫県の加古川飛行場で敗戦を迎えました。当時20歳、単坐戦闘機の訓練中でした。郷里の名古屋に帰りましたが、町は焦土と化し、人びとは食べることに懸命でした。空虚でした。生きる目標を失っていました。そのような状況の中で、友人からきた手紙に「愛と希望と信仰は、限りなく世に残らん」(コリント前13・13)と記されていました。私の信仰は、国家と結びつき、敗戦で消滅しました。愛は、皆、自己愛と感じていました。希望はありませんでした。この句は私の知らない世界からの響きとして迫りました。熱田教会に導かれ、1947年の復活祭に受洗しました。

 熱田教会の同世代の友人、山田忠君と篠田潔君が献身し、神学校に進みました。私も鋭く内面を問われ、主に従う決意を新たにして神学校に入りました。熱田教会で高橋秋蔵牧師に導かれ、山田忠、篠田潔両氏に出会い、深い交わりを得たことは、恵みであったと感謝しております。

 1956年、神学校を卒業し、母教会の熱田教会に招かれ、35年間在任しました。この間、堅磐信誠幼稚園園長や金城学院聖書科講師を勤め、幼い園児や学生、生徒に接したことは深い喜びでした。

 65歳で熱田教会を辞任し、渥美半島の田原吉胡伝道所に招かれ、19年間在任し、隠退教師となりました。

 入信以来、日本基督教団中部教区の教会で過ごし、愛知県の教会で伝道牧師の任に当たりました。教団の酷しい状況の中で、中部教区の責任も負いましたが、優れた先輩がたや、良い教友に恵まれ、任を終えることができ、感謝しております。

 現在93歳、夫婦とも健康長寿を与えられ、母教会の熱田教会の、温かい交わりの中で礼拝を守り、幸いな晩年を過ごしております。

 激動の時代に生を受けましたが、信仰に導かれて、希望を与えられました。伝道者として使命を与えられ、54年間、欠けた器が、尊い業に用いられました。そして、貴重な出会い、良い交わりを経験しました。人生は〝妙〟と思います。不思議さと、美しさとの二つの意味をこめて。

 恵みの中で誠に幸いな時を過ごさせていただき、深く感謝しております。

 

証詞

西 富三郎

 10月になると94歳になります。入院や手術を何回かいたしましたが、主に守られ沖縄で過ごしています。私は1945年3月10日の東京大空襲の後、出勤しない同僚を探しに、翌11日江東地区深川に行き、その惨状を見て人間の問題に突き当りました。その後、考え抜いて5月24日夜、病院の看護婦長に連れられて教会に行きました。警察の留置所から出てきたばかりの、青白く痩せ細った牧師に会いました。灯火管制下の薄暗い部屋で牧師は、聖書の「それ神はその獨子を賜ふほどに世を愛し給へり、すべて彼を信ずる者の亡びずして、永遠の生命を得んためなり」(ヨハネ3・16大正改訳)を読み、どんな時でも「神さまは愛ですよ」と、私のために祈ってくださいました。しかし、8月15日敗戦の後、教会からまったく離れ、教会生活から脱落してしまいました。

 しかし、主は約束の言葉である「視よ、われは主の婢女なり。汝の言のごとく、我に成れかし」(ルカ1・38大正改訳)と道を備えてくださいました。そして、他教派の神学校に入学し、その後転入して教団に所属するものとなりました。最初の任地は大分県の東飯田教会(現在の玖珠教会)、そして、三重教会、天草平安教会に約40年にわたって仕えてまいりました。

 近年は知人友人同労者の皆さまがたが、「天に一人を増しぬ」の詩の通り、天つ御国に移されています。そこで、昨年10月九州の大分や熊本で仕えた教会を、杖2本と家内に助けられながら、お訪ねしてまいりました。よき働きをしているのを見て、とてもうれしく感謝でありました。残された時間の終わりまで、キリストの証人としての生活を過ごしてまいります。最後に、私の全生涯を貫く聖書の言葉を記します。「あなたがたの切り出された岩と、あなたがたの掘り出された穴とを思いみよ」(イザヤ書51・1口語訳)

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