I would like to thank you all for your prayers and cooperation during the Consecration and Installation held on October 24th. It was postponed twice due to the spread of the new coronavirus disease, but through the hard work and preparation by the people of the Province and dioceses, it has been successfully completed. On the day, the Archbishop of Japan’s main Christian religious sect and chairpersons also attended, and we received many congratulatory messages from all over the world. I was able to realize once again that we, the Diocese of Chubu, are supported by, not only the Anglican Church in Japan, but also by the Anglican Communion, and the ecumenical connection that transcend denominations.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Bishop Ichiro Shibusawa, who has guided our diocese for 10 years, and to Bishop Osamu Irie, who has managed the Diocese of Chubu, which was within the feeling of anxiety for the last 7 months. In addition, although I will continue to work at Rikkyo University for the time being, and with the support of ministers and congregations of the Diocese of Chubu, including Reverend Hirozumi Doi being appointed as the Archdeacon, I will do my best to take on this position as bishop. I would appreciate your continued kind support.
On a personal note, my youngest son was born by Caesarean section in a hospital in Okaya. However, he was not breathing at birth and was in a state of severe asphyxia. Immediately treatments in ICU were started, and the doctor showed me an MRI of the brain but it was pure white. The doctor had told me that no primary treatment could be conducted and only secondary treatment would be possible.
The Gospel for the Sunday after my son was born was a scene where Peter and others who were fishing were called by Jesus as disciples. When I was meditating on the gospel, I was made aware about one thing. “What kind of a net does a fisher have to catch people?” “The net of a fisher of men” is spun with the thread of God’s love, and no one spills out of that net. Even if my son must go on carrying various burdens from now on, he will be firmly supported in the net of love and will never spill out of it.
Maybe Jesus was telling his disciples and us to become fishers with such a “net.” And when the resurrected Jesus told Peter and the others to go fish, perhaps it was to confirm whether the disciples had become of persons who were able to possess that “net.” In fact, the net was full of 153 large fish, but it had not been broken even though they had fished so much. Lord Jesus ascended to heaven after confirming all his disciples had become fishermen with a net of love that would never spill out. I was given this conscious awareness.
In this sense, to live according to the Lord, that is, to love God and to be a person who loves people, is to be fishers of men. “Be the one with a net which no one spills out.” That is the teaching of the Lord. Stretching this net to the fullest is essentially the sign of being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
You are all also “fishers of men” called by the Lord. A fisher with a net spun with the thread of God’s love and trust. You hold the well-spun net which no one spills out. Let us pray and work together so that each one of us will be able to connect each net to finally become the “Diocese of Chubu,” a “network” of God’s love.
The Rt Revd Francis of Assisi Renta Nishihara