日本基督教団 The United Church of Christ in Japan

【December 2022 No.411】A Christmas Message on Luke 15:3-7 (1)


by Okamura Hisashi, pastor
Takahata Church, Nishi Tokyo district
Member, executive council


Merry Christmas! Let us rejoice and give praise for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and wait in hope for His coming again.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind, is the shepherd who searches everywhere for a single sheep until He finds it. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people lost their way, grew tired, and suffered hunger and thirst. But the true shepherd loves every sheep so deeply that He knows the face, the name, and the character of each one, and knows even how much grass it has eaten today and what good water it has drunk. He knows well which one could easily walk away from the herd and get lost.

The Bible declares the truth that nowhere are there either “99 sheep who won't get lost”or “wise sheep.”Rather, what's true is that“none is righteous, no, not one.”We are all born sinners, and every one of us is the lost sheep. We walk away from God over and over and easily get lost immediately after we are found by God and called back to Him.

From the parable of lost sheep, we can imagine how happy the shepherd looks as he finds the lost one and carries it on his shoulders. He carries it home as if wearing a scarf, holding its forelegs in one hand and its hind legs in the other so he cannot lose it again.

During the past two years, I often watched a video of the song “You Raise Me Up”on YouTube. It was first sung by the Secret Garden of  Ireland in 2002. It became well known in Japan after Arakawa Shizuka, the ice-skater, won a gold medal at the Trino Olympic Games in 2006, using this song during the exhibition.

These days, many singers are recording this song again, and many ordinary people are singing it on You Tube. But when it is sung in Japanese, the words are often translated as saying “a friend comforts me”or “the one who loves me comes and helps me, so that I am empowered to walk on.”I believe this song has a biblical motif and especially that its message is “the Lord raises us up!”

The word “raise” is used in the Bible when Jesus healed a man who was lame and had never walked before in his life, or healed a sick person who was in bed for a long time, or raised a dead person by stretching his hand toward him. And of course this word is used to record the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus to say He was raised from the dead. As I listen to this song over and over, I realize that we are all surely raised only by our Lord, and saved by Him.

We are raised up to the mountains when we praise God, and even when we are about to sink into a stormy sea, the Lord will take our hands to raise us up. He finds us and carries us on His shoulders until we all get back home where we should be. And at the end, He will raise us up to where we could never hope to reach — that is home in heaven, the house of God.

When we are on His shoulders, we have nothing to fear, neither sickness nor war. Together with our Lord, we are much stronger than anyone. It is my prayer that God will guard you and bless you.


クリスマスメッセージ 聖書:ルカ 15:3~7 





 この2年余りの間、私はよくユー・チューブ(YouTube)で「ユー・レイズ・ミー・アップ(You Raise Me Up)」の動画を目にしてきました。アイルランドのシークレット・ガーデン(Secret Garden)というグループが2002年に発表した歌です。日本では、2006年のトリノ・オリンピックで、日本のスケーターの荒川静香さんが金メダルを時、エキシビションで使用し、とても有名になりました。





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