Good morning everyone! Thank you for joining us in prayer at the September Monthly Service of Taiheiyo Church.
In the past few weeks, parts our country have been beaten or threatened by massive hurricanes. First Harvey, a category-4 hurricane hit the State of Texas on Aug 24. Harvey was the first major hurricane to hit land in the US in more than a decade. The last major ones were Katrina and Wilma, in 2005. What was unique about Harvey was that it was the wettest on record in the continental US. There was 40 to 50 inches of rain in a matter of a few days. This is why the damage estimates were upwards of $70 billion.
By comparison, Hurricane Iniki, which hit Kauai in September 1992, caused $1.8 billion in damages. Of course there is the inflation factor, but if you consider that 5,000 homes were damaged by Iniki, versus the hundreds of thousands of homes that were flooded out by Harvey, you can see how much more destructive Harvey was. Currently Florida is bracing for Hurricane Irma, the fourth major hurricane during this year’s busy hurricane season.
The Ofudesaki, Part VI:91 reads, “In this world landslides, thunder, earthquakes, and great winds are all from the anger of Tsukihi.”
Hurricanes, while not specifically mentioned in the verse, can be considered a natural disaster of great winds and thunderstorms. We were just reading this verse the other day on the daily FB sermons, around the time that Hurricane Harvey hit. It made me wonder, what is it that constitutes a hurricane?
I looked on the Internet and found that hurricanes are basically huge storms that form over oceans, and there are three basic ingredients necessary for a hurricane to form. 1) Warm water – 80 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. In cooler waters, violent storms simply will not evolve. 2) Air that quickly cools as it rises, 3) Winds that continuously blow in the same direction. When these things are combined and are sustained, a tropical cyclone is formed. The warm evaporated water vapor is like the “gasoline” that fuels the storm and it rises upward, cooling the ocean in the process.
The warm vapor creates low pressure, which causes wind to begin to spiral inward toward the center. The strong winds then cause even more rapid evaporation from the ocean, grabbing the water vapor and sending it up into the sky to form thunderclouds as it condensates, which results in heavy rainfall. This vicious cycle intensifies as it travels across the ocean, but eventually, hurricanes die off as they move over cooler waters or land, and cannot sustain the amount of evaporation necessary to fuel the storm. However, it doesn’t take long for terrible damage is done once the hurricane touches down on a town or city.
If we look deeper into the same three ingredients, we realize that they are really all aspects of God’s complete providence:
- Warm seawater = The combination of Omotari-no-Mikoto and Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto. When the sun hits the ocean in the summer months, the temperature rises to 80 degrees or higher.
- The cycle of evaporation & precipitation, i.e., the rise & fall of moisture. In the world, this is the providence of Kumoyomi-no-Mikoto.
- The last ingredient, strong winds continuously blowing in the same direction, is the providence of Kashikone-no-Mikoto.
But these three phenomena generally don’t occur at the same time. According to meteorologists, the Atlantic hurricane season spans six months; from June 1 through the end of November, and this year appears to be another busy year for tropical storms and hurricanes, similar to the past two years. It’s predicted that we could see upwards of 8 hurricanes in 2017. We had 7 last year, but only 2 in 2013. 3 in 2009, but 15 back in 2005. So year by year there is a wide range in the number of hurricanes that develop. That’s just hurricanes, what about the number of earthquakes, wildfires, landslides, and tsunamis?
If all of these natural disasters occur as a result of God’s regret and anger, what is causing that anger? It is because the minds of the world are rampant and doing as they please to others, only thinking about themselves without understanding God’s heart and without realizing that not only are we brothers and sisters, but each one of our bodies is a part of God.
Today, we are honoring the memories of the predecessors of Taiheiyo Church, who found their faith in God the Parent and devoted their lives to the Path. In Tenrikyo, “The Path” not only refers to one’s faith by using the metaphor of a road, but it also refers to the way we should conduct ourselves daily – the way we try to live in accordance with the intention of God, this is also the Path.
Let us continue the efforts of those who have gone before us, and accompany our prayers to them today with a personal vow to follow the Divine Model of Oyasama as they did, to the best of our abilities.