Pastor Aso is living with an Oxygen cylinder in the year of 40th anniversary, because of a weak chest.
-Invitation to the memorial Sunday Service on 30th anniversary-
All my children,
you are getting along as usual, or you are changed a lot, aren’t you? I hope
everybody stay well.
Please allow me to jump to a conclusion on my free will that you are as “the second generation of the Hyakunincho Church”. I write so, since I feel you near by.
By the way, November of this year is 30th anniversary of the Hyakunincho. Your parents left from the Mitake Church 30 years ago. And they started prayer service in a room of the Kyoufu-Kaikan near Ookubo-Station, and then 30years has gone. Meanwhile the Ookubo-Meeting changed name to the Hyakunincho Church, and principal pastor has been changed from Pastor Aso to pastor Ka. And the Hyakunincho is keeping free atmosphere still and in a lively way as well as old days. We have been proud of the Hyakunincho since keeping practice on true nature of the church. It is unique and unchanged as it was in the past even on today. Meanwhile, generation of your parents is getting just 30 years old. It is the same for you, who have grown up adult. All together, we had a Sunday service, Sunday school for children, or retreat. We enjoyed a camp fire, fire works, playing, dancing, and a banquet. Do you remember? In the retreat, sometimes, we had three programs; one for children, second for junior high school and university students, and third for seniors.
I believe you never forget the exciting impression of warm reception by Korean people in the chance of having joint retreat with our sister church in Korea, don’t you? I believe also you had grown up big though many meaningful experiences. Moreover, you are raised and educated by the parents, who are member of the Hyakunincho. I think you should have not only knowledge but also a heritage of belief. And the heritage is a part or all of your parents had. Of course, belief is a part of free decision. Our constitution preserves freedom of belief. And we think that is important and we have been fighting to support.
Well, the ceremony of 30th anniversary is going to reach on 29th November in this year, as a special day at the Ookubo. The special day means that usage of the Kyoufu-Kaikan is possibility to end by this physical year and we are looking for new place instead. Therefore, I am dreaming we’d like to have a Sunday service together with all of you, people of second generation, on the day of 30 years. If it comes true, it will be wonderful time for all, don’t you think so? This is a just old parents dream, we’d like invite you. We are not imposing you, but please arrange your time to come.
On that day, we will expect to have a testimony by Mr. Goro Kakei, who is original member when we left the Mitake Church. I am sure you would have his heart moved talk, as working on your emotion. The first generation will be attended, of course, as much as possible.
As adding at the last, there is almost no attendance from second generation of the Hyakunincho. And it might be general feeling as resulted by parents’ entire fault or loss of faith. But I don’t think so, and parents don’t also. We believe people of second generation would be alive grandly as second generation. Furthermore, we pretend to act tough and think you grow up not a sweet people who will attend the same church your parents come. Therefore, I believe you will come on the 30th Anniversary. This reunion would be possible dream we could have, and we have believed up to now we would have such relation. Keep good health, have a good work, and lead a wonderful life throughout your lifetime.
(October 10th, 2000. The Hyakunincho Church representatives, the responsibility for the wording of an article by Toshifumi Aso)
There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? 3 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Si-lo’am fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt I Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” 6 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I found none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Let it alone. sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. 9 And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’ ”
When considering what kinds of meaning we have on “current”, two phases would be counted as same as last my talk. One phase is counted “current” as a process, and other is as an incident or event.
Firstly, if “current” is deemed as a process, what kinds of matter could be thought as a future? In that case we call the world to come or after death, it has already a certain fixed time in the mind. If you believe so, the time of “current” is just passing point from yesterday or past to tomorrow or future. When we think along with this line, the time of “current” is time of endurance and just passing through.
On the other hand, if “current” is deemed as an incident, temporality and extensity of “current” can be appealed vividly. And relation with a future can be expressed in tighter. The “current”, I think, has also meaning of a place, circumstance or reason in many cases. And then the future will be more appealed which could be changed by the time of “current”.
I learned about what the Bible call for, the time of “current” should be recognized as the nature of incidents. For example, The Gospel was a kind of file of incident written based upon the figure of life and death regarding Jesus lived in Palestine around AD 30’s year.
Today, based on the above line, I would like to investigate a little bit precisely about Biblical expression regarding the concept of time of “current”.
Let’s look at today’s portion of Bible.
Verse 1~5 and 6~9 should be separated to understand, and the latter will be a parable explaining the former.
Firstly, I would like to see the former half. The parable was started with two terrible disasters. I think the disaster might be happened in the Shrine of Jerusalem. One incident was that Pilate, who was a governor of Palestine from the Roman Empire, made mixed up Galilean blood in a sacrifice. Other disaster was introduced in verse 4 after, and the tower in Si-lo’am at the castle of Jerusalem fell and killed 18 people.
A reaction of people in those days regarding those two incidents might be guess from an answer of Jesus. It could be said they reacted in general receiving rather disasters than incidents. In sum, they did not interest to ask for responsibility of person who did this disaster, or cause of disaster, But they interested to ask for sin of dead people who was deeper sin than themselves, because other than myself were killed. It was very selfish decision according to religious relation or meanings. Jesus, however, did not talk about those ideas; instead, asked for repentance since all forgot God at all.
This answer looks like an extremely fuzzy and metaphysical. But this story is very much resembled as parable in part of John 9, which we read in the last Bible-Study. Jesus asked who commit a sin regarding a blind in nature, parents or himself. And said this was nobody’s sin and expressed the glory of God.
Well, what we can catch from answer of Jesus is that criminals of disaster never be focused on or a target. Jesus did not catch criminals who would be punished against his sin, and rather indicated sin of all of us behind disaster. Therefore, Jesus concluded that all of us should repent of our sins, and should change our past living and thinking style.
Here, important thing is a kind of distinction. John the Baptist, living in the same era with Jesus, was stressed about repentance also. I have a question whether content of repentance indicated both two is the same or not.
John had been living in the desert with poor close and food in asceticism. John indicated strongly about apocalypse coming soon. Therefore in the case of John, the future would be his central concern than the time of “current”.
Jesus thinking was way different from John’s. Looking at Gospel of Luke Chapter 7, 18 after, and John, calling to him two of his disciplines, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Then Jesus answered them, “Go back tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleaned, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news as preached to them.” As everybody understand easily from this story which shows the blind receive their sight, or the lame walk, it is not indicated the idea of enduring present time to escape for safety toward apocalypse as like John said.
As I mentioned firstly, the time of “current” can be thought two ways, one is the time of passing through, and another is the time of incidents we are involved. John indicated the former, and Jesus indicated the latter. Each of mighty works, Jesus done, have flavor of incident, and the same time, matters can be seen clearly as thinking of the future. In sum I think, comparing with John’ work baptizing of religious purification, Jesus mighty works, such as the sick are cured, the handicap are recovered and the poor have good news, is more proper to receive the future. I would like to point out the time of “current”, what Jesus requested to repent, is the time of change for real future. That is to say, the time of “current” is not just longing to future, but makes key to decide the future.
Next, in connection with above we would like to consider the parable stated in the latter half.
“A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find nothing. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
This parable is the conversation between
vineyard owner and vinedresser regarding a fig tree with no fruit. Owner
thought it had better to cut down a fig tree now reasonably since the tree had
no fruits even waiting three years. Vinedresser objected owner and said it had
better to wait a little bit more since vinedresser reared in hard work for more
than three years. Vinedresser advised if allowed for one more year, increasing
manure and rearing with all his heart and would get fruit on it. The parable is
ended there, and no further writing of what owner replied for.
We could consider a several matters from this parable. One is that vinedresser did not follow owner’s word unconditionally. Why the fig tree had no fruit on it, because not only matter of tree itself but also responsibility on myself. This is indicated important matter of what we never think reward and punishment for one’s past behavior, as mentioned just before Jerusalem criminals thought having disaster would be caused from self sins. Against such thought, here is said what we can do now. Therefore, vinedresser refused to cut down tree even though owner’s request, and stopped further decision. I considered in this parable well and convinced, the vinedresser’s deed would need courage and free sprit. And making it possible is because of vinedresser’s self-identity and hope for future. At the same time, it is based upon solid trust to the fig tree (object or people). Prophets in the Old Testament tried to put a decision on hold to the God sometimes. That deed such as putting hold is just the incident itself, and through such incident, future will be opened. That’ why, the time of “current” could be worthwhile to live. Some people would like to keep fixed process, and feel easy to walk on laid rail or dogma. But those livings are just thinking reward and punishment for one’s past behavior, no more than that. Those people would not like to put themselves into the incident, and never trust others. All kind of relief should be based on self-responsibility. As putting it in extreme terms, no-Jesus might be necessary.
Parables are said to be tales in the kingdom of God. The kingdom is looking for future. But the future has deep relation with the time of “current”. The time of “current” is not just the point of passing over for going to future. The future is wide open space and receiving current incidents whichever we make whether good or not.
We would like to use the time of “current” to improve our world. The time of “current” is given chance for us. Therefore, such time as current is existing in the incidents. (Roba-183, dated February 14th, 2010)