Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, Week & Month. This is our 1st monthly service for April, 2013. I hope you are all enjoying good health and in excellent spirits. & we give you a special "Thanks," for attending today's service.
If you notice a familiar face missing from today's gathering, my wife Kanako is still on her visit to Japan. Her return flight was changed from April 2nd to the 17th.
Like all of us as we grow older persons, Kanako's parents have grown weaker with age. Both are now & over 85 years old. Her father, Rev. Setsuo Furuya, is now bent with age & needs a cane to get around safely. Kimie, her mother, has now given up driving. So their mobility is greatly curtailed inside, outside & around town. I encouraged Kanako to stay in Japan as long as possible to take good care of them. It is possible that this may be the last chance for her to see one or both of them.
Kanako's main reason for going back to Japan this time was to join the 10th year Spiritual Birthday Ceremony of Mrs. Isoe Otsubo, the wife of our late mentor Rev. Soichiro Otsubo which was held at our home church of KC Airaku. The celebration was held on Friday, March 15. Almost all women ministers who had trained under the guidance of Rev. Otsubo spontaneously gathered together from all over the world for the celebration. There were four women ministers from Brazil, two from the USA & of course, many all over Japan who attended to extend their appreciation to Isoe Oyaokusama's Mitama spirit. The service was officiated by the women ministers from overseas. Kanako lead the prayer. Some of the attendees Kanako saw for the first time since they had gone to the places Kami had called them to; serving Kami & introducing people to the Konko Faith.
As I said they gathered spontaneously, for the most part. They all were drawn to join in this service to show their profound respect to Isoe Oyaoakusama's Mitama spirit. Their presence showed how deeply Isoe Oyaokusama had gained divine virtue during her life time & continued to attract them even a decade after she had passed away. She & her husband Rev. Otsubo, must surely have been gratified from the next world.
Isoe Oyaokusama was a reserved, modest woman. She was so busy in the early stage of Rev. Otsubo's ministry that her older son, Rev. Katsuhiko often told us that he had seldom seen her sleeping in bed. She prepared meals for the worshippers because Rev. Otsubo so often requested her to at any time of the day or night. Perhaps she was often heard to grumble, because she was so extremely busy.
But she always did her best to accept everything with calmness, like the Earthly Nature of the Universe. The nature of the soil is to accept everything calmly. It keeps silent no matter how filthy things may appear. Soil, if it could make a sound wouldn't say, "I hate foul smelling things like this,..." or "...dirty things are out of the question!" Instead it receives such things for itself as nourishment. Isoe Oyaokusama's nature was the same so in Japanese she was said to be "a person like soil." In America that kind of person is said to be, "down to earth."
At first she grumbled. However the more she trained herself to accept everything with calmness, she grumbled less & in her later years she came to the place where she'd only say, "I am grateful. It is too much for me, whatever happened & no matter how hard it might be."
Once, when she was asked to describe her life, she simply wrote the Chinese character for, "Soil," & beside that figure she captioned it with the Japanese word for, "Joy." It represented the joy which always welled up in her mind after many years of training herself to accept everything with the calm dignity like the soil.
This year is also the 5th year celebration of my father, Mr. Michinori Takeuchi's Spiritual Birthday. His spirit was released to Kami on March 26, 2008. His 5th year celebration service was held on Wednesday, March 20th. Kanako was able to be part of it & offer both English & Spanish translations of one of my father's most remembered speeches in front of the Mitama altar during the service. My father had delivered the speech for the Ikigami Konko Daijin Grand Ceremony of KC Katsuragi a long time ago.
Jamal Leki-Albano, who has helped me with other projects & I worked throughout the last year to translate my father's speech into English. It turns out Jamal is very good at translating from Japanese to Spanish as he is translating from Japanese to English.
Jamal translated my father's speech into English almost entirely by himself & we reviewed his work together later. When he e-mailed me our final English translation, I was very surprised that he attached his Spanish-translation of it too. Turned out he'd secretly translated my father's speech into Spanish. How sincere & warm-hearted he is!
How deeply my father would have been amazed to see these translations of his speech. Seeing a pile of his speech in Japanese, English & Spanish in front of the Mitama altar at KC Airaku, my father must have been truly surprised & pleased to know how many people around the world would be able to share & understand his message.
[Return to Sermons]