Good Morning, everyone. Happy new Week & the beginning of that final glide toward New Year's Day. Thank you for taking time out of your busy holiday schedule to attend our first service for the month of December 2012. I hope you are all in good health & excellent spirits.
This is a special time for the Takeuchi household. Kanako & I will celebrate our wedding anniversary in just five, short days. Since this will be our 32nd anniversary, a five-day wait to our celebration seems only as brief as a heart beat.
Kanako & I were married together with 8 other couples on December 7th, 1980. All of us were trainees under the mentorship of Rev. Soichiro Otsubo at KC Airaku at the time. Two of Rev. Otsubo's sons & their fiancés were included in our collective marriage ceremony.
Each couple's commitment to marry was unique, of course. Kanako & I had fallen in love with each from the time we met three years before. The couple with the longest engagement had taken 7 years getting to know each other before they "set-the date."
As couples, we had learned the essence of the Konko Faith from Rev. Soichiro Otsubo by his example as much as from his teachings. We learned that as human beings we are born into this world to polish the gem of our hearts by deepening the peace & joy in them through everything that happens in our daily lives. We learned that Kami's glory would appear through us when we showed forth the statement, "On this very day pray. Kami's blessings are within our peaceful & joyful heart."
All of us had a most earnest desire to be of great service to Kami & people around the world. We wanted to become couples who would become a foundation to create the era of peace & joy in the hearts of all people; everywhere.
One trainee received Kami's revelation about our combined marriage in the Chinese characters we call "Kanji" in Japanese. Kanji characters can often be pronounced in various different way & have entirely different meanings. Kami showed that there were other sets of Kanji characters with the same pronunciation that could be about combined marriage. In this context, the meaning would be that those with strong hearts joined together, would connect their souls jointly together too. Strong hearts would therefore mean an earnest desire to serve Kami & people; any place in the world, wherever Kami requested it for each of them.
On that day Rev. Otsubo received Kami's revelation about this combined marriage as, "Heaven & Earth are 'moved.'" At first I thought my joy might be reduced by one ninth, but on the contrary it increased by nine times during the ceremony & reception.
Our Konko Headquarters held a grand ceremony on Dec. 10 in the '80's honoring the virtues of our predecessors who had devoted themselves to manifesting the Konko way of life in the world. Airaku church had a pilgrimage going to join this celebration. Kanako & I went on this pilgrimage with other believers. This headquarters celebration was the one-day event, so everyone who wanted to attend had to do so in the same day. As a result here were more than ten thousand believers in Konko town to witness this beautiful ceremony.
The Airaku believers visited the gravesites of our founder & his successors after the ceremony. At the gravesides of the 3rd & 4th successors Rev. Katsuhiko Otsubo gave a short, impressive speech & then we all went our separate ways for a while. Kanako & I decided to go back to Konko Daijin's gravesite to pray to our hearts' contents to our founder for Kami's wish for us to be the fulfillment of service to help create the era of the peace & joy in the hearts of all people.
On the way back to it, I thought Kami would be waiting for us so that there would be no one in front of our founder's gravesite no matter how many worshippers would be there. The reason I thought that way was that whenever Rev. Soichiro Otsubo had arrived at our founder's gravesite, the front of it had always be open for him even though there had been many worshippers praying there.
Despite that when we reached our founder's gravesite, the front was occupied by three worshippers. Immediately I thought without doubt that it was Kami's arrangement & waited behind them with Kanako. Two out of three were friends, but the other was not. However they finished praying at the same time & left there. We moved forward & bowed. Then miraculous thing happened. When we lift our heads, the sky behind the grave-post of our founder cleared up in an instant. Naturally, we were moved beyond all measure & tears filled our eyes. We gave prayers of sincerest gratitude. We both felt Kami's great expectations for us.
Whenever I think of this event, I realize again it was Kami's greatest possible arrangement for me. Kanako is the best wife I could have. She & I have had a long-cherished desire to serve Kami & people in the world just like Rev. Soichiro Otsubo & his wife, Mrs. Isoe Otsubo.
To share how much he thought of his wife Rev. Otsubo wrote the following poem in his later years & gave Isoe-oyaokusama for her birthday present.
- Praying each to the other---
- Worshipping, adoring.
- Together; polishing & being polished,
- There's nothing to compare with---
- The joy of this day.
Kanako & I would very much like to become that kind of couple. But there's still a long way to achieve this goal. However, ... no matter how long it takes, I promise today, as I have every day since December 7th 1980, that I will do my best to grow together with my best friend of 30+ years now, to try to become such a couple.
By practicing the Konko faith daily may we deepen our peaceful & joyful hearts, receiving Kami's blessings & reflect the Golden Light of Kami to future generations. Thank You!
[Return to Sermons]