Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, Week & special, "Thanks," for attending today's service. This is our 1st monthly service for February, 2012. I hope you are all enjoying good health and in excellent spirits.
At last month's service you'll remember, you received at random, one of the founder's teachings. As I told you then; I prayed to Kami that each of you would take the teaching Kami most wanted you to practice for the rest of this year. Believing that you picked the very teaching Kami wants you to practice and perfect for the next 11 months, today we're going to begin considering the best ways to keep your teaching in forefront of your mind all the time this year. The goal then is to master it & make it become an integral part of "who you are" by allowing it to bring you closer & closer to Kami's desired nature for you.
For that, the most important was your first impression when you received your teaching. So by following your impression please put your teaching into practice in your daily life this year.
This monthly service I would like to explain the plan behind giving you your individual teaching, some of my feelings when each of you took your teaching, what I hope we can achieve through studying these teachings for the balance of the year.
Today I would like to explain the teachings that Mr. Harold and Mrs. Ruby Noji picked. The teaching Harold-san picked was as follows: "This faith can be propagated with just one umbrella." First I want to know Noji-san's first impression when you took this teaching. As this teaching is a little bit difficult to grasp the true meaning of it, it is fine that his impression was what? Noji-san! What feelings did this teaching make you aware of?
After years of studying this teaching I've come to believe one of it's most important lessons is that it teaches us not to think about faith in a way that makes practicing faith too complicated.
The purpose of practicing this faith is to deepen our heart so that we have the feeling of relief; whatever happens in our lives & no matter how difficult it might be to experience at the time.
To achieve this, we recite the 'five practices' at every monthly service, just like we did today. They are very significant.
Five practices are as follows: "That we may carry out the practices of going to church, hearing the teachings, praying regularly, training the spirit and with it accepting all happenings as blessings." We don't need to involve traditional physical austerities. So anyone can practice this faith. It is simple, clear-cut and blessings do follow.
My parent minister, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo gave a short interpretation about this teaching of our founder this way:
*This faith can be propagated by sincerity alone.
*Attaining a peaceful and joyful heart-which our Founder called, Wagakokoro, can propagate this faith.
*This faith can reach the Divine blessings with the 'single heart' of Kami.
The fact is, achieving this singular sincerity, Wagakokoro that reflects the single heart of Kami is often rather difficult. The ease and serenity that comes from a faith seeking sincere, single-hearted Wagakokoro transforms every single thing into blessings. Just as taking an umbrella with you when you go outside, rain or shine, affords you peace of mind, the peace of mind borne of a trusting heart will open the path of all the Universe."
Rev. Otsubo also said that,
"In the darkness of night, you need light."
"In this world of doubt and suffering, you need a faith filled guide to illuminate your way in the world. Those who guide you need to have this Divine illumination; enlightening way in front of you. More simply said, 'This faith can be propagated through this focused source of light.'"
We can say therefore that the principle purpose of this faith is to acquire a light of faith that provides peace of mind whatever in the situation you encounter.
Ruby-san! Do you remember what teaching you picked? Even for me it was difficult at first to remember all the teachings each of you chose. But during my silent prayer each morning I tried to recite all your teachings and prayed for each of you. Now I have your teachings memorized.
Ruby-san picked the following teaching: "Look forward to the future without saying negative things."
I've heard it said that 'words also have a soul.' To me that means we must use words of gratitude all the time in order for good things to happen. Our founder taught that even within the family we should speak to each other politely. Bad things will happen by constantly speaking negatively. The more things we gripe and complain about the more things to gripe and complain about will occur.
I believe that faith begins with the choice of believing in Kami. But the practice of faith; means demonstrating this belief in gratitude, so Kami believe in the believer more and more.
When we understand this principle by practice it in everything we do daily, we can grow to the point that we will no longer be able to say negative things.
Rev. Otsubo gave the following interpretation of this teaching: "By having true faith you will think of nothing other than good things and happy things. When just needless worries and bad thoughts come to mind, your faith is mistaken. You must realize you are lacking in practice and then take up your faith from that point. There's nothing besides a truly thankful heart to get rid of bad or evil thoughts."
This year, let us all keep our individual teachings in mind and through practicing them as constantly as possible; to deepen our hearts in the course of each and every thing that happens to us. I believe in return, we are thus lead through happiness & prosperity to have the fulfilled lives Kami intends for us, as the true gift of each of our lives.
[At either this point - or for sure before you close the service for refreshments... ASK FOR SOMEONE TO SHARE THEIR 'TEACHING' & EXPERIENCE WITH IT IN THE NEXT 2 WEEKS!]
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