Hello, Everyone! I hope you are all enjoying good health and in excellent spirits. Thank you very much for attending this first service for the month September.
As you know, the most important service in the 13-year life of this worship place will take place in less than 2 months from now. I'm speaking, of course, of our dedication of the Konko Church of Chicago on Sunday, November 1st. The Opening Ceremony will be held at the Doubletree Hotel and last week my wife Kanako and I went to meet with their staff. This was the first time for Kanako to visit that hotel. The conference service manager showed us the ballroom on the 12th floor we had reserved our celebration. The day was cloudy but we still had a fine view from that lofty height. It was clear that if we had been able to see the skyscrapers of downtown, the view would be gorgeous. I don't think we could have gotten a better room in Chicago for our event. As we talked I felt, "How blessed we are to use this beautiful ball room. Kami always seems to be working for us more than we expect."
In January there was the New Chicago Japanese American Association's New Year's celebration at the Holiday Inn and due to heavy snow there had some problems of parking. We'd also have to change rooms for a Taiko performance there. So NCJAA decided to look for another place for next year New Year's celebration and found this beautiful ballroom of the Doubletree Hotel. When I came here for the first time I felt, "I really would like to use this ball room for our Opening Ceremony too."
It took a long twelve years to establish this church in Chicago. But the wait was worth it. We will celebrate the opening of our new church at the Doubletree in this same year when the Konko Faith celebrates the 150th anniversary of our founder's receiving the Divine Call all around the world.
To me this is proof that when we try to manifest the Divine Reminder into our daily lives, by that I mean, by deepening our grateful, caring heart full of harmony and joy through everything that happens in our daily lives, whatever happens, no matter how hard it might be, Kami's glory will appear and everything will be arranged by Kami more than we expect. We have never given it up establishing a church in Chicago in spite of the challenges. Instead we always have believed that Kami would arrange the best outcomes for us at the proper time.
Sir Edmond Hilary was the first European to climb Mt. Everest. His first attempt failed. Worse yet, some of those accompanying him lost lives. In a media interview after returning to England in failure, he held up a picture of Mt. Everest and said, "Mt. Everest will never become higher, but I will become bigger."
He never gave his dream up. He prepared more intensely and then in 1953 he became the first human outside of Tibet to reach the top of Mt. Everest. Like Sir Edmond, let us never give up. Instead let us believe that whatever happens in our lives is Kami's doing. Let us cherish and respect each and every thing that happens to us with a great pleasure that deepens and enriches our heart. When we do that Kami's glory will surely appear and our efforts will be blessed every time more than we hope to expect.
As for KC-Chicago, almost all necessary steps to establish this new church have been completed now. We opened a church bank account on August 23. With that great event I have realized how steadily Kami has been working very hard to arrange everything for establishment of this church in Chicago. The only thing we need to focus on now is to join together to have the best Opening Ceremony possible. If we do, I believe this will be a celebration, of which Kami the most pleased.
We are expecting to welcome some 100 people to celebrate establishing our new church in Chicago. One third of them will be guests from out-of town. They will include ministers and believers from Japan, Canada, the US West & East Coast and even Brazil. We anticipate two thirds will be believers and friends from the Chicago area.
To be ready we must continue our journey of deepening our grateful and caring hearts. Fill them with harmony and joy, awake or asleep. Accept everything that happens between now and then as Kami's revelation of Divine Working each and every moment like our founder. If this it will be quite out of the question for us to get angry, blame others or complain. It will be a gage for each of us to measure how deeply we have developed our heart. By using these self-examination points each and every moment we can prepare for our Opening Ceremony with united hearts. We can look forward to a celebration filled with Wagakokoro; grateful, caring hearts filled with the harmony and joy of all believers and friends who will thoughtfully join us in this monumental blessing.
Twelve years ago just after opening the Konko Propagation Hall of Chicago I had a divine dream. I woke up around 2:00 am filled with profound emotion. I was so moved that I couldn't do anything but pray in front of the new altar to my heart's content.
In the dream our Principal Mediator said to me, "After a while (That means after you endure everything for a while) one third of the Chicagoans will come here to worship. Eight out of ten adults will rouse themselves to support the Chicago church, blessing us all."
I sincerely believe that those who freely join this celebration will be representatives of those true Chicagoans. We want to welcome them to a celebration surrounded with joy and happiness beyond any barriers of race and religion or anything else, whatever.
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