Hello, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying good health and in excellent spirits. Thank you very much for attending today's service. This is our second for the month December, and it is the last service for this year. Even more significantly, it is also the last service for the first decade of the Third Millennium. How blessed I have been throughout all three of these time intervals!
Looking back over the 10 years since our calendars changed from the 1900's to the 2000's I cannot help but feel how Kami wonderfully has arranged everything. Do you remember how it all began? Remember Y2K & the panic all computers around the world would stop at midnight on New Year's morning. Can you believe that on that new morning the World Trade Center buildings were still standing, that we would be at war the whole decade & no African American had EVER been in the top jobs of the US government.
These 10 years were filled with personal challenges & opportunities as well. Perhaps the most powerful things I lived through were three major illnesses. First, I had a perforated duodenal ulcer, then, one year later I was in the hospital for another 5 days when it flared up again at this time of year. Seven years after that, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. In response to each challenge I directed my whole heart toward Kami most intensely. Through treatment & recovery I came to feel closer and closer to the presence and strength of Kami. My constant prayers were always, "Thank you Kami-sama for giving me this faith training." Because of these illnesses I grew to accept them as Kami's desire to make me a genuine mediator. As for the events of this year I'm sure you'll all agree the greatest are the Konko Faith's celebrating the 150th Anniversary of its establishment & the Konko Church of Chicago becoming a reality. Konko Daijin taught us, "Wait till the tide comes."
I believe the Konko Church of Chicago was established at this time through Kami's wish. The way it appears to me, we have been in Chicago for twelve years dedicating ourselves to a missionary work that authenticates the teaching, ‘Opening this Way of Faith depends upon Wagakokoro; hearts grateful and caring, in harmony and joy.' These two great events make Kami and our Founder rejoice.
I'm sure you'll agree that on Sunday, Nov. 1 both Kami and Konko Daijin watched with admiration, at the memorable Dedication Ceremony of our new Konko Church of Chicago. This event too was filled with the awesome workings of Kami. Kami arranged everything beyond all measure.
That brings us to the final month of this great year. Since our Dedication I have prayed to Kami that any problems that people face will be solved through divine mediation. But I have also asked that people, who come here, like me, will learn to deepen their faith because of their troubles to agree the heart of Kami… which brings us to the future.
May the blessings of this decade, together with those of this year and month inspire this church to fulfill Kami's wish and establish an era of peaceful and joyful hearts in all people. Thus, the Way of Kami and humans will be manifested throughout Chicago and to the whole world.
Our Principal Mediator strongly wishes for this Way of Kami and humans to be revealed in the world, NOW. In the message he gave at the 150th Anniversary Ceremony he literally said in Japanese, "Thinking over Kami's wishes for the establishment of the Konko Faith and our Founder's faith to accept the Divine Call with sincerity, we would like to be of service to realize the Way of Kami and human in our daily lives that Kami is Kami because of human and human is human because of Kami."
This means that the Way of Kami and humans is an interactive relationship between. Without you, the human factor, Kami is not realized. As Kami revealed to Konko Daijin, "Through Konko Daijin, Kami has been revealed to the world."
Then how did Konko Daijin reveal Kami? And will what kind of believer since has revealed Kami? They are those who practice faith to understand Kami's heart and do their best to agree with that Divine heart of Kami. I believe Kami's heart is clearly described in the saying, "Heavenly, Earthly and Orderly Nature of the Universe."
That would make a great topic for our sermon for the beginning of the New Year. After all, it is a new start toward the Konko Faith's second 150 years around the world as well as the 1st full year of the new Konko Faith - Chicago. In 11 days we will welcome a New Year of 2010 and the start of the 2nd decade of the Third Millennium. Let us do our best to receive and respect everything that happens to us each and every moment as Kami's doing in developing our heavenly, earthly and orderly nature of the universe. No matter what happens and no matter how hard it might be.
Through this kind of faith practice may my heart become unbreakable like Kami's! I don't find this easy to do. But we only progress by devoting ourselves to moving steadily toward that goal. When we succeed in this together, Kami's glory will surely appear and we can manifest the Way of Kami and Human in Chicago and in this world. Thank you!
[Return to Sermons]