Happy New Year! : January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

When I opened the front door just before 4:00 am this morning to pray for Heaven and Earth, pure white snow, shining brightly, covered all over. Immediately I realized a brilliant year was open. I prayed for Kami's wishes for the world to be fulfilled. After the morning prayer service, I opened the Wagakokoro Sacred Book and received the following teaching of our founder: "Don't hesitate to go worship during rain or strong winds. Enduring these hardships is training to receive virtue."

Thank you very much for joining us in welcoming New Year's Day 2014 despite that it snowed heavily. Thank you also very much, for all your prayers & support - as always, that you've given KC_CHI this past year. May each & every one of you have a happy, healthy & prosperous New Year!

The Konko Faith celebrates the 200th birthday of our Founder, Ikigami Konko Daijin, this year. Also,....our parent Japanese church - KC Airaku, celebrates it's founding head-minister, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo's, 100th year birthday. & we here in the Konko Church of Chicago will honor our church's 5th Anniversary Celebration Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014.

So this is a most important year in the brief journey of our church. But I find in this year an even more so reality because of world-wide turmoil we witness daily from every direction. I believe Kami eagerly wants our church to be of great service to people in creating a world; mutually fulfilled between Kami & humanity.

Konko Daijin said more than 100 years ago, "Though they say the world is becoming civilized, it is not. It is collapsing." People live with far greater convenience in modern society because of technology but they tend to ignore their relationship to the Universe & Kami. Too many live in pursuit of selfish desires & become arrogant & egocentric. They live materialistically-centered lives. The result is tears of sadness spreading all around the world. Kami's heart suffers all the pains that people suffer. All - those who are hurt by injustices, poverty & war. This selfishness is also the cause of environmental problems like global warming that is changing climates everywhere. Typhoons, Hurricanes & Tornados are becoming bigger & bigger. Killing thousands more people as happened in the recent Philippine typhoon.

It seems we humans; with all our advantages, have not cultivated our hearts from lessons learned from our ancestors who've lived from the beginning of human history to today. Even though we have been aware of the vital importance of the heart, we do not know how to develop our hearts daily in our lives. I believe that it is our sick, infected hearts that are destroying the very heart of the world we all live in. A great responsibility falls to ministers & priests like me. We have failed to show an example of a faith to people that is based single-heartedly on bringing peace & joy to EVERYBODY!.

Therefore we should do everything we can to deepen peace & joy in our hearts; each & every moment throughout each this coming year. Through everything that happens to us good OR bad, reciting the "Solemn Pledge": "What Kami wishes for me now is to revive the vivid way Ikigami Konko Daijin lived so each day I would feel Kami near me & hear the Divine voice. I seek to blaze a trail into the active world of Konko Daijin, & experience the essence of his faith -- as if by touching I'd feel Kami's warmth & by poking I'd draw spurting blood."

In such a spirit I wrote the following poem as a resolution for every moment of the New Year, 2014:

        That I may deepen
My heart through Peace & joy
    In Twenty-fourteen,
May I be grateful each day
         For everything that happens.

         今年はも 実らせ給へ
         すべてに礼を 言う心もちて

From this first day of the brand new year 2014, let us deepen our peaceful, joyful hearts together. May this Konko Church of Chicago be filled with the peaceful & joyful hearts of all who enter it. May it become a place where Divinity & Humanity will meet together in prayer, rejoice together in gratitude & delight together in mutual satisfaction.

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