Monthly Service in November : November 13, 2016

Good Morning Everyone! Thank you very much for attending today's monthly service for November. I hope you are all in good health & excellent spirits.

As you know, the Chicago Cubs won the first World Series in 108 years & washed away the longest championship drought by any major American sports team. The Cubs defeated the Indians 8-7 in an incredible 10-inning marathon in the decisive game 7 that stretched into Thursday November 3 morning in Cleveland. How excited & grateful we were as Chicagoans!

The Cubs is one of the America's most lovable sport teams. The Cubs fans are all over the North America & cheers their team even if they are repeatedly defeated. They are known as the 'Lovable Losers' & the Cubs fans go to the ball parks to encourage their team even during its long slump. That team became the world champion for the first time since 1908. The joy & happiness of people in Chicago was beyond measure.

The next day, Friday November 4 there was the world champion parade downtown Chicago. The parade started from the Wrigley Fields at 10:40 am to the Grant Park downtown Chicago. As if Kami would celebrate it, the weather was perfect, around 60 degrees F without any clouds. 5 million people gathered along the parade & at the Grant Park, wishing to look at the historic moment even at a glance.

Throughout that day Chicago was filled with joy & excitement. The flags fluttered here & there which a big character 'W' was written on. As Rev. Mitsuaki Otsubo mentioned, we saw that 'W' as 'W' of Wagakokoro, or peaceful & joyful heart. We could not help but sense that Kami would be aspiring for the blessings to embrace the whole world with such joy & excitement of Wagakokoro. We sincerely pray to Kami for us to be of great service for accomplishing such Kami's wish.

The Cubs all the way to the world champion was filled with Kami's dramatic workings through the whole series. The Cubs fell behind three games to one. Only three teams, & none since the 1997 Pirates, had overcome such a deficit to win the championship on the road.

I felt Kami's dramatic workings especially for the decisive 7th game. The score 8-7 was the best & the most interesting in the baseball match. It is said as 'Roosevelt game,' because US president Roosevelt mentioned as such.

At the start the Cubs managed to get somehow runs from the best pitcher in the Indians, Kluber & had an advantage over the Indians. Even more the Cubs starter was one of the best pitchers, Hendricks. However the umpire called a ball for the last batter of the Indians at 5th inning to give him a walk. For me it seemed a strike. After the video showed, it clearly was a strike. Because of that the Cubs manager Madden changed the pitcher from Hendricks to Lester.

Madden has been calm & resourceful, one of the best managers in the League. He sometimes took unexpected measures to turn out reasonable & almost always in success. I have admired his management. However I thought this change was too early, because Hendricks was getting his pitch carried away.

The next pitcher, Lester was the best pitcher in the Cubs this year. It was the last game so that it had to be given all. Lester threw carelessly a wild pitch so that the Indians got two runs in the 5th inning. The score became 5-3. Through the TV picture I felt the Cubs catcher Ross had great responsibilities for this mistake. Then Ross hit a home run. This gave the Cubs 6-3 lead. Lester had a good pitching rhythm & then gave a walk after two outs in the 7th inning. Then the manager Madden used the closer, Chapman. I also thought it was too early & he used Chapman too much through this Series.

As I expected, Chapman threw less faster than his normal pitch. That was why the Indians scored three runs in the 8th inning & became a tie game. The Indians caught up with the Cubs so that the Indians was in high spirits.

Then it started to rain just before the 10th inning. Rain, glorious cool rain fell on Progressive Field in Cleveland just as the Cubs were about to flush away their 108th consecutive season without a World Series title, in their most harrowing manner yet. The rain fell not in a deluge or in buckets, but in a gentle spray, as if the timer on heaven's sprinklers had kicked in. It fell with the minimal amount of force necessary to coax umpires into stopping the seventh game of the 112th World Series. That rain stopped the game for 17 minutes.

This rain turned out to be a blessing for the Cubs. During the delay the Cubs prayers had a meeting in their clubhouse to encourage themselves. They all were refreshed to energize themselves again.

With determined spirits the Cubs scored two runs in the 10th inning. Though the Indians scored one run in the bottom of it, the Cubs became the world Champion. What a dramatic game it was!

I could not help but sense that especially the rain, even the umpire's mistake & the mistakes of the resourceful manager Madden, all of these were Kami's workings to lead to give the Cubs a dramatic win.

Tenchi Kane No Kami wishes for the dramatic scene. In order to fulfill this wish of Kami's we should accept with gratitude what we think wrong, what we dislike & what we think as difficulties, which I greatly felt.

By the way, the Chicago city has a population of 3 million people. There were 5 million Cubs fans gathered to celebrate the world champion. The joy & the excitement there was beyond imagination.

I will do my best to deepen peace & joy in my heart more precisely to embrace the whole world with this joy & excitement of Wagakokoro than ever.

To change the subject, I was stunned on Wednesday November 9 when Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the electoral vote count to become the 45th president of the United States.

During the campaign I had listened to the all three presidential debates for the first time in my life. I thought Trump had no policy; only his slogan "To make America great again" to attract white low-income people. All he did was just attack Hillary. In his biography he wrote as follows: "Bluff is indispensable. I call it an exaggeration of truth." Well, he certainly knows how to manipulate people as he wishes.

Hillary had made careless mistakes by using her private e-mail for public business in serving as Secretary of the State, which could be a crime if something serious had been found. If she didn't make this mistake, I thought she would easily win an victory.

During the debates Hillary sometimes talked about her policy based on the platform of the Democratic party: helping the middle-class people, opening to the immigrants, clean energy & better education etc. I had quite expectations on her, making her policy better for people, especially young people, because of the influence of Bernie Sanders' campaign.

On election day I hoped Hillary would win, but I didn't know what was Kami's wish for this election. Therefore I sincerely prayed for Kami's wish to this election to be fulfilled throughout that day. Trump overturned the anticipation & won.

The next morning I was a little bit disappointed with the result of election. I had my silent & regular service prayers beginning at 4:00 am as usual. I prayed & prayed for Kami's wishes to be fulfilled for the USA & the world. Then I returned to the Mediation desk & opened the Wagakokoro Sacred book. Kami indicated me the following teachings. 1st of our founder & 2nd a mini-interpretation of Rev. Soichiro Otsubo's of it. I found Kami's answer to this election in them.

Our founder's teaching #10 said - "If Tenchi Kane No Kami were to enter a shrine, the light of the world would turn dark."

Rev. Otsubo's interpretation for this teaching said, "Instead of physical arrangements, pray for spiritual arrangements. Kami is endlessly providing light & offering us relief & joy. The way of light is indicated to those who believe. Then a world of light will be open ahead. For people who doubt & can't believe, they can only feel their way along in the dark. When you decide to turn to Kami, you will definitely feel a reply."

Through this I believe Kami showed me the following: "Don't lose your way by focusing on physical appearances & treasure your heart. No matter how dark things in the world get, do your best to deepen the light of your heart. Then a world of light will be open ahead, because Kami endlessly provides the perfect light; offering us relief & joy.

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