Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, Week & a special "Thanks," for attending today's service. This is our 1st monthly service for June, 2013. I hope you are all enjoying good health & in excellent spirits. Today we also have two years Memorial Service for the late Mrs. Masae Ogawa with this monthly service. Her older son, Mr. Tim Ogawa is out of town today and his family does not make it to attend this service. Her secomd son, Mr. David Ogawa and his wife Susan-san do not make it either. However their prayers are with us at this moment.
Time flies so fast. It almost seems impossible to believe two years have passed since Masae-san's immortal spirit returned to Kami on June 5th, 2011. Morning & evening at KC Chicago we keep Masae-san's memory alive through our prayers for her along with all the Mitama spirits we feel especially related to this church. I believe those departed spirits are all deepening their peaceful & joyful hearts moment to moment in eternity under the guidance of our Founder Konko Daijin & my parent minister, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo. That thought continually sustains & encourages me to develop an unbreakable peace & joy in my heart.
I met Masae-san's family through Kami's great arrangement. It happened when her grandson, Kevin enrolled in Northside College Preparatory High School the year after my older son Mitsunori had become a NCPHS student there. There I met Tim-san & his family at the school's annual orientation meeting. Masae-san & Tim-san's family have faithfully attended Grand Ceremonies, Memorial Services & other important events ever since. How wonderfully sincere she was! I believe it was her faithfulness that provided the primary foundation for the dedication of the Konko Church of Chicago in April, 2009.
That is also why she is recognized by the divine name, Ogawa Masae Magokoro Isaone Ouna no Mitama no Kami. Magokoro means sincerity. Isaone indicates that her great contribution to Kami is the root that nourishes this center of faith in our city. Ouna means an old lady, or Honored Senior Woman, as we like to say in America.
I believe Kami chose Masae-san to be the guiding spirit of this church. I have no doubt her influence on the birth of this church was NO coincidence. For example, Masae-san was married with Terry-san April 9, 1950. Fifty-nine years later to the day on April 9, 2009, I was named head-minister of the Konko Church of Chicago by our Principal Mediator in Japan. Masae-san & the Chicago Church's anniversaries are the same date! What a wonderful blessings Kami can arrange for those whose whole life is a reflection of believing with their whole heart!
I'm sure Masae-san was most happy in the next world to see her beloved granddaughter Kimberly get married with Joe last September & have a joyful, harmonious life together. I also believe that she is very pleased to know that her loving grandson, Kevin, through his hard work & his deepeing faith, has recently passed the difficult national test to serve as a physical therapist.
Konko Daijin taught us, "The foundation of faith should be harmony in one's family." Masae-san & her families are a shining example of this teaching, lived throughout her lifetime & reflected in the wonderful descendants who have followed her. I have always admired her whole family. I am now very happy that Tim-san's family's commitment to the Konkokyo becomes deeper & deeper.
Masae-san was a most inspirational person for mission & ministry at KC Chicago. When I offered my prayers in front of the Mitama altar during the morning prayer service on Sunday, May 26, I was eager to receive some reply from Masae-san's Mitama. With that prayer still in my heart, I opened the Wagakokoro Sacred book & received the following mini-teachings of my parent minister, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo:
As you become more & more aware that you have no power, finally you are able to surrender unconditionally to Kami. This opens up a life relying on Kami, actually, an exquisite life of faith. In the words of Reverend Setsutane Konko: "It is taught to trust in Kami & Kami will trust in you."
I feel sure now, that Masae-san realizes now the blessed importance of life relying wholly on Kami & is deepening her peace & joy in the next world. I am also convinced that, as in this life, she wants us to continue to live for Kami's wishes & live an exquisite life of faith.
Therefore let us always seek to keep ourselves in Kami's Way. Standing in the Golden Glow of Kami's Divine mind, let us dedicate ourselves to trusting wholly in Kami & deepening peace & joy in our hearts until they become the unbreakable in the reflection of Kami.
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