The Point Of Resolution For Problems In Human Life

Special Message: "The Bishop Of Osaka's Letter"
Translated by Rev. Mike Furey, Georgetown, IN, USA

Japanese Version

This message was preached by Bishop Teijiroh Yanagihara, the Bishop of Osaka for the Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan (Nippon Seikohkai). It was preached on the Centenary of the Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan.

The Point Of Resolution For Problems In Human Life

 This story is told about Bishop Williams who came to Japanone hundred years ago.   According to the story there was a Confucian scholar named Oka* in Tokyo during the Meiji period [1868].  This scholar gave a lecture to some students on The Records Of The Historian [written by Shibasen or Ssu-me-Ch'ien the first Chinese historian who lived around 145-86 BCE].  When this scholar was giving his lecture to the student she gave the passage that said, "Sage Virtue Appearance Foolishness, that is, when you see the abundant virtues of a wise man the first glance at their appearance seems foolish," and he said, I once paid a visit to the religious teacher Williams at the mission school for Jesus in Tsukiji. At that time I was expounding on the way of Confucius and Mencius and attacked Christianity.  I was always visiting these people with the intention to practice the disciplined teaching called The Destruction Of Wickedness And The Establishment Of Righteousness.  However, today I was going to let them have a good one so I came to the teacher Williams; when I tried sitting in front of him, he seemed a little foolish when I saw him, but he had a sincere attitude with an awe-inspiring demeanor, and he said to me, "You there, please believe in God.  If you do, you will understand all."  So after thinking I would give him an eloquent lecture, in the end I wasn't even able to lecture him.  I was overwhelmed by his appearance and left without speaking a word.  Indeed, Shibasen the historian had put it well.  The demeanor of the wise man, regardless of whether his style was from the Orient or the Occident, seems to be one and the same.

 This is a story which narrates the demeanor of Bishop Williams who was truly a saint.  What made Bishop Williams into a saint was, needless to say, the result of his having believed in God as revealed in Jesus.

 Again, we have thus gathered here today to commemorate Bishop Williams who though he came one hundred years ago, he speaks to those gathered here tonight "please believe in God, and thus you will understand everything and anything," and I believe even the very words of this bishop which he has spoken has a message still for us today; because I believe believing in the God of Christianity indeed is where the point of solution lies for problems in human life.

 Today we are commemorating [him], and Bishop Williams was the first religious worker and a person who truly did good works with a hidden love.  I knew him well because when I was young he made an appearance at our church once every month.  His living expenses were extremely curtailed, but still he built two church halls out of his own pocket money, and also he came to do hidden works of love for those who were sick or in emergency care.  If we'd ask him when old Bishop Williams came by "Teacher, are you able to do such works without believing in the Christian faith?," he would surely answer, "I myself can't do anything.  Christ who is in me made me and has me to do deeds as if hidden."  Right then I also clearly understood the necessity of a faith that went beyond reason.

 Only by faith can we receive Christ's salvation.  Among today's young rational theorists the best thing for them to receive especially in the Christian faith is the redemption of the cross of Christ. The expression as St. Paul so taught us concerning the cross of Christ, "We obtain redemption by his blood, that is the forgiveness of sins," is equivalent to saying a human being becomes a vessel which loves a person almost as himself after receiving God's love, but first of all, he must liquidate his self-interest which lies within him.  There is no self liquidation which has power to liquidate the things of the self like being before the cross of Christ, God's son.  Therefore, even St. Paul said, "The word of the cross is to the one who is perishing like foolishness but it becomes the power of God to the one who is saved," and it sounds completely foolish to the rational theorist.  The redemption of the cross, even this good news of the cross, has great power enough to liquidate the self of such selfish personal interests and bring one close to God.

*This name "Oka" is not correct. If you know the correct pronounciation, please email it to this site.

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