Good Morning, everyone, Happy New Day & Week! Thank you especially for attending our second service for December 2012. I hope you are all in good health & excellent spirits.
The Konko Churches of North America (KCNA) holds House of Delegates (HOD) & Ministry Board of Review (MBR) meetings once a year to review policies & activities for the coming year. They make plans for ways to be of more service to Kami & people throughout North America.
KC-CHI representatives to HOD Mr. Tim Ogawa & I flew for San Francisco Fri. Dec. 7, to attend those meetings. The HOD meeting was held on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 am to 5 pm. It was a very fruitful meeting. Tim-san will tell you more about it after this sermon.
During the meeting we delegates adopted the new faith initiative from our Headquarters that will start beginning in Jan. of 2012. Today I'd like to share an introduction of this faith movement with you because this movement expresses the Konkokyo's central core concept.
The title of this new program is: "Let us live a fulfilled life with Kami & humanity. Or Kami-Hito-Aiyokakeyo-no-Seikatsu-Undo in Japanese"
The purpose of this movement will focus not only on the things which people can fulfill themselves; but also, perhaps more importantly, stating clearly those efforts which, when fulfilled, Kami will be most pleased with. That is why this movement is vitally important.
More than 100 years ago our founder said, "Though they say the world is becoming civilized, it is not. It is collapsing." People live far more convenient lives in modern society due to technological development and tend to ignore the relationship of the Universe and Kami. They tend to be arrogant & egocentric and live materialistic-centered way of life. These attitudes sometimes result in killing people selfishly like the tragedies that recently happened in the elementary school in Connecticut and in the Clackamas Town Center in Portland, Oregon.
That is why this movement is vitally important.
The goal of this faith program consists of 5 elements, which are:
Let us ...
1. ... seek and receive Kami's Words through Mediation
2. ... awaken to Kami's blessings & Unconditional Love
3. ... live a joyful life of appreciation
4. ... pray for, help and guide one another, with a compassionate heart of Kami, & finally,
5. ... truly live the Way of Kami & all people - in Mutual Fulfillment
It shows the process that each human will be fulfilled with Kami.
The first "Way to Faith Practice," calls on us to seek and receive Kami's Words through Divine Mediation. Our faith starts when we seek Mediation about problems we come across. This is clearly stated in three Divine Messages our founder received. One of them is Divine Message of 1867. Kami said, "Through the virtue of Ikigami Konko Daijin's Mediation, Tenchi Kane No Kami can be realized."
Secondly, in a Divine Message in 1871, Kami taught Our Founder, "If people listen to accept Kami's teachings, they can find relief."
In a third message of 1873 Kami expressed, "I, Tenchi Kane No Kami have sent Ikigami Konko Daijin to people to give blessings & teachings to have them prosper forever."
Through Mediation we can receive divine blessings, even though we don't have enough faith to deserve them.
The second phase of our commitment to faith calls on us to, "Let us awaken to Kami's blessings & Unconditional Love." In this faith, our purpose is to awaken the world to the wonder of Tenchi Kane No Kami's blessings.
This concept of Tenchi Kane No Kami's 'world blessings' has two sides. One side is presented in the divine blessing which says, "even those without faith receive Kami's blessings."
And the other side is in the revelation, "Practice faith in Kami single-heartedly. There will be divine blessings."
Another divine message from Kami in 1873 revealed, "They are to practice faith. They will receive divine blessings."
Kami's consideration and earnest wish of people is, "Please, please receive blessings by practicing faith."
Therefore, "blessings" in this revelation include two kinds of blessings brought together in the phrase, "Kami is fulfilled in us. We are fulfilled in Kami."
Faith Goal #3 says, "Let us live a joyful life of appreciation," presenting the image that if we accept divine blessings in sincere & total faith, joy will well up in our mind naturally.
But!!! ... in order to deepen our joy to live a joyful life with this depth of appreciation it is most important to adopt & perfect the faith practice to match Konko Daijin's as perfectly as possible. It takes time to understand Konko Daijin's faith so your determination can develop true faith approaching that of Konko Daijin with your whole heart. True faith means to totally renew oneself through each & every happening ... nothing else.
Through this kind of faith practice we can achieve more completely Kami's workings & continuously live a joy-filled life of appreciation.
Goal #4 says, "Let us pray for, help guide one another, with a compassionate heart of Kami." It works in conjunction with the third practice of faith just discussed. This fourth line is based on the founder's teaching, "Have faith in Kami, receive divine blessings, save the troubled. You can give thanks to Kami by becoming one with the heart of Kami. And also by spreading this true Way of Faith by telling others about the blessings you received. This will make Kami happy."
The final Goal for the next ten years is, "Let us truly live the Way of Kami & all people - in Mutual Fulfillment." It is the sum of all the directions to succeed in implementing this movement.
The goal works together into a package of Faith Effort which perfects "the Way of Kami & all people' by 1st seeking and receiving Mediation, then living a life of faith that pleases Kami. In a sense, this is a wonderful 'road-map' promoting and developing faith life, aiming to realize "the Way of Kami & all people", where Kami and people would mutually fulfilled. This "Way of Kami & all people" is what our founder taught as he came to know Tenchi-Kane-No-Kami.
SO, as we prepare for the New Year over the next two weeks, let us join ourselves together to do the best we can to practice this faith movement for the next ten years beginning 1/1/2013!! Develop peace & joy in our hearts through everything that happens in our daily lives & may we live a mutually fulfilled life with Kami & ALL of humanity.
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