Good Morning Everyone! Thank you so very much for attending our monthly service for June, 2017. I hope you are all in excellent health & in bright, warm Summer-spirits.
As you know, we had our Tenchi Kane No Kami Grand Ceremony on Sunday, May 28. Thanks to the prayers of those like all of you, it was filled with Kami's awesome workings. Even though the broadcast said it would be cloudy with a chance of rain, we were blessed with fine weather.
Rev. Takao Kishii came from Toronto to officiate the service and deliver his sermon for it, even though he had returned back from Japan just two days before, which we really appreciated. His sermon was brilliant as always and made us realize how blessed we were daily through Kami's infinite benevolence.
I have prayed for young people in the world to get to know the Konko Faith to serve the betterment of the world. I wrote the following poem of mine in December 2015 to keep this prayer in mind:
"To you young people!
Your true Way to happiness
Is found in this Faith.
Come & learn it faithfully;
Become a light of the world!"
Three young members of the Wagakokoro Society, Ash, Patrick & Joe joined us in this ceremony from St. Louis. A young lady, Jasper, came all the way from Kansas City to participate in it. She took the bus from Kansas City to St. Louis and received a ride from Ash to our church. It took twelve hours. It was the first time for her to visit the Konko Church and attend a Grand Ceremony. She was almost moved to tears at the ceremony. Joseph from Skokie also joined us in this ceremony for the first time in two years. I was very happy to see these young Americans at the ceremony and knew they wished to deepen their faiths.
On top of that, the ceremony was blessed with Kibigaku music. Jamal played the Japanese traditional flute and my wife Kanako played the Koto. I believe Kami was pleased to listen to their beautiful sound.
Twenty-three adults and six kids witnessed this solemn & beautiful ceremony. I realized they were well balanced in ages from young to old.
This is the year of the Rooster in the 12 year cycle of the historic Asian Lunar Calendar. Konko Daijin faced the greatest ordeals in his life 144 years ago, the year of the Rooster. The Meiji government ordered Konko Daijin to remove all of the altar fixtures. He did so & sat behind the Worship Place. Because of the government, he was totally denied his way of connecting believers with Kami as he had been doing before. It was as though his life & Japan would come to an end. He stood at the crossroads of his life of faith. At first he fell in the depths of despair. That was why Kami told him, "Take a rest without feeling disappointed."
But after being denied all the appearances of his faith, he quickly accepted this as Kami's working and devoted himself single-heartedly to looking into his own heart, to seek & understand Kami's heart through this event. He said to himself, "What are Kami's intentions in this? Even if there is no Worship Place & no mediator, no matter what happens, will we still be able to receive Kami's Divine blessings at any time or place?"
Kami didn't respond to these inner prayers of our Founder's for more than three weeks. But due to this silence of Kami's, our Founder couldn't help but look into his heart more deeply & trusted Kami more completely, believing this was Kami's work. At the same time Kami carefully watched over him without saying anything during this time. Then the time was ripe. Kami finally found the person who Kami could express Kami's true feelings and reveal the unprecedented truth of Kami's. The Divine Reminder was revealed to our Founder for the first time in human history. How delighted both Kami and our Founder were!
From then on, our Founder put the Divine Reminder into practice in his daily life for 10 years. Then at the year of his passing he gave this farewell poem to his older son, Hagio Konko:
"The true way of Konko
Has been made clear,
Shines through Heaven,
And will last forever."
What a marvelous conviction our Founder had about the true way of Konko. It is the way based totally on this declaration which has come to be known as "the Divine Reminder" and actually is "The Reminder of Tenchi Kane No Kami." It leads us surely to mutual fulfillment between Kami and humanity. It is the way to manifest true world peace. This true way of Konko will shine through Heaven and last forever.
The Divine Reminder is the essence of the Konko Faith. All the teachings of our Founder's are summarized in this Divine Reminder. The true way of Konko is to put it into practice in our daily life. If we do so, Kami's glory will surely appear.
That was why I had a strong desire to have this Chicago Tenchi Kane No Kami Grand Ceremony as that of the Divine Reminder. First through practice I should realize completely that the peaceful & joyful heart would be the essential foundation for human happiness. Then Kami's workings would be vividly revealed. With that joy I would do my best to establish the era of peaceful & joyful hearts of people in the world. Then this time I felt Kami's workings more precisely than ever while I had prepared for it and during the ceremony.
When I was mowing the lawn with a manual lawnmower, I thought I could not finish it by dusk. So anyway I recited the Divine Reminder in my mind and tried to do so with gratitude. To my surprise, the neighbor suddenly appeared and lent me his power lawnmower. I finished in no time and swept the lawn & pavement just as it started to rain.
As I mentioned before, the ceremony was filled with peace & joy of those who gathered here together. After the service we drank a toast with the Japanese sake, called "Dassai." Mitsunori, our older son brought it back from Japan on his first business trip to Japan in April. "Dassai" has been the most popular Japanese sake for a couple years. Not only it is said to be very delicious, but this sake can also be made with the same high quality by anyone who follows the recipe very carefully. It has long been said the Japanese sake's quality to be determined by the experience & sense of the chief brewer of each sake brewery.
I think it the same way with the Divine Reminder. Our Founder received it for the first time in human history, but it is not intended to be just for him. Anyone can put the Divine Reminder into practice and become a Living Being like our Founder.
When I came back driving Rev. Kishii to the O'hare airport, Mr. Michael Knuppel was cleaning the floor with the vacuum cleaner.
I realized Kami was working all the time & everything... especially this time, in our beautiful ceremony. My heart was full of joy throughout that day. I felt Kami had given all of us a very special ceremony to show us the wonders of following the Divine Reminder. It is the power & joy of Kami's Divine Heart. Kami has the power to provide such awesome joy.
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