Good Morning, everyone! As always, I thank you for attending today's monthly service for October 2019. I hope each of you is enjoying good health & excellent spirits.
The 10th Anniversary Celebration of KC Chicago will come soon, within a month. The closer it gets, the more exciting it is to realize how much of Kami's wish is being fulfilled for this precious event.
When I last saw Rev. Nobuharu Uzunoe, my parent minister in the USA, he asked me what my wish would be for this celebration & how I would celebrate it. He also told me that it would not be good to just have a festival.
So, first I would like to extend my appreciation to everyone who has helped me deepen my faith and supported me while I served Kami & people in Chicago. It was Revs. Nobuharu & Michie Uzunoe who invited me to be an associate minister at KC Portland. Thanks to their prayers & great guidance I am now serving Kami & people here in Chicago.
Even so, more than that, I would like to express my gratitude to my parents & for the faith they had. Their faith has led me to be who I am today. That is why I had an earnest desire to publish a book on my parents' faith, both in English & Japanese. It would be the commemorative publication for this 10th anniversary celebration. The title of the book is "All is Divine Love."
Let me quote from the book's introduction:
"Konkokyo is celebrating the 160th Anniversary of The Divine Call all over the world this year 2019. We cannot help but feel the Founder's earnest wish as he has stated: 'I am aspiring for blessings to embrace the world with this faith.'"
The year before his passing our Founder received this revelation:
"No one is aware of the blessings of Heaven & Earth which enable people to live. Kami shall have people become aware of the blessings of Heaven & Earth by having Konko Daijin be born through out the world where the sun shines, in every country, without exception."
What are the blessings of Heaven & Earth? It is to know that everything that happens is Kami's sacred doing. It is to realize that 'All is Divine Love.' My father, Michinori Takeuchi, throughout his lifetime sought to find the contents of 'All is Divine Love,' and then he had practiced his beautiful way of faith in accordance with that content. The faith of my father & mother has greatly influenced who I am today. And there is no way I can express enough my deep appreciation to them.
Their faith has been presented in English at the 2014 KCNA Conference in Toronto for the Spirituality Bridge. And in Japanese, it was shared during the 10th Memorial Anniversary of my father in 2018.
The Konko Church of Chicago is celebrating an anniversary of 10 years in this commemorative year for Konkokyo. I wanted to introduce their faith to the world in a commemorative publication for our 10th Anniversary in both English and Japanese. And how it would come to be published is an interesting divine drama.
Every Sunday the newly-wed couple, Alex & Lanna, have joined us for our Wagakokoro Day services. Alex has excellent computer skills. Also he has experience publishing online. Since I wished to publish this book online, Alex has greatly helped through the self-publishing company, Lulu.
Recently I have felt strongly that every happening is Kami's sacred doing. Through Kami's great arrangement this book has now been so won-der-ful-ly published. I'm amazed. It's much better than I ever expected.
For this 10th anniversary, rather than any superficial matters as a large number attending, or a gorgeous reception, or other things, I really wished to fill this 10th Anniversary Celebration with our deepening faith, that is the peace & joy of all those attending.
As for our 5th Anniversary Celebration those whom I got acquainted with in Chicago kindly joined us. We had over 100 people attending 5 years ago. However, this time I wish our 10th Anniversary Celebration to be mostly believers of the Konko Faith. And I expect young members in Chicago & from other states to join us this time.
To welcome this celebration I have been focusing on developing my faith. I have tried to get rid of self (my self-interest), and to realize I have no power, no ability, & no talent before Kami. That is why I have left everything up to Kami. In this way (with Kami's guidance) I'm doing my best to prepare and welcome the anniversary celebration.
We now estimate around 60 people will join us. The size of the event may be smaller than 5 years ago. That puts limits on how I have begun to think of this 10th anniversary. However, through recent developments and thoughtful Divine arrangements I've felt Kami is requesting that I should think 'without any limits.' In other words, not to put limits on how I think of this precious event.
The third successor of our Founder, The Most Reverend San-Dai Konko-sama once said, "The other side is open." He knew Kami's workings have no limitation; there are no limits. So now I have great expectations for this celebration. I cannot help but be excited about what Kami will reveal through our 10th Anniversary Celebration.
Every time I offer prayers, not just in front of the altar but in my heart at any place or any time, my primary prayer is:
"This unworthy self that I am, prays through our Founder's divine virtue & his mediation, so please Tenchi Kane No Kami, listen to my prayers. May I respect each & every happening as Kami's sacred doing gracefully, brightly and thankfully like our Founder & my mentor, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo did. And will Kami's wish for our 10th Anniversary Celebration be fulfilled. For welcoming the 10th Anniversary, let me develop such unbreakable peace & joy in my heart so this true way of Konko will spread to the whole world."