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 May, 2010.
Today is the birthday of our granddaughter, Angelyn Hikaru Chon. Happy Birthday, Angelyn!
She was born three years ago. It was the happiest day in the world for her grandfather! She is our 1st grandchild & I have remained the happiest grandfather in the world ever since! Now I have two grandchildren, Angelyn and her little brother, Jayden Koji Chon. They are so cute. What a proud grandfather I am!
Konko Daijin taught us, "You should be aware that Kami protects you in the same way that you love your child." Of course, like all normal, proud parents, we have always thought of our three children as adorable. However, while they were growing up, I was very busy focusing on training myself at the Airaku Church and propagating this faith in the USA. So looking back on it, I was not aware of this teaching as I would like to have been. I really realize this teaching of our founder now, for the first time when I look at these wondrous little people who are my grandchildren. There is nothing more than precious than each and every child and grandchild. In them we see that the life of each person is a treasure.
My mentor, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo explained the founder's teaching above by quoting the following haiku:
"'Even when asleep, the parent continues waving the paper fan for a child's summer nap.' He interpreted this as a parent's true feeling. For Kami, whether we're asleep or awake, divine protection is continuous."
Since humans are Kami's beloved children, it's no wonder that the suffering of people doesn't meet with parental pleasure. When we are aware of the keenly felt purpose of Kami's love for people, we can understand the truth that sufferings are divine favors in disguise. We can learn to accept each and everything that happens with joy because it is Kami's doing to deepen our peaceful and joyful hearts. Through whatever happens and no matter how difficult it might be.
Recently a single mother who had been here before came to the church to worship. She brought her four month old baby daughter for her first church visit. I had been praying for both mother and child since the baby had been born. She had big eyes and the cutest face.
When I saw them, the words of "Congratulations" sprang from my lips. This was the infant's 1st mediation.
The mother handed the child to me & I sat in front of Kami's altar to pray. The infant was fretful, but when I recited, "Ikigami Konko Daijin Sama, Ikigami Konko Daijin Sama," she stopped fretting and gazed at me intently.
I gave my thanks to Kami for this new, young life by saying, "This precious little person was born to be of service to You Kami. Please protect and train her to become someone who will fulfill Your wish for this world."
As I said these words, a special emotion welled up in my heart. I was moved to tears.
I gave the beautiful baby back gently then wrote on the folded paper which contained grains of sacred rice, "Joy of Heaven & Earth" and gave it to the proud mother as well.
Each life is precious. Kami has great expectation for each human being who is given life in this world. We must open our mind and heart to understand that everything that happens is Kami's way of leading us to live in divine fulfillment with our whole being.
Let us respect every that happens today and in all the days we have in the future. Let us accept each event with pleasure and peace of mind. No matter how good or bad the things are in each day, let us develop our heavenly, earthly, orderly understanding of the nature of the universe. When we succeed, Kami's glory surely appears in our lives more and more and we can become a reflection of blessing beyond all expression.
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