Good morning! Happy Sunday in this New Week of Kami's blessings! Thank you very much for joining today's service. This is our monthly service for November 2020.
In my previous sermon for our Ikigami Konko Daijin Grand Ceremony I spoke of: Kami keenly wishing Konko Daijin to be born throughout the world, in every country without exception, in order to save the world right now in the midst of an unexpected illness called, coronavirus. And that Konko Daijin is the person who realizes the true blessings of Heaven & Earth and has a strong conviction that each & every happening is Kami's doing, or in other words, all is Divine Love. Since Konkokyo is the true light to brighten the world, I really believe people in the world will start to be aware of the true blessings of Heaven and Earth, and shall become interested in the Konko Faith. For in response to this light Konko Daijin will naturally appear one after another in the world.
Actually, for the last six months I newly received the e-mails of six young Americans (living in Illinois, Texas, Arizona, Florida & Missouri) who were interested in the Konko Faith. I have continued to exchange e-mails with each of them. Furthermore, it was my great honor for some to open themselves deeply to me.
One of them wrote: A good portion of my friends (as well as myself) are LGBT and I wanted to know what the faith says about that. I know in my heart that my sexual orientation is a blessing, but I have some friends who grew up in very Christian homes and have been scorned by their religion for being gay/transgender and I wanted to share my faith with them, but I didn't want to hurt them by bringing up any religious topics unless I can ensure them that their identities are fully accepted by that faith.
I answered: "All human beings are Kami's beloved children. Kami wishes each of them to have their lives fulfilled with Kami. All living things exist, because they are allowed to live. Without Kami's acceptance they cannot survive even a minute. This Kami respects each person's identity such as personality, character, preference and sexual orientation, etc.
I know at least one head-minister of a Konko Church in Japan who declared he was gay. Some time ago there was an article about the symposium of LGBT, which included him among other Konko ministers in the Konko newspaper, the official newspaper of the Konkokyo organization."
Then I received this reply: As far as LGBT, what I can say is that everyone's situation is different, but at least in my circle of friends there are a number of us who were forced into Christianity as kids and it is very hard to embrace a faith that says who you are is wrong! It has made many LGBT people feel like religion on the whole is something that is against them. I knew that the Konko faith wouldn't be that way, but it's nice to have the information you shared to back myself up and to put my friends' worries to rest.
As I mentioned above, there was an article in the Konko newspaper about LGBT. Actually, it was an interview of two Konko ministers who were coming out as LGBT and the president & vice-president of the Konkokyo LGBT association. Through that article I would like to share with all of you how the Konko Faith thinks of LGBT and what the Konkokyo does for LGBT.
The Konkokyo LGBT association was approved as one of the various organizations of Konkokyo and established in February, 2018. Do you know what LGBT is? LGBT is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. It is sometimes used as a generic term for sexual minorities.
Based on our founder's view of humanity that "All human beings are Kami's beloved children," the association wishes for the happiness of all people and aims to eliminate prejudice and discrimination in society through the dissemination of information and the creation of a network of those concerned.
We can say that our founder lived in a world of diversity. He respected the "life" of each person at the place of Mediation, listening to their wishes and worries, and flexibly giving enlightening words for each person to be connected to Kami. That attitude has continued to this day. Konkokyo faces each and every one through Mediation. Each person's identity is different, and their worries are all different. The mediator will listen to what is inside each worshipper and seek Kami's thoughts about it together. So Konkokyo can be said to be a religion of ultimate diversity. At the core of its mission is to be close to each person with their different values, to live together with faith, to connect with Kami, and to help each other.
I would like to give an example: Konko Daijin teaches the way for the prosperity of your family and descendants. One of his disciples, Shima Senda did not have a child. She was worried about that and was told by our founder, "You will be blessed with children, so keep practicing faith sincerely." One day she went to see our founder about his promise to bless her with children. Then Konko Daijin told her, "But you already have children. You are saving many people and giving joy. And you are blessed without the pains of childbirth. Your disciples, they are your children." With this, she just cried in gratitude.
As a society of diversity, this is how I think of its richness. Piano sonatas and violin sonatas both are beautiful & wonderful, but a society of diversity is likened to an Orchestra. Many different musical instruments can be played together to produce wonderfully harmonious sound.
In this diverse world we live in Konko Daijin should truly arise in all areas of society. Konkokyo has the true light for the whole world and shall brighten all parts of the globe, in all of its many diverse areas. Anyone and everyone can find the way for all human life to truly be happy and mutually fulfilled.
I really wish KC Chicago to become a place where each one of us will willingly respect the many diversities of people, not only sexual orientation but also race, nationality & culture, etc. and seek the way for mutual fulfillment.