Happy New Year! : January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Thank you very much for attending today's 2013 New Year's Day Ceremony. Thank you also very much, for all your prayers and supports - as always, that you've given KC_CHI throughout this past year. To ALL of you, may you have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

This year celebrates the 130th Spiritual Birthday of our founder, Konko Daijin. Konko Headquarters (Konkokyo ), has planed a series of special Anniversary Grand services which will be held in Japan at the World Headquarters four times from Oct. 3 to Oct. 13. Headquarters request pilgrims from KCNA in North America to attend the 1:30 pm, Service on October 3rd with other pilgrims from overseas. But our Chicago group plans to attend an October 10th Service on the exact day when our founder passed into the next live 130 years ago . For now Mr. & Mrs. Tim Ogawa and Mr. Tony Berardi will join me in this celebration from Chicago.

After the service we intend to visit my home church of Airaku & my father's hometown of Imari where he was mayor for 24 years, to see my mother. We also plan visits to Kyoto, Hokuriku, Hiroshima & as many other famous sights as we have time for.

All memorial anniversaries which end with 'zero' & commemorate a large number of decades... are very special, of course. But I believe this one is even more so because of world wide turmoil we hear about every day. 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 but, they tend to ignore their relationship to the Universe and Kami. Too many are arrogant & egocentric; living materialistic-centered ways of life. The consequence of these attitudes in the extreme, result in selfish, mentally deranged killings like the recent tragedies from the elementary school Connecticut to the Clackamas Town Center in Portland, Oregon. They seem to appear on our TV screens nightly.

I'm sure that like me, all of you were shocked & profoundly pained by these tragedies. Especially shocking were the unspeakable shooting of 5 & 6-year old school children. Our founder's words echoed deeply in my mind.

It seems as though we humans; with all our advantages, have not cultivated our hearts from those of our ancestor who lived at the beginning of human history. Even though we have been aware of the vital importance of the heart, we have not known how to develop our hearts in our daily lives. I've come to realize that it is our sickened & collapsing hearts that are collapsing the heart of the world we all live in. One of the responsibilities for that falls ministers & priests like me. We have failed to show the public an example of a faith that is practiced single-heartedly to bring peace & joy.

With such a spirit in my mind; I wrote the following as my resolution poem for the New Year 2013:

As we clearly see,
The collapse is everywhere,
Our hearts break within.
May Kami and people be
Fulfilled in this precious world!

世 がめげる

I believe because of these tragedies, more than ever, Kami wants us to understand that we are on the threshold of great change. I'm told, that in the 1960's there was a saying in America that, "Today is the beginning of the rest of your life!"

Therefore; from this first day of the brand new year 2013... in true faith, we have the opportunity to understand that it's up to us ... we have the power. With Kami's help, we can achieve a bright future ... living in harmony with Heaven and Earth instead of merely pursuing convenient, comfortable, disposal lives.

I invite you to join me in seeking to become the great root of Konko Faith's brilliant light; shining forth to enlighten this collapsing world. Let us deepen our peaceful, joyful hearts together. May we serve Kami and people in the heartland of America & manifest the way of living a mutually fulfilled life with Kami and humanity throughout the whole world.

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