Monthly Service : October 7, 2012

Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day & Week. Thank you especially for attending our first service for October 2012. I hope you are all in good health & excellent spirits.

Kimberly Ogawa, daughter of our church president, Tim Ogawa & her fiancé Joe Woo, were married on Saturday, September 22. The event was truly blessed with Kami's awesome workings throughout the whole day. It began in the morning.

The weather was perfect for the wedding which had to be Kami's doing. The weather forecast had predicted it would rain all day. There was a little misty rain in the morning but that only cleansed & purified everything between heaven and earth. Then as the morning progressed it cleared up completely. It was a bit cool... but it was sunny. I could just hear in my head what Masae-Mitama, Kimberly's grandmother, had repeated so often that, "Perfect weather is that it rains in the morning & then clears up to make a lovely day."

More than 300 people witnessed one of the best wedding ceremonies I've seen. The officiating minister was Rev. Alfred Tsuyuki, head-minister of KC Los Angeles. He speaks fluent English & has conducted many wedding ceremonies during his 40+ years of ministry. He lead Kimberly & Joe's wedding ceremony so well! It was dignified & solemn, yet smoothly present in the true style of Konko ritual that every attendee would expect. It made a great impression. It was a pleasure for me to assist him as a supporting officiant.

The ceremony began at around 3:30 pm. The Katherine Hughes Ensemble provided the music for the ceremony. The couple had chosen "‘The Nightingale" for the Bridal Party's entry processional & "Cannon in D Major" for the bridal & her parents entrance.

When Kimberly entered the ceremonial hall with her parents Tim-san & May-san, I was moved to tears right there in front of everybody.

The highlight of the wedding ceremony is the "Exchange of the Sacred Tiered Cups of Sake (San San Ku Do)." "San" means three and "Ku" is nine. There are three cups in the tier. The couple drinks each cup three times, which, of course, equals nine sips.

The Tiered Cup ritual is a traditional Japanese wedding rite. It represents the bride & groom's eternal promise to openly share with each another; before the world, materially, emotionally, & spiritually in any & all situations they will face in their married lives together. In this symbolic rite they are at stacked with large cup on the bottom & the small one on the very top. During the San San Ku Do as vows & Sacred sips of sake are exchanged the order of the cups are reversed so that the larger cup is moved from the bottom to the top. These cups then symbolize their love for each other, a love which, like the cups, will grow forever wider, deeper and stronger from this wedding day onward.

The exchange of vows was a very important part of the ceremony as it would be in any American wedding. And as often happens, Kimberly was overwhelmed as she pledged her feelings to Joe.

The other major observances of a Konko wedding service is the marriage couples' "Offering of the Symbol of the True Heart (Tamakushi)" & Sacred Music (Kibigaku) which was accompanied by recorded, traditional Japanese music.

The wedding party excused themselves to go downtown after the ceremony to take the official wedding photos. Meanwhile the guests remained & were served the cocktails in the foyer of the ceremonial hall. This time Katherine Hughes Hawk Quartet provided a musical background.

The reception started at 7:00 pm & lasted until midnight. Rev. Takao Kishii of KC Toronto lead the evening's joyous celebration with a prayer of blessing. Kanako and I were specially treated by Tim-san who kindly reserved a room for us we could enjoy the reception until midnight. I danced, of course, with Kanako and some other ladies as requested. It was nice for Kanako to get to stay until midnight because she's often had to leave social functions early because of her health conditions. This was the most marvelous and enjoyable wedding we've experienced since our daughter Hiroko was married.

The day before this great event, of course, there had been a wedding rehearsal. I'd been asked to lead the prayer of blessing for the rehearsal dinner. I decided as an introduction to the actual prayer to introduce it by quoting a poem Rev. Soichiro Otsubo, my parent minister wrote to his wife, Mrs. Isoe Otsubo, as her birthday present after they'd been married many years. The poem is:

  • Praying each to the other---
  • Worshipping, adoring.
  • Together polishing and being polished<
  • There's nothing to compare with---
  • The joy of this day.

I truly hope & pray that Kimberly & Joe grow together to become such a couple. By practicing the Konko faith daily may they deepen their peaceful and joyful hearts, receiving Kami's blessings & reflect the Golden Light of Kami to future generations.  Thank You!

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