Hello, everyone! Happy New Day! I hope you are all enjoying good health and excellent spirits. Thank you very much for attending today's service. This is the first monthly service in February 2011.
Those of you who attend our monthly services regularly will remember that for quite a while we have been taking a look at the Divine Nature (or Heart) of the Universe; and there is a good reason for this. You'll remember that last fall we were honored to welcome Rev. Tateo Suenaga as our guest speaker at our Ikigami Konko Daijin Grand Ceremony because his connecting flight to our home church of Airaku routed him through Chicago from Brazil to Japan.
After our service, Suenaga & I both attended the Ikigami Konko Daijin Grand Ceremony at Airaku, which was founded by our mentor, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo. Like our Konko Daijin's Divine Reminder, which is the prime teaching of the Konko Church, one of Rev. Otsubo's most important teachings is his revelation of the Heavenly, Earthly & Orderly Natures of the Heart of the Universe. We learned while we were there that Airaku Church would plan to study this teaching in great detail for the next 5 years as a basis for the church's ministry. And that is why I have concentrated my sermons mainly on this subject for the past several months. Then in one day last month, I had my own revelation of this Divine Nature of the Universe hit me as it never had before.
I turned 63 years old on Jan. 25, 2011. During the regular morning prayers that day I reflected on those preceding 63 years of my life. I suddenly realized that, taken in the context of where my life is today, there have been no useless matters happen in all that time ... at all.
Viewed through the perspective of the Heavenly/Earthly/Orderly Nature of the Universe, Kami has led me to the point where I am today! Each and everything suddenly I saw that every event leads directly to my ministry as the Mediator of the Konko Church of Chicago in service to Kami and people. And this responsibility fills me with awe because I don't have any superior power, talent or ability in doing anything than others.
Furthermore Kami has led me to believe profoundly in our Founder's revelation, "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."
Our founder Konko Daijin taught us, "It is essential to have a heart like that of the universe and try to be similar to the heavenly, earthly and orderly nature of the universe."
The heavenly nature of the universe is characterized by inexhaustible generosity. It is a natural way of limitless giving. It is the heart that can not help but pray silently for even those who hate you or speak against you. Through faith which broadens the world of praying together, helping each other and leading each other, there is no time to hear or speak ill of others. To those who blame you or complain of you, don't listen with your ears. Listen with your heart. And then you can't but pray for them. That is the way to practice the heavenly nature of the universe.
The earthly nature of the universe is to be calmly accepting of everything that happens to us. It is to remain silent & peaceful like the earth itself. No matter how filthy we may comprehend something to be, the earth doesn't say, "I hate foul smelling things like this" or "these kinds of foul, dirty things are out," no matter how repugnant. Moreover, the earth is not just passively silent. It receives these things & absorbs them into itself as nourishment.
It is the heart to feel Kami's look behind through anyone who even disturb you. It is the way to respect every happening as Kami's doing to deepen peace and joy in your heart, by believing that Kami let you hear or see such even unacceptable matters.
In the orderly nature of the universe - there is nothing more faithful and perfect. We'd be in trouble for example if the sun were to say, "I'm a little bit tired today, so I'll take a break?" The sun works without rest a minute, a second or even a mille-second. This, I believe, shows the vital importance of practicing faith in this same dedicated, constant way.
Divine blessings are within your own peaceful and joyful heart. People prove what they believe by practicing daily; the truth of, 'On this very day pray with a single heart. Divine blessings are within your own peaceful and joyful heart.' through their behavior - ALL the time. It is this type of 'Faith filled life' that is the essence of the Divine Reminder. And... by faithfully pursuing this path, the glory of Kami appears and true world peace can be attained.
Hearts that reflect Kami's blessings are the appearance of Kami's glory in this world and definitely need to be the foundation of all in order to achieve 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.
Through each scene of my life Kami has led me to have the above-mentioned belief. Therefore from now on, with this belief I will do my best to acquire and reflect the Nature of the Universe or to emulate the heavenly, earthly and orderly nature of the universe.
Like all of you those who willingly come to the church to join us regularly, for example, in this kind of monthly service are practicing this orderly nature of the universe. As I say, these thoughts were just the beginning of a day of blessings; which were the greatest birthday presents I could have received. With these thoughts in my mind I started one of the best birthdays of my life.
I received the most remarkable gift in that evening. When I went back from shopping in the evening, to my great surprise, at my first sight, I saw Angelyn in the house. I hadn't expected our grandchildren would come to celebrate my birthday at all. So all of a sudden joy and happiness welled up in my mind. All our family and Donghoon's family gathered together and enjoyed eating dinner together. The next day would be Hiroko's birthday, so Hiroko and I blew off the candles on a birthday cake together and then Angelyn & Jayden did the same thing. Our house was full of laughter throughout that evening.
Through Kami's arrangement I had the best birthday this year and in gratitude I will do my best to deepen my peaceful and joyful heart; to shine forth the glory of Kami's blessings in Chicago and to all that is beyond.
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