In greeting you today my heart is filled with gratitude at the awesome sight of seeing so many people who have come so very far to support & encourage us. We welcome 21 guests from Japan. Ministers & believers from Canada, the West Coast & other states in the USA are also joined with us for today's celebration. Many friends from the Chicago area have generously taken time from their busy schedules to attend this celebration. Thank you, each & every one so very, very much!
What a golden opportunity we have this year to deepen our faith. As part of this year's 5th Anniversary of ours we also celebrate the 200th birthday of our founder, Ikigami Konko Daijin. And the 100th birthday of our mentor, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo, founding minister of KC Airaku where I trained under his guidance for nearly 20 years.
What do you think the births of these two pillars of the Konko Faith coming only one-century apart? Since they are the two greatest lights in the growth of my faith experience; I believe this is an important revelation of the Divine Reminder to the world. To me it is the manifestation of the truth that Kami's blessings begin within WaGa Kokoro. Our grateful, caring-faith practice fills our hearts full of harmony & joy, which is our Way of attaining peaceful & joyful hearts.
Our founder gave this teaching to a disciple, "When people live out the statement daily in their lives, 'On this very day pray with a single heart Divine blessings are achieved within your peaceful & joyful heart,' the glory of Kami will appear & true world peace will be attained."
It is the demonstration of Kami's glory by our faith & lives that we can help achieve the happiness this world so definitely needs. This is the foundation on which to bring about true harmony in our homes & genuine peace in the world which is the essence of the Divine Reminder.
Throughout his life Rev. Soichiro Otsubo pursued the essence of our founder's faith. Ultimately he discovered the significant importance of WaGa Kokoro, 'peace & joy within our heart'. Peace & joy in one's heart is the essential foundation for human happiness. Rev. Otsubo clarified this importance about WaGa Kokoro with three points.
- The first is what WaGa Kokoro, peaceful & joyful heart is.
- The second is the necessities of WaGa Kokoro for human life.
- The third is how to develop it in our daily life.
Since the beginning of this ministry in Chicago, I have done my best to deepen my peaceful & joyful heart; believing that this Way opens Divine blessings everywhere through the Peace & Joy in ones heart.
I believe with my whole being that Kami wishes me to have unbreakable peace & joy in my heart through this golden year. Therefore Kami trained me very hard for me to become a genuinely better mediator this year. It feels as though a Divine Challenge has tested my depth of faith.
On Feb. 6, my doctor diagnosed that I had prostate cancer. Immediately I accepted it as Kami's love in the form named "prostate cancer." Then in response came more questions flooding into my mind: "Why was I born here in this world? What should I do to benefit this world? Why do I believe I was called to be a Konko minister & serve Kami & people here in Chicago?"
Then on April 12 I fell down from my step ladder & fractured my left foot. It was my careless mistake, but I received it as Kami's love to train my faith.
Through these difficulties I could direct my heart toward Kami step by step more than ever. I now believe I have developed my unbreakable peace & joy in my heart somehow. I am looking forward to what will happen next in the next 5-years of our ministry & beyond.
With that in mind we would like to commemorate today's ceremony, by presenting you with a daily calendar desk-pad. They contain 31 important Konkokyo teachings to connect you to mutual fulfillment between yourself & Kami. Please take one for each family & put each teaching into practice every day in your life. If you do, I believe you will be blessed fully.
I hope you all feel as I do, that something of great importance for our lives has taken place in sharing together this once-in-a-lifetime ceremony.
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