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 second monthly service for August 2010. Today I'd want to talk about surprise presents, or to put it into the words of faith, "unexpected Divine Blessings."
First, and most important surprise present; today is our second son Daichi John Takeuchi's birthday. Happy Birthday, Daichi! He was born fifteen years ago today on Aug. 22nd 1995 in Portland, OR.
He was a surprise and the greatest gift from Kami. More than ten years separate Daichi & his older brother, Mitsunori. We had just come to America the Sept. before. Because so many years had passed since Mitsunori was born, we thought our family of 4 was complete. So it was a complete surprise when we discovered another baby was "on the way." We have three lovely children, Hiroko, Mitsunori and Daichi. And if you're a parent, I don't have to convince you that there's nothing more precious than the arrival of each & every child. We see life's treasure in the arrival of each new person.
Looking back on these fifteen years, I can hardly count how often I've been encouraged by Daichi's presence. Even though I have not always been a perfect father he's grown up to be a warm-hearted, sincere person. What a proud father I am!
The other great surprise present I'd like to share with you was in our trip to Hawaii we've just returned from.
This year KCNA - KMH Joint Conference was held in Hawaii from Aug. 13 to 15. Daichi joined the Youth Camp on Aug. 10, so Daichi, my wife and I left for Hawaii together early. We had incredible time in Hawaii. Kami filled our entire week with awesome workings. For Daichi, I think this was a wonderful birthday present.
I'm tempted to tell you all about our experiences in Hawaii. But time doesn't permit sharing the details today. So we'll do that at the first monthly service in September. Today I want to share with you the short sermon that was asked to give in Hawaii. I gave that sermon before the Breakfast Prayer on the second day of the conference, Saturday, Aug. 14th.
Before saying our "Breakfast Prayer" together, I would like to share a few thoughts.
65 years ago the terrible war which began in these lovely islands, ended in the equally lovely islands of our heritage. Throughout today and tomorrow let us pray that we may contribute to the prosperity and safety of these two great countries we love so deeply; and peace for all people throughout the world.
It has been a long-cherished dream of my life to contribute to the creation of true, world peace. During my university days I joined radical student movements to try and bring peace and justice to our society and the world. I struggled to find the way to unite two ways to bring peace and justice to the world. One way is to fight together with people against any suppression and discrimination and to try to reform the world for the people. The other way is to have faith of total acceptance. I had to learn that acceptance of even the suppressed or isolated situation of people was also necessary for the nourishment of the heart. My heart was torn as I continued to struggle between those two ways of living.
Since then I have sought a more perfect answer to all my questionings. Finally Kami led me to find the proper way to human fulfillment. For me, I found it in one of our Founder's teachings to unite those two ways.
To my great surprise Konko Daijin spoke of this splendid way over 100 years ago. He taught us, "If people lose their belief in the teaching, ‘On this very day pray with a single heart. Divine blessings are within your grateful and caring heart in harmony and joy or your own peaceful and joyful heart,' the world will be in turmoil. The glory of Kami will be gone."
In other words, when people believe through daily practice every moment, the truth of, ‘On this very day pray with a single heart,' Divine blessings are within your own peaceful and joyful heart. This is the essence of the Divine Reminder, and by faithfully pursuing this path, the glory of Kami will appear and true world peace will be attained.
Kami's workings or appearance of Kami's glory definitely need to be the foundation in order to accomplish peace and justice throughout the world. When the entire human family is deeply committed to the peaceful and joyful heart of the world and that through Kami's glory human happiness and true world peace will become a reality.
Therefore I have been practicing this faith to develop peace and joy in my heart through everything that happens in my life to become a good example for the entire human family. No matter what happens and no matter how difficult it might be I will do my best to continue to deepen the peace and joy in my heart until it becomes an unbreakable... just like that of Kami. This way I hope I can be of real service to both Kami and humanity in Chicago... and beyond.
Then, we said the Breakfast Blessing, ate & enjoyed each other's company. So why don't we do the same. Let's finish the service, give thanks for the food & enjoy the delicious luncheon & fellowship that are waiting for us! And help us enjoy Daichi's birthday together.
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