Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, Week & a special, "Thanks" for attending this, our 2nd monthly service for May. I hope you are all enjoying good health and in excellent spirits.
Last Sunday we celebrated our Tenchi Kane No Kami Grand Ceremony for 2013. I was very VERY happy that all of the family members of Mr. Tim Ogawa joyfully joined it. Their commitment to the Konko Faith has become deeper and deeper, which I really appreciate. I was also very pleased to have Mr. & Mrs. Harold Noji in this celebration despite that he had recently been hospitalized. I would also like to extend my thanks to Tony-san who brought Ohba-san to the ceremony. And among all we especially welcomed four young adults from St. Louise. They are the members of the Wagakokoro society & studying the Konko faith to live a fulfilled life with Kami. They drove all the way from St. Louise to attend our Tenchi Kane No Kami Grand Ceremony. As those of you were with us last week, you know it was filled with Kami's awesome workings. The weather was perfect. It was a fine, clear day & the temperatures were very comfortable.
Best of all, Rev. Takao Kishii flew all the way from Toronto to officiate the service & deliver his sermon for it. Our worship hall hosted 26 people & his sermon touched the hearts of all attendees. I realized in this great atmosphere that Kami filled our hearts with overflowing blessings. I believe everyone enjoyed themselves to their hearts' content.
One special feature of our grand ceremony was the two musical instrumentalists we had for our service. My wife Rev. Kanako Takeuchi, played the Koto. & Mr. Jamal Leki-Albano played the traditional Japanese flute. Together they created a beautifully solemn atmosphere for the ceremony. I believe Kami loves our Kibigaku music, I'm proud & very grateful for their generous gift of talent. Not only was our ceremony filled with solemn joy & happiness during the service but also some gratifying things or lessons happened before & after the service itself.
Two days before the service we had great news that Mr. Kevin Ogawa passed a difficult national test to become a physical therapist. He had graduated from College of health Sciences at the Midwestern University last May & gotten a doctor degree. In order to get to work as a physical therapist he had to pass the national test. Thanks to the prayers of his parents & his deepening faith & hard work he passed it.
Our daughter, Hiroko made delicious sushi for the celebration & our older son, Mitsunori brought it to our church. Hiroko & her three beautiful children left her house when Mitsunori did. But Hiroko couldn't make it to the church because her older daughter, Angelyn, started crying in the car. She didn't stop & cried louder & louder saying she didn't want to go between sobs. Hiroko really wanted them to be in church to join in this important celebration, so she tackled situation "head on." But at the last minute she decided to go back home & not risk spoiling the service for everybody else. When she called me the next day to tell us what happened I said, "Kami eagerly wishes all of you to join the ceremony & it is very important. But it is much more important for Kami that Hiroko tries to stay calm in this situation, practicing faith to deepen peace & joy in her heart through this opportunity."
Every moment of every day in this life is the place where we can practice faith to polish the gem of our heart. Going to church is a good place to learn the importance of deepening our heart. I believe most certainly that Kami is most pleased to see people practice faith by deepening the peace & joy in their hearts through every-day happenings. Whatever happens in our lives is Kami's doing... & Kami wants us to deepen our peace & joy by reflecting the Nature of the Universe. I believe Hiroko was given this happening to learn this lesson by making the correct, peaceful choice.
But when all is said & done... the atmosphere of this years' grand ceremony was so great that it filled our worship hall with joy & happiness throughout the entire day. Most special were the young adults from St. Louis, MO to be in attendance. There were four of them: Jen, Joe, James & Chris.
After a full day of faith, food & fun, they began to get sad about leaving our church. The closer the time to go, the more they wanted to stay & stay. When they got to the Highway, Joe especially asked Jen, " Hey, How do you become Konko...? Is there something you have to do?" and Jen answered, "It just starts with following the teachings."
Like these wonderful, young visitors, please join me in genuinely committing ourselves to peace & joy within... THEN we can join together as willing workers in repairing the peace, joy & heart of this wonderful world we live in. It's the only one we've got... & surely this is the way that Kami's glory can appear in it... & human happiness can lead in making true world peace a reality.
So, let us begin in Chicago, to live in the faith that Kami's assistance & blessing will allow us to recover our balance & do our best to deepen our hearts' peace & joy until it becomes unbreakable... just like the Divine Heart of Kami. Thank you!
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