【February 2018 No.396】20 Years of Mutual Care Ministry

by Suzuki Mikio, member Nishi-chiba Church, Chiba Subdistrict, Tokyo District

Mutual Care Ministry is a program of Nishi-chiba Church that provides care for the elderly. Preparation for this program was carefully done through workshops and questionnaires before it was launched in 1997. It marked its 20th year in 2017. At the beginning, the services were limited to 1) visiting people in their places of residence,

2) helping with household chores, and 3) helping with travel to and from hospitals and clinics.

These services were provided to those who applied for them, with the church being reimbursed for the actual expenses for items 2) and 3) above. We were a volunteer organization of 45 people, including 12 committee members, and we continued to think about the meaning of these activities. Our booklet Mutual Care was written around that time with Galatians 6:10 printed on the cover: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” This idea is the basis of our ministry.

I can recall receiving these words of encouragement from Rev. Gudrun Scheer, the missionary who served as the pastor of this church and who directed its ministry from the beginning. “Some people distance themselves from the rest of the group because they are afraid of becoming an inconvenience. However, love, service, and sharing in fellowship are at the heart of what the church is all about. By putting these into practice, both those who receive care and those who give care come together as the family of God and become the driving force of evangelism. The best volunteers are those who request care. Those who request care give something to live for, and give joy to those who give care. Those who feel that they are just useless are actually God’s gift to the rest of us.”

There is a coordinator who chooses and sends volunteers to those who apply for care. The present coordinator is the fourth person to hold that position. Our organizational structure has been improved by doing such things as appointing a committee chairperson whose main roles are leading committee meetings, preparing workshops, and negotiating with other organizations.

A committee meeting is held once every three months. First, we hear reports about the care given and discuss any problems there might be. Second, we discuss the content of workshops. Third, we make sure we really understand the circumstances of elderly people. From the beginning, these words were inscribed upon the hearts of the committee members: “There is a limit to the goodness of people. If we rely on people alone, we will all fail together. No matter what, we must have Jesus standing among us.”

Missionary Scheer presented lectures at least ten times. We also have workshops once or twice a year, led by a specialist either from inside or outside the church. This learning experience is open not only to the approximately 60 volunteers but also to all church members. We study such topics as:

1. Specific directives on how to visit people in their places

of residence, help with housekeeping and travel to and from

hospitals, and read to people over the telephone;

2. How the public eldercare system works, and the situation

of public eldercare in general;

3. The reality of the emotions, bodies, and lifestyles of

elderly people;

4. The spirit of mutual care; and

5. Various activities that can delay aging.

We have implemented these various activities, making adjustments along the way. Recently the volunteers themselves are progressively getting older, so we are diligently researching the fifth topic above.

For the church worship service and other meetings, “protective assistance” has also been added. Recently, public nursing has become a complete system. Taking into account the fact that the volunteers are also getting older, help with housekeeping and help with going to and from the hospital is our response only when there is an emergency. Basically, the help we provide is in the form of introducing people to places like the regional comprehensive support center.

Currently, the main activity is visiting people in their places of residence. Most of the people who receive care are residents in a facility. Volunteers always ask them how they are doing, listen to what they say, sing their favorite hymns with them (the popular hymns being “Jesus Loves Me” and “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”), and pray with them. The cognitive functions of some people have declined, but we remember that they are companions who at one time participated in church activities together with us. Volunteers visit them and listen, even if it is something they have heard many times. Volunteers all experience the joy that comes from putting your face close to someone, holding hands, and praying together.

Sometimes volunteers also talk with family members of the elderly people and with the other people in the facility. We keep in mind that visitation by church members plays an important role in connecting our church with the families and with the facility.

This ministry has continued for 20 years, and the effect of its fruit has spread throughout our church. Awareness has formed among church members to inquire about each other’s health. In every home meeting as well as in groups of elderly men and groups of elderly women, friends check up on each other. This has become the most important part of the reports during the regular monthly meetings.

There will be more and more people who, even though they want to come to church, cannot attend because of their advancing age. We must never forget even one such companion. At all times, every step of the way, we want to put love into practice so that each one will be inside the church’s circle of fellowship until the end. To do that, we continually receive encouragement from the Great Shepherd Jesus Christ, who leads us. We pray that our ministry can go forward humbly. (Tr. KT)

From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend), November 2017 issue

Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko


鈴木幹雄 すずき みきお/西千葉教 会員

 西千葉教会の高齢者ケアの取り組み「相互ケア活動」は、学習会や アンケートを通して入念に検討をし1997年に発足しました。今年で20年に なります。スタート時の活動は、①問安、②家事援助、③通院援助に絞り、申し込み制。②③は実費をもらうこととしました。教会におけ る信徒同士のこの活動の意味を問いつつ、12名の委員を含む45名のボランティア組織でした。

当時作成した「相互ケアのしおり」の表紙には、「今、時のある間 に、すべての人に対して、特に信仰によって家族になった人々に対して、善(原語は愛の奉仕)を行いましょう」(ガラテヤ6・10)が掲げら れています。この思いが活動の原点です。

本教会の教師として活動を初期から指導してくださったシェーア宣 教師から、「迷惑をかけるのではないかとの理由で群れから遠ざかってしまう人がいるが、教会は愛・奉仕・交わりの分かち合いが中心 だ。神の家族としてこれを実践することで、ケアを受ける人、する人が共に宣教の力となる。ケアを願う人は、する人に生きがい・喜びを 与える最上のボランティアだ。〈邪魔者〉になったと思っている人は、神の〈賜物〉なのだ」と励ましをいただいたことを思い出します。


委員会を3カ月ごとに開き、①ケア内容の報告、その際の問題点の 話し合い、②研修内容の検討、③高齢者の状況把握などを行います。委員会は当初から「人間の善意には限界がある。それに頼るなら共倒 れになる。どうしても、私たちの間にイエスさまが立ってくださらなければ……」の思いを肝に銘じています。

シェーア宣教師は10数 回の講義をして下さいました。その他、教会内外の専門家による年に1、2回の研修会が持たれました。60名前後のボランティアのみならず、教会員全体に開かれた学びとしています。①問 安、家事・通院援助、電話朗読の具体的方法、②公的な介護の仕組み、一般の介護事情、③高齢者の感情・身体・生活などの実態、④相互 ケアの精神、⑤老化予防のための諸活動など、変化をさせつつ実施してきました。最近ではボランティア自身の高齢化が進んできたため、 ⑤の研修に力を入れています。

教会の礼拝・諸集会での「みまもり介助」も加わっています。公的 な介護が充実してきている昨今です。ボランティアも高齢化してきた実態を踏まえ、家事援助、通院援助は、緊急時のみの対応とし、基本 的には地域包括支援センターなどを紹介する形を採っています。

現在の主たる活動は問安です。ケアを受ける人の多くは施設入居者 となりました。安否を問いつつ話に傾聴し、愛唱賛美歌(「主われを愛す」「いつくしみ深き」が人気)を共に歌い、祈りを捧げます。認知機能が低下している人もいます。 しかしかつて教会生活を共にした仲間です。訪ねていき、何度も聞いたことのある話であってもしっかりと聞き、顔を近づけ手を取って祈 り合える幸いをボランティアは共に喜んでいます。

ご家族や施設の方々とお話しすることもあり、教会メンバーの訪問 は教会とご家族や施設をつなぐ役目を果たすこともあることを心に留めています。

20年の 長きにわたってなされてきた実績が教会内に浸透しています。各家庭集会の仲間内で、また高齢の男性・女性グループの中でも互いの安否 を問い合う意識が形成されてきており、毎月の例会で報告事項の重要な部分を占めるようになりました。

高齢化が進み、教会に来たくても来られない状態の人たちが多く なるでしょう。一人の仲間も決して忘れない、最後まで教会の交わりの輪の中にいられるよう、あらゆるとき、場をとおして実践していき たいものです。そのためにも、先立つ大牧者イエスさまの励ましをいただきつつ、本活動を粛々と進めることを願っています。(信徒の友 2017年10月号より)

【February 2018 No.396】Hiroshima Christian Center’s 60th Anniversary Celebration Plans

It has been 60 years since Hiroshima Christian Center was built at its present location in 1957. Programs directed at evangelistic outreach to the area, fighting against buraku discrimination, and especially programs for children had already been begun before World War II by missionaries from the US and local Christians living in the area, but the major part of the center’s founding work was done by Mary Francis Jones, a missionary. The current building is the upgraded version of what was constructed with contributions from the Methodist Women’s Society in the US. In the literary text of the Cornerstone Ceremony, Jones wrote: “All the people of Hiroshima, through a new spiritual birth, are all equal persons, and our desire is that their God-given personalities and rights will be mutually recognized.”

Now is the time when we must hereafter reaffirm this message. This desire and prayer has been expanded to include a nursery school, childhood education and care for the elderly, and from last year, the additional undertaking of providing meals, tutoring, and other services for children caught in difficult living situations. These all show how the needs of the area in each era are being sincerely addressed.

Commemorative activities included a worship service led by Director Nishijima Yoshihiro and a concert by the Kontrapunct Ensemble (an orchestra comprised of Japanese and Korean people living in Hiroshima who use Western instruments and instruments originally from the Korean Peninsula). This was followed by a refreshing time of fellowship with homemade sweets made by the staff and greetings from those who attended. The 82 attendees were people from churches, former employees, and related persons in the area. Including the staff, there were 106 people present, so it was a successful event. We thank God and all the people who supported us as we look forward in hope to new activities and renovation. (Tr. RT)

—Rev. Nishijima Yoshihiro, pastor,

Hiroshima Ushita Church

From Hiroshima District Newsletter, Issue No. 116: “Peace Sunday”

『西中国教区通信』第166号(平和聖日号) 2017.


広島キリスト教社会館は、1957年に現在の地に建てられ60周年を迎えた。この地域の宣教、部落差別と、特に子どもたちへの取り組みは、すでに戦前より米国宣教師やキリスト者、住民 たちによって始められていたが、創立はメアリー・F・ジョーンズ宣教師の働きによるところが大きい。米国メソジスト教会婦人部の献金 を受けて建設された建物は、現在も改修を加え用いられている。ジョーンズ宣教師は定礎式の文に「広島のあらゆる人々が、新しい精神の 誕生によって、すべての人々は平等であり、神より与えられた個人の人格や権利を認め合えるよう願っているのです。」と記しており、こ の使命を今後も継承していくことを再確認する時となった。設立の願いと祈りは、保育所・学童保育から、高齢者への介護事業へと広が り、昨年からは生活環境の厳しい子どもやその保護者を支援する子ども食堂、学習支援などの事業が加わっている。これらは、その時々に この地域で何が求められているか、ということに誠実に向き合おうとしてきた証しでもある。記念行事は、礼拝:西嶋佳弘主事司式、コン サート:「アンサンブル・コントラプンクト」(広島在住の日本人と在日コリアンによる、西洋楽器と朝鮮半島由来楽器の合奏団)、職員手作りのお菓子による懇親と来会者の言葉で、和やかな時を持っ た。教会・旧職員・地域関係者が82名集い、職員と合わせて106名の出席で、盛会であっ た。新たな活動と改築への希望を抱きつつ、神と多くの方々の支えに感謝する。

日本キリスト教団 広島牛田教会 牧師:西嶋佳弘

【February 2018 No.396】In Remembrance of Kyodan Pastor Ninomiya Tadahiro

by Rev. Paicu Yasiyungu, (An Shu-Mei) Le-ye (Lalauya) Church, Presbyterian Church in Taiwan

On Oct. 27, 2017, Rev. Ninomiya Tadahiro left our midst and returned to his Heavenly Father’s home. The cremation service took place at 9 a.m., Nov. 3, at Chayi City Mortuary Hall, followed by cremation at 10 a.m. A memorial service was held at 10 a.m. on Nov. 18 at Le-ye (Lalauya) Church.

Ninomiya was born in Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, on Dec. 14, 1940. His parents were Ninomiya Hiroshi and Fumi, and he had two younger sisters: Rumiko, who lives in Gifu, and Mikako, who lives in Germany. When he was a child, his aunt (Ms. Inouye) took him together with his two sisters to church school at Kyodan Miyakonojo Johnan Church (founded in 1887) and through that became involved with church activities. During his college years, he became active in Fukuoka Watanabedori Church (founded in 1910) and received baptism there. Even though he was the first Christian in the Ninomiya family, he was happy to dedicate his life to following Jesus Christ and becoming an evangelist.

On Dec. 29, 1988, he married Paicu Yasiyungu, of the Tsou people of Taiwan, and they raised three daughters. The oldest, Yangui, is presently working on her PhD at the National Chengchi (Political) University in Taiwan, after earning her Master’s Degree at Hiroshima University. The middle daughter, Motoyu, is working for a Japanese company in Taipei, and the youngest daughter, Taomi, is a senior at the same university as Yangui. This year, our family experienced its first Christmas without our father and husband, so it was a lonely one indeed.

We give thanks to God for his life. He loved God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as he protected his family for 29 years of married life, and as a father for 27 years, always giving his children the very best. He taught his children to read the Bible and pray before meals, and after we came to Japan, he led our family worship time every week, where we learned Japanese hymns. He also taught us Japanese children’s stories. We learned to play the piano in Japan, but only because he dedicated two hours each time to take us to our lessons, so his daughters all serve in their churches as musicians.

We give thanks to God for his life. He became the husband of a tribal woman in Taiwan, wearing the traditional costume of the Tsou people at the wedding and giving Tsou names to his children.

We give thanks to God for his life. As a means of affirming the tribal recognition movement of native peoples of Taiwan, he always addressed the students at the seminary by their tribal names.

I give thanks to God for his life. He always supported me and prayed for me as I served in the life of the church.

He was a child, a husband, a father, and a brother in Christ who loved Jesus. He showed great filial piety to his parents, and he was a faithful husband, a loving father, and a compassionate brother in Christ. (Tr. TB)



11月18日(土)午前10時、楽野 教会にて告別礼拝を行いました。


1940年12月14日、宮崎県都城市に生まれる。父:二宮弘 母:二宮フミ


幼い時二人の妹と共に、おば(井上姉)に連れられ日本基督教団都城城南教会(1887年設立)の日 曜学校に通い、教会の活動に参加する。大学時代は福岡渡辺通教会(1910年 設立)で教会生活を送り、受洗する。二宮家第一代目のクリスチャンとなった が、イエス・キリストに従う者として喜んで献身し、伝道者となる決意をした。

1988年12月29日、台湾鄒族(ツォウ 族:Tsou people)のpaicu yasiyungu姉と結婚。3人の娘を育てた。

長女:二宮雅古以(Yangui)(現 在台湾国立政治大学博士過程/日本国立広島大学修士)、 a Ph.D. student in National Chengchi University/ Master’s degree in Hiroshima University)





あなたがいて感謝します。父 親として27年間、 神様、主イエス・キリスト、聖霊を愛し、いつも子供たちに一番よいものを与えま した。幼い時から食前に聖書を読み、祈り、日本へ帰った後も週一度の家庭礼拝を守り、子ども達が日本語の讃美歌を覚え、日本の童謡も 覚えました。子どもたちは、日本でピアノを習いましたが、あなたがいつも二時間もかけて送迎してくれたからこそ、現在、彼女たちは教 会で奉仕ができるのです。

あなたがいて感謝します。あなたは台湾原住民の夫となることを受け入れ、すぐに婚約し、結婚式ではツォウ 族の民族衣装をきて、娘たちにはツォウ族の名前を名づけました。

あなたがいて感謝します。台湾原住民の自覚運動ときっかけになるよう、神学院で必ず学生を民族名で呼び続 けました。


イエスを愛する子、夫、父母、兄弟姉妹は、最も親孝行な子であり、最も忠実な夫であり、最も慈しみ深い 父母であり、最も思いやりのある兄弟姉妹です。

Rev. paicu yasiyungu, (An Shu-Mei)

2017年10月27日二宮忠弘牧師離開我 們,安息回到天父的家了 。

11月3日(星期五)上午9點在嘉義市立殯儀館舉 行火化禮拜,10點於嘉義市殯儀館火葬場舉行火化。11月18日(星期六)上午10點在樂野教會舉行告別 禮拜。

二宮忠弘(Ninomiya Tadahiro)

1940年12月14日在日本宮崎縣都城市出生, 父: 二宮弘 母:二宮フミ


小時候和二位妹妹,由 其堂姑母(井上女士)引導至日本基督教団都城城南教会(1887年設立)上日曜學校,成長期間參與教會活動,大學時期在福岡渡辺通教(1910設立)過教會生活,並且接受洗禮。雖然身為二宮家第一代基督徒,但他立志跟隨耶穌並獻身成為傳道者。

1988年12月29日和台灣鄒族paicu yasiyungu結婚,生育3女。

長女:二宮雅古以(現台灣國立政治大學研究所生/日本國立廣島大學碩士畢)、 次女:二宮茉杜玉(現台北一間日商公司上班)


今年對我的家而言,是 第一次沒有父親和沒有丈夫的的聖誕節,感受一份孤寂。









感恩有你,您認同成為 台灣原住民的女婿身分, 為此即訂婚、結婚禮都 穿著


感恩有你,當台灣原住 民自覺運動初起,在神學院你就堅持用學生族名來稱謂


感恩有你,當我在教會 牧養服事上,一直是支持我,為我禱告的人。

愛耶穌的兒女、丈夫、父母、弟兄、姊妹是最孝順的兒女[、最忠實的丈夫、最慈 愛的父母、最有親情的弟兄姐妹。

【February 2018 No.396】Acting General Secretary’s Report: District Moderators Consider Issues of Church Evangelism

It has been a year since I began writing these notes “Acting General Secretary’s Report” and this one will be my last. As of April 2018, Rev. Akiyama Toru, chair of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries and pastor of Ageo Godo Church in Kanto District, will begin serving in the capacity of general secretary, so he will write “General Secretary’s Report” for the next issue of KNL.

During the second week in Advent, on Dec. 11-12, 2017, Kyodan district moderators gathered in Atami (Shizuoka) at “Heartpia Atami,” under the auspices of the Committee on Evangelism Strategy. The 26 participants from 16 districts began the conference by asking each other about the condition of evangelism in their respective districts. With the exception of Okinawa District, which did not send a representative, the district moderators shared reports on the condition of evangelism in their districts and the various issues they are facing. While urban and rural areas face different issues, together they face the common issues of declining numbers and financial pressures. They all came to a common understanding that these issues are not ones that individual districts can handle on their own but that these need to be dealt with by the Kyodan as a whole.

Having received these reports, the second day of the conference centered on the response that is needed. Some moderators emphasized that there is no clear vision of who we are trying to reach, but we all were in agreement that it is not the Kyodan as a whole or the districts that are at the center of evangelistic efforts; it is the local churches. Thus, the increase of our evangelistic strength must come through local churches increasing their abilities and efforts. So, with the backing of the Kyodan and the districts, we hope to develop ways of encouraging and facilitating local church efforts to meet this need.

Looking ahead, the Kyodan Mission Planning Conference will be held at Fujimicho Church in Tokyo, March 5-6. The theme will be, “What does Evangelism in Japan Mean in the Context of the Basic Mission Plan?” The Kyodan established its “Basic Mission Plan,” as based on its “Basic Theory of Mission” back in 1963, and it has not been modified since then. During the 37th General Assembly Period (October 2010–September 2012), work began on a “Revised Basic Mission Plan,” but the Kyodan as a whole has still made no decision on this. While the focus of this conference will not be on that per se, I believe that this is an important opportunity for us to reconfirm our basic direction as we consider anew what Japanese evangelism means in today’s context.

The Kyodan has endured a long period of struggles, and while we have made certain gains in regards to our understanding of evangelism, we have also experienced loss in other areas. Reconsidering our “Mission Theory,” based on trust and the unity of a common confession of faith and the Kyodan Bylaws, is a critical need. It is my prayer that this will be a fruitful conference in fulfilling that end.

May the grace and blessings of Jesus Christ be upon all of you abundantly in this New Year! (Tr. TB)

—Acting General Secretary Dohke Norikazu

Executive Secretary of General Affairs

「総幹事室から」の原稿を書くようになって1年が過ぎましたが、今号が最後になります。4月からは、「秋山徹牧 師」(関東教区・上尾合同教会教師・世界宣教委員会委員長)が 就任します。次号からは新しい総幹事の執筆となります。

12月の初旬、アドヴェント第2週の11日(月)と12日 (火)に熱海(ハートピア熱海)にて「教区議長会議」が開催されました。主催は 「教団伝道対策検討委員会」 です。のべ26名の参加の下、「互いに(伝道状況)を聞き合う」 ことから始めました。16教区(沖縄教区を除く)の教区議長から、各々が準 備した報告書に基づき、(教区の)伝道状況と伝道課題について分かち合いました。都市と地方とで違いはあれ、「教勢の減少」と「財政 の逼迫」は共通する課題であり、各教区の努力だけでは解決できない、全教団的な取組みの必要性が認識されました。

二日目は、この報告を受けて協議がなされました。「福音を伝える対象」の具体的な姿が絞り切れていないという意見 がある中で、伝道する主体は教団でも教区でもなく各個教会であり、(教団の伝道は)詰まる所、各個教会の伝道力のアップを図らねばな らない、という点では一致を見ました。今後は、そのための実践的で具体的な方法(教団教区の後方支援)についての討議が望まれます。

3月5日(月)~6日(火)にかけて東京・富士見町教会を会場に「教団宣教方策会議」が開催されます。主題は、「日本の伝道をどう考 えてゆくか―宣教基本方策をもとに」です。教団は「宣教基本方策」ならびに、それを理論づける「宣教基礎理論」 を制定しています。(1963年)その後、改訂されることもなく今日に至りまし た。37総会期(2010年10月~2012年9月)より「改訂宣教基礎理論」の作業が始まりましたが、未だ全教団的に決議はされないままです。この会議では、そ のことが主眼ではありませんが、日本基督教団として、「日本伝道」をどう考え、どのように進めてゆくかについて、基本的な方向性を再 度確認する重要な機会となることを願っています。

日本基督教団は、長い間、紛争の時を過ごしました。その中で、(教団の伝道論に関して)もちろん得られたものもあ りますが、失われたものもあります。信仰告白と教憲教規による信頼と一致に基づいた「宣教論」の再構築が急務です。そのための実りあ る会議となるよう祈っています。

こ のニューズレターを読まれる頃は、新しい年が始まっていることと思います。皆様の上に、今年も、主イエス・キリストの恵みと祝福が豊かに ありますように祈ります。 道家紀一総務幹事・総幹事代行

【December 2017 No.395】A Christmas Sermon on Luke 2:1-20  “A Savior who would not Leave Us”

by Sasaki Michio, Kyodan vice-moderator

Pastor, Shizuoka Church, Tokai District


While telling the story of Christ’s birth, Luke repeats the phrase “lying in a manger” to reveal the image of the holy infant. This was also the sign by which the angels told the shepherds they would recognize the child. In a world of poverty and hardship, Jesus lays himself down on the earth. In a few words, Luke shows us that the Christ child puts himself in the midst of our actual walk in life. At the same time, Luke shows us that as we walk through our troubled lives, we are also put in the midst of Gods love.


As we await Christmas, we live in the reality of this world. In society and in our various lives, there really are not that many occasions of joy. Rather, we go through life carrying with us our pain and sorrow. As long as we are alive, we cannot escape that reality. This is true for any generation. The shepherds who received the angel’s news were taking care of their sheep out in the fields. It was a dangerous existence, allowing for little sleep. Daily subsistence in poverty and hardship was their existence. Life was lived while dozing. They had many troubles and sleepless days. But in the midst of that mundane existence, an angel brought them news of great joy. “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (ESV) This reveals the truth and sign of Christ’s birth.


Moreover, the singing of the host of angels right after the announcement was a great contrast to the sign. God’s tremendous glory was lying in a poor manger. There was no room, bed, or proper baby clothing. All that was available were a few cloths, some straw, and a simple manger from which animals fed. There, our Lord Jesus laid himself as a newborn baby and revealed that image of himself to us. If the angel’s announcement had not been made, no one would have noticed the birth of this small child. But this is the way the hand of God works to accomplish God’s work in our world. God dwells with us in the reality of our pain and poverty and warms us with the warmth of God’s life.


The following words come from the scriptures: “For unto you is born this day . . . a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” These words tell us of the work of salvation done through God’s hands, and they are the Gospel to be preached from that point on. Also, in the Apostles’ Creed, which we as a church confess, the crucifixion and resurrection are confessed, telling of the reality of God’s salvation.


In Luke’s gospel, where the nativity account is recorded, the word “returned” has many meanings attached to it. The angel Gabriel returned after announcing Jesus’ birth to Mary. After Mary stayed with Elizabeth, she returned. The angels who brought the news to the shepherds also returned. And the shepherds returned after beholding the holy infant in the manger. All of them accepted God’s will and returned. However, Jesus did not return to his throne but remained in the world with us. That Jesus continues to walk among us until he accomplishes the will of God. The joy of Christmas is to invite this person, Jesus, accept the salvation of God as our own, and give thanks for the joy of living in his love. Through the coming of the Holy Spirit, the reality of Immanuel and peace is manifest in our lives. (Tr. WJ)


ルカ2:1-20   佐々木美知夫(教団副議長・静岡教会牧師)

イ エス・キリストの降誕を告げるルカ伝の御言葉は「飼い葉桶に寝かされた」乳飲み子の姿を繰り返し記 しています。それが天使から羊飼いたちに示された救い主誕生のしるしでもありました。地上の貧しさや困難の中に主イエスが身を横たえてお られる。私たちの現実の歩みに幼子イエスが呑み込まれてゆく(自分を置かれる)ことをルカは短い言葉の中に表しています。そしてルカは同 時に、私たち人間が厳しい現実を歩みながらも神の愛の中に呑み込まれてゆく(置かれる)ことを描き出しています。

クリスマスを迎える私たちはこの世の現実の中に生きています。社会に於いても、それぞれの人生に於いても、幸いなことはそう多くありませ ん。むしろ苦しみや悲しみを担いながら私たちは歩んで行きます。生きるからには、そこから逃れることはできません。この姿はいつの時代に も言えることです。天使のみ告げを受けた羊飼いたちもまた野宿しながら羊の群れの番をしていました。危険と隣り合わせの寝ずの番です。そ こに彼らの日常があり、貧しさと労苦を抱える人間の姿がありました。人生は仮寝の宿です。悩み多く、眠れぬ日々を過ごすところです。しか しその中に天使は大きな喜びを語り始めます。「恐れるな。わたしは、民全体に与えられる大きな喜びを告げる。今日ダビデの町で、あなたが たのために救い主がお生まれになった。この方こそ主メシアである。あなたがたは、布にくるまって飼い葉桶の中に寝ている乳飲み子を見つけ るであろう。これがあなた方へのしるしである。」と。これはキリスト誕生の事実とそのしるしを示しています。しかもその直後に記される天 の大軍の賛美は、与えられているしるしとは余りにも対照的です。神の大いなる栄光が、貧しい飼い葉桶に置かれているのです。客間も用意さ れず、産着もベッドも無い。あるのはわずかな布きれと藁、そして家畜がいつも餌を食べている粗末な飼い葉桶です。その中に主イエスは身を 置き、生まれたばかりの幼子として御自身を示されるのです。天使のみ告げがなければ誰も知ることがなかったようないと小さき者の誕生でし た。しかし神はこのようにして救いの業を御自分の手で進めて行かれたのです。私たちの貧しさや困難という現実のただ中にその身を置かれ、 御自分の命の温もりでそこを温められる方が確かに来られたのです

御言葉には「あなたがたのために救い主がお生まれになった。この方こそ主メシアである。」とあります。この告げられた救いが神の御手に よって成し遂げられることを福音書はここから語り始めるのです。また教会の信仰告白である使徒信条も主の誕生を告げるところに十字架の死 と復活を告白し、神の救いの実現を語ります。

ルカによる福音書の主イエス誕生の物語には「帰った」という意味の言葉が多くあることに気づきます。天使ガブリエルは、マリアに主イエス の誕生を告げた後、去って行きます。そのマリアはエリサベトの許に滞在した後に自分の家に帰って行きます。キリストの誕生を羊飼いたちに 告げた天使も、神を賛美した天の大軍もまた天に去ります。そして飼い葉桶の幼子を探し当てた羊飼いたちも神をあがめ、賛美しながら帰って 行くのです。皆、神の御心を受け取って帰って行きます。しかし、御自分の御座に帰ることなく、私たちのところに留まり続ける方が居られま す。その方は救い主として、神の御心を成し遂げるまで私たちの中を歩んで行かれるのです。クリスマスの喜びはこの方をお迎えすることで す。そしてこの方に表される神の救いの御心を自らに頂き、神の愛の内に置かれた幸いを感謝することです。インマヌエルの事実と平安は、聖 霊なる神の臨在によって私たちに告げ知らされ、私たちに与えられています。