Good morning everyone!
Thank you very much for attending the Tenchi Kane No Kami Grand Ceremony of our Konko Church of Chicago. I trust that you are all enjoying the best of health and good spirits this beautiful morning. It is a great pleasure to stand before you & see so many friendly faces and some new faces. My heart is filled with gratitude in welcoming all of you to today's ceremony.
Our founder, Konko Daijin taught that Tenchi Kane No Kami (Kami), the Divine Parent of the Universe sustains the life of everything in this Universe and keeps it in balance, but Kami especially loves and cares for human beings. They are the children of Kami. Kami's greatest wish is for all people to be happy and live productive, meaningful lives.
Tenchi Kane No Kami Grand Ceremony is our way of expressing our appreciation to Kami fo the rebirth of life we see all around us each spring. It is our expression of gratitude for the countless blessings we receive each day of our lives all year round. Furthermore it is a great opportunity for us to pause and reflect on how we can again find Kami wish us to fulfill individually and collectively in this world.
Studying our founder's life of faith now for more than 30 years I believe Kami's greatest wish for us human beings is most clearly stated in our Divine Reminder:
Ikigami Konko Daijin Tenchi Kane No Kami
Isshin ni negae
Okage wa waga kokoro ni ari
Kongetsu konnichi de tanomei
With all your heart.
Be one with Kami.
Kami's blessings begin within
Hearts grateful and caring,
In harmony and joy.
Look to Kami always,
Now and forever.
On this very day, pray.
A life grounded in the Divine Reminder is one that ordinary people like us can practice faithfully to receive divine blessings wherever we are and whenever we are in need. Grateful and caring hearts filled with harmony and joy, or to put it another way, the peaceful and joyful heart is the essential foundation for human happiness. We need to find Kami;s purpose in everything that happens to us in order to develop such peace and joy in our hearts whatever. We must seek the wisdom in this way regardless of what happens in our lives, no matter how difficult it might be. Konko Daijin received a revelation around the same time as he received the Divine Reminder that said, "Everything that happens is Tenchi Kane No Kami's doing. This includes major upheavals."
When we really internalize this and do our best to deepen our faith, we find the awful error of giving in to anger. The futility of blaming others or complaining to every little obstacle that comes our way. Moreover, through each and every happening we can understand Kami's purpose for us.
Today our son, Mitsunori and I officiated this ceremony. That is because I found no other ministers would be able to come to do so.. Especially I wish to have this kind of the Grand Ceremony to be officiated by as many ministers as possible and have a sermon from one of the officiating ministers besides me. This time no other ministers came due to their other duties. It was against my intention. However, it was Kami's doing for this ceremony. Then I came up with an idea for this celebration.
Our older son, Mitsunori, has just returned from Japan. It was his first visit there in 10 years. His visit in Japan lasted three weeks. He visite his surviving grandparents & they were all pleased to see him beyond measure.
He also immersed himself in faith training at our family's home church of Airaku for 10 days. He went to Japan to find Kami's purpose for him. He thought himself that this trip had been for finding what he would have to do from now on. I called it as a trip of finding and fulfilling Kami's wish toward him. Therefore I believe Kami worked very hard for him and he vividly realized many special workings of Kami during his trip in Japan.
I asked Mitsunori to give a special address about his faith experience in Japan at todays ceremony. He did that, and more. He officiated this ceremony with heart-felt sincerity. As you heard, Mitsunori's trip turned out to be a most important foundation for his life of faith. It was the realization that he had no power, no ability and no talent before Kami and didn't have practiced faith at all until then. He came back to Chicago with great enthusiasm that he would do his best to train himself to deepen his faith from now on. This ceremony, then is not only a renewal for the Konko Church of Chicago, but a new start for Mitsunori's life of faith too. I admire Mitusnori's bravery to give his faith speech that everyone usually feels very hard to express. As a Konko minister even more than as a proud father, I believe this is Kami's intention for this celebration as well.
I feel now more and more the need to accept and respect everything that happens in our life as Kami's doing in order to develop peace and joy in our heart and to take another step forward in our life of faith from one moment to the next.
I sit and pray at this mediation place everyday as many hours as possible. But this is your church. It's here for your nurture, growth and convenience. Please visit here when the time suits you, be it casual visit or in your direst need. Together we'll seek for the essential way of human happiness.
If you prefer to practice faith together with others we have services Sunday at 11:00 am. We have regular monthly services on the first and third Sunday of the month and "WaGa Kokoro Day" services every other Sunday. Please come again and again to any and all services. Join hearts together in faith and seek practice faith so together we can deepen and polish our hearts until they reflect the infinite peace and joy of Kami's Divine heart. The invitation is open. Join in making this place and your gift of life a great service to Kami and humanity. Let it begin, we pray, right here in Chicago... oh Kami, through your infinite blessings, pray... let it begin with each and every one of us. Thank you!
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