Thank you for attending the Konko Church of Chicago's 2010 New Year's Day Ceremony.
2009 was an especially epoch-making year for us. My family & I have been in Chicago for thirteen years dedicating ourselves to a missionary work focused on the teaching that says, ‘Opening this Way of Faith depends upon Wagakokoro; hearts grateful and caring full of harmony and joy.'
The Konko Church celebrated the 150th Anniversary of its establishment around the world in ‘09. As our contribution to this great event our Propagation Hall became the Konko Church of Chicago through Kami's Divine will. I was officially named head-minister of the new Konko Church of Chicago by our Principal Mediator as of April 9th. The Konko Church of Chicago was incorporated as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation on July 20th, and we held a Dedication Ceremony of the new church on Nov. 1, 2009. It was a memorable occasion & I was overwhelmed by the awesome workings of Kami. Whenever I think of it those feelings of awe, gratitude and joy well up in my heart.
Today we welcome another New Year. We have a brand new start. The New Year is the perfect time to decide what we should use the next 365 days for to be of great service to Kami and people of Chicago.
Last June when I sought Mediation of our Principal Mediator as to what kind of faith I should have, he wrote on an ornate piece of paper, "The Way of Kami and Human."
I have prayed to Kami since our Dedication Service that any problems people face could be solved through divine mediation at the Konko Church of Chicago. But to people who come here I have also stressed that, like me, they should deepen their faith by dealing with their troubles in such a way as to learn how to agree with the Divine heart of Kami. May this church grow to be of service in establishing a community of peaceful and joyful hearts so that this Way of uniting Kami and humans will be manifested throughout Chicago and beyond 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. Without you, the human factor, Kami's purposes are not fulfilled. As Kami revealed to Konko Daijin, "Through Konko Daijin, Kami has been revealed to the world."
So how did Konko Daijin reveal Kami? And will what kind of believers have revealed Kami ever since? They are the ones who have practiced faith daily in everything that happens to them in order to understand Kami's heart more perfectly by doing their best to agree with that Divine heart of Kami.
I believe Kami's heart is clearly described in the teaching, "Heavenly, Earthly and Orderly Nature of the Universe."
Konko Daijin agreed when he taught us, "It is essential to have a heart like that of the universe, or to emulate the heavenly, earthly and orderly 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 keeps silent like the placid surface of the earth. No matter how filthy we humans perceive something to be, the earth does not say, "I hate foul smelling things like this,' or "Dirty things like this are out!"
Moreover, it isn't just silent. It takes things that are repulsive to us, into itself for nourishment. We throw out organic garbage and the earth makes it into compost. The earth receives urine and body waste as fertilizer, without it our gardens would be far less productive.
In the orderly nature of the universe there is nothing more faith-filled and meticulous than this. Wouldn't we be in trouble if the sun had an attitude something like, "I'm a plain tired today. So I'm going to take a break." It's working without losing a minute or a second.
Let us turn over a new leaf of faith as we turn over the first page of a new calendar. From now on let us receive and respect everything that happens each and every moment as Kami's doing. Like our receptive world, let us develop our own heavenly, earthly and orderly nature of the universe... whatever happens ... no matter how hard it might appear at first glance.
As an expression of this spirit I would like to share my New Year's poems for 2010:
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