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A Good Soaking 心地よい浸し

It seems that for the Japanese there is no greater leisure or relaxation than going to an onsen.
Almost every week at least one of my students tells me about their trip to the onsen. To tease, I often ask them if they went to the onsen because their bath at home was not working. They give me this odd look. For me, it’s not an odd question. Why would they want to get into a bath with a bunch of strangers when they can enjoy a quiet bath in the privacy of their own home.
“No Mr Miller. The onsen has special water. Special minerals. Makes you feel great.”
This despite the fact that a few years ago it was found that 90% of onsens were simply using tap water!

The gaijin community seems fairly divided on the issue. About half those I know love going to onsens. The other half don’t get it. I’m afraid, I’m one of the other half. I feel very close to my friends and I would sacrifice a great deal for them but I have absolutely no interest in getting into a bath naked with them. A huge step back for civilization.

Having said that, I really do ‘get’ why the Japanese and half the gaijin community enjoy the onsen. The most common words I hear explaining this enjoyment are sukkiri (refreshing), kimochi ii (feels good) and kenko ii (healthy).

It’s tempting to liken a dip in the onsen to baptism. In both, you’re washed clean, you feel new, refreshed and it’s good for your health – one physically, the other spiritually.

But baptism is so much more than a physical dipping (or soaking) in water and washing.

Baptism is an outward sign of an inward work of grace.

Baptism is a symbol of death and resurrection – through an act of confession it symbolises death to and repentance from the sinful way we once lived; and it symbolises our belief in rebirth into a new life in Jesus and the grace He has begun to work in our lives.


Our key passage today is Romans 6 v 3-14:

Here we see the confession and the belief that Paul writes about to the Romans regarding salvation.

3Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

もちろん、絶対にそんなことはありません。 罪を犯さないでいられるようになったのに、なおも罪を犯し続けてよいでしょうか。私たちがクリスチャンになり、バプテスマ(洗礼)を受けてキリスト・イエスの体の一部となった時に、罪の支配力は打ち破られてしまったのです。 すなわち、キリスト・イエスの死によって、あなたがたの罪深い性質は打ち砕かれ、力を失ったのです。 4罪を愛する古い性質は、キリスト様が死なれた時、
バプテスマによって、キリスト様と共に葬り去られました。 そして、父なる神が、栄光の力でキリスト様を復活させてくださった時、あなたがたは、キリスト様のすばらしい新しいいのちを与えられ、そのいのちに生きる者となりました。

5あなたがたはキリスト様の体の一部として、キリスト様が死なれた時、いわば、いっしょに死んだのです。 そして今は、キリスト様の新しいいのちをいただいており、やがてキリスト様と同じように復活するのです。 6あなたがたの古い邪悪な欲望は、キリスト様といっしょに十字架につけられました。 罪を愛する部分は、打ち砕かれ、致命傷を負いました。 それは、罪を愛する体が、もはや罪の支配を受けず、二度と罪の奴隷にならないためです。 7罪に対して死んでしまえば、どんな罪の誘惑や力からも自由にされるはずだからです。

8罪を愛する古い性質が、キリスト様といっしょに「死んだ」のですから、確かにあなたがたは、キリスト様の新しいいのちを共有しているのです。 9キリスト様は死人の中から復活し、もう二度と死ぬことはありません。 死には、もはやキリスト様を支配する力がないのです。 10キリスト様は、罪の力にとどめを刺すために、ただ一度死なれました。 しかし今では、神様との絶えることのない交わりの中に、永遠に生きておられます。

11ですから、あなたがたの古い罪の性質を、罪に対して死んだもの、反応しなくなったものとみなしなさい。 そして、その代わりに、私たちの主イエス・キリストによって、神様に対して生きる者、敏感に応答する者となりなさい。12これからはもう、あなたがたの短命な体を罪の支配にゆだねてはいけません。 罪深い欲望に従ってはいけません。 13体のどんな部分をも、罪を犯すための悪の道具にしてはいけません。 むしろ、自分自身??あなたがたの全肢体??を、完全に神様にささげなさい。 なぜなら、あなたがたは、死人の中から生かされた者であり、神様の思いのままに使っていただく道具として、神様の良い目的に役立とうと願っているからです。 1
4罪は、二度とあなたがたを支配しません。 なぜなら、あなたがたはもう、おきて〔このおきてを手段として、罪はあなたがたを奴隷にしたのです〕に束縛されてはおらず、神様の恵みとあわれみの下にあって、自由の身となっているからです。

Again, baptism is a symbol of death and resurrection – through an act of confession it symbolises death to and repentance from the sinful way we once lived; and it symbolises our belief in rebirth into a new life in Jesus and the grace He has begun to work in our lives.
Baptism is an outward sign of an inward work of grace.

It expresses our repentance and it symbolises God’s grace.



Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John adds, “By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.” (John 7 v 37,38)

祭りの最後の一番大切な日に、イエスは大声で群衆に語りかけました。 「だれでも、のどが渇いているなら、わたしのところへ来て飲みなさい。 38わたしを信じれば、心の奥底からいのちの水の川が流れ出ると、聖書(旧約)に、はっきり書いてあるでしょう!」

As those who are being baptised today make their confession in faith and step out in newness of life, they do so, not on their own but with the “living water” of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. The Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus – will be their Comforter, their Guide, their Strength, their Illuminator of the Word and their Seal of salvation.


They also are baptised with the full support of the church – their spiritual family here at Minoh International Church. As they are baptised amongst us, we all make a commitment to care for their spiritual welfare and to help them grow to maturity in the Faith.


This is so much more than the humble onsen, even for those who are great fans of onsens.

Prayer for the candidates.