Hello, Everyone! I hope you are all in good health and excellent spirits. Thank you very much for attending today's second service for the month of August. For today's sermon, I want to share with you a new appreciation I have recently gained of how much Kami is always working for us!
As I have told you in earlier sermons, on Saturday, August 1, 2009 I was sitting in the mediation place in my new responsibility as headminister of the Konko Church of Chicago. I suddenly realized that it was on that same date thirteen years before that I had set up and began mediation in this worship hall, seeking to be of service to Kami and the people of Chicago. Looking back on those years so many, MANY, images came flooding into my mind's eye, and I was moved to tears. I realized how gently and smoothly Kami had rewarded our efforts in building the foundations of this new church.
The Konko Church of Chicago was incorporated as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation and that status was recorded in the Recorder of Deeds of Cook County on July 31, 2009. It is now one of the standing member churches of the Konko Churches of North America. We will officially preparing to hold the Opening Ceremony for the Konko Church of Chicago on Sunday, November 1, 2009. As these amazing things happened I could not help but consider, "What should be the purpose to establish the Konko Church of Chicago?"
I seemed to get a partial answer the very next day. I attended the meeting where Mrs. Sachiko Masuoka, a victim atomic bomb survivor, gave a heart-rending account of her experiences. Listening to her stories and realizing what a horrible that tragedy she and all these others had endured. I had a strong determination that this church should contribute to build true peace throughout the world.
As you know two atomic bombs instantly killed thousands of people in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII. Many more people were left who suffered from radiation sickness for years later. Sadly, they are but a single, grave tragedy in a long human history of "power vs. power" which never seems to change. We seem humans unable to develop our hearts to overcome this historical carnage on our own. Then what should Konko Church of Chicago do to contribute to establishing a genuine world peace?
Konko Daijin gave the teaching to Mr. Mitsugoro Ichimura, one of his followers: "If people lose their belief in, 'On this very day pray with a single heart.? Divine blessings are within your own grateful and caring heart full of harmony and joy,' the world will be in turmoil. The glory of Kami and the glory of parents will be gone."
In other words, by living out this statement daily in our lives, the glory of Kami will appear and true world peace will be attained. It is through the demonstration of Kami's glory by our faith and lives that we can help achieve the happiness this world definitely needs. This is the foundation on which to bring about true harmony in our homes and genuine peace in the world.
I believe a grateful and caring heart full of harmony and joy is the essential foundation for human happiness. Our founder taught, "Everything that happens is Kami's doing." By respecting everything that happened in his life with gratitude as Kami's doing, Konko Daijin provided us with a model. He deepened his grateful and caring heart full of harmony and joy step by step. In so doing he became a Divine Being and manifest Kami's glory.
Therefore respect for this process of life should be at the center of our brand new church, like our founder. It is the way we can achieve the most certain and the highest happiness as our inherence from the Divine Parent of the Universe. It is the way for us to live extraordinary lives in a very ordinary way and achieves real happiness.
In every prayer service, we recite the "Five Requests" and the "Five Practices."
Through these five practices we deepen our grateful and caring hearts full of harmony and joy with each and every happening in our lives. Our founder proved that each and everything that happens to us is Kami's doing. It is this process, which spiritually nourishes our lives. It is the divine arrangement for giving back Kami's gift of life to us in gratitude.
By respecting as Kami's doing every part of this daily processes of living, good or bad, we lead lives of living faith in and with Kami. In this way we can develop our heart step by step toward being full of harmony and joy through gratitude and caring. When we even try to do this, Kami bestows divine blessing on us as to show us we can develop our heart even though we so often fall short. Kami will be pleased most to see humans to putting forth their best effort to deepen their Wagakokoro peaceful-joyful-heart. By developing our grateful and caring heart full of harmony and joy, Kami's glory will appear. Then we can overcome the human history 'power vs. power' for the first time and create the Wagakokoro era.
When we believe that everything that happens is Kami's doing like our founder, it is quite out of the question for us to get angry, blame others or have complaints. It is gage to measure how deeply we have developed our heart by how soon we get angry, blame others or how frequently we complain.
I will do my best to continue my journey to deepening my grateful and caring heart full of harmony and joy through self-examining these each and every moment; awake or asleep & to reveal Kami's Divine Working each and every moment. That is our goal. We are to challenge and change the human history 'power vs. power' into to the era of Wagakokoro where Kami and people meet together in prayer, rejoice together in gratitude and delight together in mutual satisfaction.
[Return to Sermons]