Monthly Service : July 7, 2013

Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, Week & thank you for attending this 1st monthly service for the month of July, 2013. I hope you are all in good health & excellent spirits.

My mother, Mrs. Itusko Takeuchi passed peacefully into the next world two Sundays ago in Imari, Japan, on June 23 at age 90. Through Kami's Divine Blessing, I was able to go to Imari to see her last body one last time & extend my appreciation to her. I was able to tell her one last time, "Thank you mom! I have been the happiest perason in the world to have been born as one of your children."

These last several days have been filled with Kami's magnificent workings. Through them I have realized Kami accepted her whole life as an accomplishment of faith training to acquire a wonderful fulfillment of divine virtue. She did her best to develop peace & joy in her herat throughout her life. She has always had smile on her face. & she often said, "It is being grateful. It's too much for me. It's been awesome," no matter how much pain she felt even when she was bed fast.

I wanted to rush back to be in Imari as soon as I received the news. But at first I didn't think I could afford to attend her funeral service. However I received Kami's wonderfully unexpected arrangment.

As I said in my last sermon, I conducted the nauguration of United Airlines's 787 Dreamliner non-stop service from Denver to Narita earlier in the month of June. It gave me a unique connection around the United Airlines personnel here in Chicago. UA had told me that they would make a donation to our church as a token of their appreciation. So I called them & asked if it would be possible to receive the donation in the form of a flight ticket to Japan instead. UA willingly agreed & made my flight arrangements as well. They had no seating for direct flight from O'hare to Narita. Then I found out that there was a one-stop flight from CHI to Kansai, Japan via SFO. I'd reach Imari on the night when my mother's last service for her body would be held.

My nephew, Mr. Munenori Takeuchi got a job for Boston Scientific & has been training in Tokyo since last April. He went back to Kyushu as part of one training program & was able to spend a weekend with his grandmother. He was able to converse with her until 45 minutes before she died. Whenever he spoke with her she'd respond & nodded.

How beautiful my mother's face was even at the end of her life on earth! I was moved to see her face filled with peace & joy. I said to her in my mind, "Thank you mom! I have been the happiest person in the world to be your child."

My mother got her divine name as a Mitama spirit from Rev. Katushiko Otsubo. He named her, "Takeuchi Itsuko Wagatama Hime no Mitama no Kami." Waga means 'peace & joy'. Tama means 'gem'.

It reminded me of my parent minster, Rev. Socihiro Otsubo's last words. He said, "The words I left in this world is nothing other than 'Peaceful & Joyful Heart. My whole life is to have contnuously sought for peaceful & joyful heart in myself. I aim for peace & joy on this very day, at this very moment. From now on, even after I enter the next world I would like to continue to acquire my peaceful & joyful heart."

A total of some 1500 people gathered for both my mother's "Last Day" & Funeral" services to pay their tribute to her. Her funeral service was solemn & filled with respect & gratitude to her. All her grandchildren in Japan got together before the night & created a beautiful eulogy in remembrance of her.

My daughter, Hiroko Takeuchi Chon sent a eulogy to her grandmother with the same feelings as the others. I would like to share it with you:

"My very beloved grandmother! Thank you very much for all you have done until now. I am very proud that I heve been born as one of your grandchildren.

My grandmother for me in my childhood days was beautiful, gentle and my adored lady who was good at flower-arrangement. Even now I couldn't forget your elegance to arrange flowers at KC Airaku. Mere child as I was, I always thought I would like to become such a lady as yours.

Even so, it was when I became a mother that I really realized your greatness. You splendidly raised your three children in consecutive years. You believed in my grandfather whatsoever and followed him. You did your best for your family. You carried out offering the first rice to Kami every morning and pray until you couldn't move by yourself. You always think of us who live far away and continuosly pray for us. You are the lady who I aim for.

Grandmom! Thank you very VERY much. From now on please watch over us besides your dearest husband. I will also do my best to become such a mother and a wife like yours.

Grandpa & Grandmo! Please make sure of my efforts!"

Every worshipper couldn't help but feel that they would like to become such a grandfather or grandmother as to be respected by their grandchildren.

Mr. Ben Vose kindly sent his eulogy to us. It describes the life of importance & virtue that my mother achieved in her days on earth. So I would like to share it with you too:

Brief blooms life's essence.
The wonder of spring blossoms,
Go within a week.
And yet the fragrance of each,
Enriches generations.

I came back to Chicago on July 4th, with a strong determination that I will devote myself to deepening an unbreakable peace and joy in MY heart to serve Kami & people in Chicago & beyond with all my heart.

Thank You

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