Good Morning everyone, welcome to the 4th day of this first week of October, 2015. I'm greatly honored to extend "Thanks" for taking time from your busy lives to be here for this monthly service for October. I hope all of you are in good health & excellent spirits.
Two weeks ago I was invited to join an interfaith event, titled, "Celebration of the New Year Festival of Faiths," organized by the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago (CRLMC). It was founded more than 30 years ago. This was in the mid 1980's; a time when racial tensions & social injustices were on the rise. CRLMC began when a group of concerned religious leaders in Chicago recognized a growing need in the community to understand cultural & religious differences & the vital need to learn how to peacefully work with each other.
Rev. Asayo Horibe asked the organization to invite me to their Sept. meeting. I had met her several years before. Since that time she has become a very important; religious associate for me.
I'm sure you're all familiar with the Great East Japan Earthquake hit in the Tohoku region of Pacific shoreline on Honshu, Friday, March 11th 2011. As you know, it was one of the biggest disasters in Japanese history. It caused a series of devastating tsunamis that swept away houses, cars & people in several towns & cities along the NE coastline. The magnitude of the devastation is beyond belief. The number of confirmed dead in the last 4 years has reached more than fifteen thousands & there are still thousands of people unaccounted for.
The Fukushima nuclear power plants were also severely damaged & they still threaten problems of the radiation exposure which is projected to take 40 or more years to resolve.
I decided that from March 16th to Oct. 10th, 2011, I would skip my lunch & donate an additional dollar to help Japan's recovery from that terrible disaster. It was a small effort. But it was at least something that I could do to help and realize that once it reached Kami's heart, Kami could more than doubled its divine virtue for myself & all around me.
On May 15th, two months later as I skipped my lunch, I was invited to join the Chicago Interfaith Celebration. Rev. Horibe sent the invitation. The event was to be held at the Downtown-J.W. Marriott Hotel in a ballroom which is gorgeous! I didn't know exactly what kind of celebration it was going to be - even after I'd been there for a while. Then it finally dawned on me; this interfaith gathering was to celebrate the inauguration of Mr. Rahm Emanuel, the new mayor of our city.
More than 300 ministers & leaders were gathered from more than 50 different religions to pray for Kami's wisdom & workings to be manifested through our new mayor's policies & actions.
We were served a luxurious meal. As I enjoyed it I realized Kami had been very closely watching over me & rewarded my small effort to skip my lunch, & help the recovery from the March 11th earthquake & blessed me in that way.
While witnessing the New Year presentations from each religious group in the two-weeks-ago event I could not help but think that there were so many religions in the world & the members of each religious group were proud of their own religion. There were similarities & differences from each other about how to revere & manifest each deity. Among so many religions each one of us chooses their own religion to practice to reach fulfillment with Kami.
Now I have some seekers of our faith from 7 states who have exchanged e-mail with me to know more about the Konko Faith. Through doing so, one of them who lives in Virginia state told me he would like to become a member of KC Chicago. Among so many religions in the world they are interested in the Konko faith & may choose it as their own religion, which is the most precious. When I think in that way, I feel I will have to respond them as sincerely as possible & give my best knowledge & belief in our faith while they continue to e-mail me.
In one Japanese proverb it says. "Anyone who comes will be welcomed & you should not chase anyone who leaves." My parent minister, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo often said, "Flow in & flow out. While someone is with us, give every ounce of our faith to anyone who will listen."
I will do my best to give anyone everything that I have learned & experienced about Kami; even though some of them might later, not seek to contact me any more.
The late Rev. Toshio Miyake, founding minister of KC Izuo, Osaka, was an important religious leader who helped organize the World Conference on Religion & Peace (WCRP). WCRP is an international organization of representatives of the world's major religious traditions who meet to study & act upon global problems affecting peace, justice, & human survival. The first World Conference on Religion & Peace (1st World Assembly) was held in Kyoto, Japan, in October 1970.
Rev. Otsubo first met Rev. Miyake in 1978. A group of young ministers in Osaka wanted to have the assembly to influence all Konkokyo churches in the best way possible. They invited Revs. Miyake & Otsubo to that assembly in Osaka as guest lecturers. At that time Rev. Otsubo said to Rev. Miyake as follows: "When they ask everyone to join hands together with each other at the next meeting of WCPR, why wouldn't you suggest to raise their hands up pointing toward heaven, instead of leaving their hands pointing toward the floor?"
It is sometimes allowed to be egotistical even though joining hands together humbly if pointing them toward earth. This way holding our hands up means we leave everything up to Kami & realize we have no power, no ability & no talent before Kami. We are not allowed to have our own ego in the slightest when we join hands together above. I think it will be the real cooperation among religions.
It is not only necessary; but very important for all religions to join hands together above in order to make this world an ideal place for humans. We need to cooperate together by respecting the wisdom traditions of all the world's faiths. We should recognize & accept their differences without judgment & learn new ways of seeing the uniqueness of the universe. I believe genuine humility is most significant to achieving this acceptance.
Humbleness (as defined in Kojien
[Japanese Dictionary, Second
Edition]: the heart which tries
persistently to obey the will of God,
gravely aware of oneself being
weak & small, of its powerlessness,
Let us therefore, to work together to become ready to share with anyone & recognize any religion for the betterment of our whole world. Let us seek to find the ideal characteristics of religions' harmony which can unite the human race live in a hope filled faith for the future. Thank you!
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