Hello, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying good health and in excellent spirits. Thank you very much for attending today's service. It is our first monthly service for December, the 12th month of 2009. Twelve is a very auspicious number. Here in the west things are commonly sold by the dozen, which is 12 items. In Asia, there are 12 animals in the eastern calendar cycle. And around the world there are 12 numbers on our analog clocks, dividing the 24 hours into the daylight & darkness, which each day has. But to my family & me, 2009 is 12 even most because this marks the 12th year that we have lived in Chicago.
Kami has wonderfully arranged for me personally this year. I visited our Headquarters twice this year to extend my appreciation to Kami and our Principal Mediator in Japan.
As you know our Principal Mediator officially named me head-minister of the new Konko Church of Chicago as of Thursday, April 9, this past spring. His hand-written note of certification arrived some time toward the end of May. I was moved to tears seeing this answer to a lifetime of prayer & faith training written to me personally in Konko-sama's own handwriting.
I had already planned to go to Headquarters in the middle of November and attend the commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of our founder's receiving the "Divine Call". In February I found out a series of seminars about the 150th Anniversary had been scheduled from May through July for head-ministers from all over the world. Because our certification when it did, I was invited to attend the third seminar with other head-ministers from the USA, Canada, Hawaii, Korea Brazil and some from Japan.
Besides having had a meaningful, insightful time during the seminar this visit gave me the chance to express my heart-felt gratitude to our Principal Mediator for his designation to name me as head-minister of KC Chicago. I asked him what guidelines I should have guiding my faith in from now on Chicago, when I sought his mediation. He replied by writing on a fancy paper, "The Way of Kami and Human."
Back at home on Sunday, Nov. 1st, we had an epoch-making Dedication Ceremony of the new Konko Church of Chicago. Kami arranged everything for it beyond all human measure. It was studded with the awesome workings of Kami. The service and reception were so overwhelming I felt as though I had dreamed it all. It's not exaggeration to say that Kami's powerful glory appeared in that celebration. In it I could feel the awesome power of the Divine Reminder. Then I could fly for Japan on Nov. 10 to attend the 150th Anniversary Ceremony in our Headquarters as I had planed.
The actual date of Konko Daijin's receiving the Divine Call 150 years ago was November 15, according to the Gregorian calendar. The 150th Anniversary Ceremony was held at Konko Headquarters on that same date this year. Airaku Church, my parent church in Japan, had planned a pilgrimage of more than 500 believers to attend the Headquarters ceremony and I decided to join them. I took an overnight bus to Osaka and arrived at our Main Worship Hall early in the morning on Nov. 12.
I extended my heart-felt appreciation to our Principal Mediator for having such a wonderful dedication ceremony of our new church in Chicago. Later that day I was told there were to be scheduled seminars on Nov. 14 and 15, similar to those held during the summer, for believers who had come to the 150th Anniversary Ceremony from abroad. I was very honored to be asked to join. 8 The 150th Anniversary Ceremony was gorgeous and sum 150,000 believers solemnly witnessed it together. The next morning three ministers from Brazil sought mediation from Konko-sama and asked him what the guidelines for their faith should be from now on. They each received the same teaching from our Principal Mediator hand written on fancy paper, "Heavenly, Earthly and Orderly Nature of the Universe."
In order to manifest the Way of Kami and Human, it is vitally important to emulate the nature of the universe. The heavenly nature of the universe is characterized by inexhaustible generosity; it is a natural, limitless giving. The earthly nature of the universe is to accept everything calmly; it's to keep silent like the surface of the earth. No matter how filthy things are, the earth doesn't say, "I hate foul smelling things like this' or "such dirty things are out." It doesn't just keep silent, but it takes such things in for self-nourishment. The orderly nature of the universe ? there is nothing more faithful and exact than this. Wouldn't we be in trouble if the sun said something like this, "I'm a bit tired today, so I'll take a break." It's working without losing a minute or a second.
From now on let us receive and respect everything that happens each and every moment as Kami's doing to develop our heavenly, earthly and orderly nature of the universe, whatever happens and no matter how hard it might be. For those who practice this faith to develop that nature of the universe, it is quite out of the question to achieve it through anger or by blaming others or complaining excessively. We can measure of how successfully we have developed our heart by realizing how quickly we get angry. Or by how quickly we blame others or being aware of how frequently we complain.
Next Sunday I would like to share some more significant intervals numbering 12 in this year's last service. In the mean time, may my heart be unbreakable like Kami's Divine, Eternal Heart! For me, this is no easy task. But let us together, continue to do our best, moving ever steadily toward that goal. When we succeed in this together, Kami's glory will surely appear and we can manifest the sacred Way of Kami and Human in this world. Thank you!
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