Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, Week & a special "Thanks," for attending today's service. This is our 1st monthly service for June, 2012. I hope you are all enjoying good health and in excellent spirits.
Last Sunday we held the one year Memorial Service for the late Mrs. Masae Ogawa. As all of you know her very well, I would like to talk about that service today.
Time flies so fast. It almost seems impossible that a year has passed since Masae-san's immortal spirit returned to Kami on June 5th. Morning and evening we keep Masae-san's memory alive at KC Chicago through our prayers for her; included among all the Mitama spirits to whom we are especially related in thiss church. I believe those departed spirits are all deepening their peaceful and joyful hearts moment to moment in eternity under the guide of our Founder & my parent minister, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo. That thought always sustains & encourages me to develop unbreakable peace and joy in my heart.
Last Sunday's service was filled, as always, with Kami's awesome workings. The weather was fare & clear. Best of all, 14 members of the Ogawa families and relatives gathered together here at KC Chicago to honor Masae-san's life in addition to our family. That kind of support really expressed our depth of respect & appreciation for her virtuous legacy. The atmosphere was so warm & supportive that everyone enjoyed themselves with a harmonious sense of peace and joy.
I believe it was the reflection of how much Masae-san's Mitama spirit touched and blessed from the next world. Through this wonderful sense of togetherness, one of my long-cherished dreams came true. I have longed for the day that all the members of the Nishimura family would gather together here in the worship hall of KC Chicago to express their heart-felt gratitude to Kami by honoring their ancestors.
Masae-san's parents were earnest believers of the Konko Faith. Her father, Shinkichi-san owned the Lane hotel in Seattle and the Konkokyo gatherings were often held at his hotel in 1920's. Her mother, Ume-san became one of the church elders when KC Seattle was established in 1928.
Several Konko ministers have come from Japan to study at the Meadville Lombard Theological School, an affiliated of the University of Chicago, since 1960's. Masae-san, and her sisters, Haruko-san, Hideko-san, Shizuko-san and their families took it upon themselves to take care of those ministers by making them feel at home in Chicago by extending them a genuine tradition of Japanese hospitality. That thoughtfulness was instrumental in KCNA's giving top priority in selecting Chicago as the place to establish their keystone-church in the middle America. That's what brought my family to Chicago in 1997. I was assigned to missionize to Chicago, in hopes of founding that pivotal church in the heartland of the country.
That is why I have long dreamed that all the many Nishimura families as possible would someday come together to join one of our services. The 50-day Memorial Service last September & last Sunday's one year Memorial Service for Masae-san were the starting points of that dream.
Last Sunday I felt a calmness and serenity during my morning prayer service that was to me the reflection of Masae-san's Divine, Mitama spirit. I did my best to conduct her service as sincerely as possible, & that wonderful service was so solemn.
Masae-san was a most inspirational person for mission & ministry at KC Chicago. When I offered my prayers in front of the Mitama altar during the morning prayer service on May 31, I was eager to receive some reply from Masae-san-Mitama. With that prayer still in my heart, I opened the Wagakokoro Sacred book & received the following teaching:
I feel sure now, that Masae-san realizes now the blessed importance of living with Kami & is deepening her peace and joy in the next world. I am also convinced that, as in this life, she wants us to continue to live for Kami's wishes and respect even smallest happening to develop our perfection of peace & joy in our own hearts.
Therefore let us always seek to keep ourselves in Kami's Way. Standing in the Golden Glow of Kami's Divine mind, let us dedicate ourselves to deepening peace and joy in our hearts until they, like Masae-Mitama, become the unbreakable in the reflection of Kami.
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