Monthly Service in August : August 6, 2017

Good Morning everyone, thank you for attending our monthly service for August. I hope you are all in good health & excellent spirits.

Today we celebrate this service & pray for students to improve themselves in all aspects of their academic education. Our founder prayed for young people to have good health & education. He said, "For young people, have them become smart & able to remember things well."

Young people are treasures of the world. It is vitally important for an upcoming generation to improve themselves physically, mentally & spiritually in order to be of great service to the world.

I now really feel young American people want to know the Konko Faith once they are introduced to it. There are many religions in the world. Among them, they sense some important message in our faith. We should be open-minded to them whenever they want to contact us through email or something else. I would like to do my best to show them all that I know about our faith.

Today, we also honor, the 50th Day Unification service of the late Rev. Setsuo Furuya; father of our families' wife & mother, Kanako.

I sincerely want to welcome anyone who genuinely seeks to know about our faith & not pursue those who leave our faith like water, flowing in & out like the tides in the sea. While they are within our Konko community, I will devote myself to telling them the important & unique aspects of our faith that I've learned & experienced over the years.

The Konko Faith teaches that is the 'absolute' way to achieve human fulfillment which connects us with Kami. Our faith believes that by living ordinary human lives, we can come to feel Kami all around us. Thus we can share mutual fulfillment with Kami. For that we need to connect with Kami's Divine heart. That is the nature of the universe & there are three different aspects of that nature. They are: heavenly, earthly & orderly natures of the universe.

This is how I've come to understand the heavenly nature of the universe. That is; the heavenly nature of the universe is characterized by being able to connect with an inexhaustible capacity of generosity. It's a nature of limitless giving like the sun, which shines equally all over the entire world.

This earthly nature of the universe accepts everything calmly, without judgment. It is silent like the natural surface of the earth. No matter how we humans see things as being filthy, the earth (if it could talk) wouldn't say, "I hate foul smelling things like rotting" or "Such dirty things should be out or thrown away!"

But it does more than simply accept these intense smells of decomposition in silence. It accepts rot & oxidized matter into itself for nourishment. The earthly nature of the universe blesses us with beautiful, fragile flowers in the spring & life giving fruit & vegetables in the autumn.

And so in the orderly nature of the universe - there is nothing we can think of that is more faithful & generous than the universe itself. Three hundred & sixty-five days a year - without rest, it works without losing a minute or a second. Wouldn't it be awful if one day the sun could say something like, "This is too much work! I'm tired. I've worked hard enough, so I think I'll take a break?"

This faithful dedication can be seen in no better place than in our solar system. It should be a perfect reminder to us that nothing is more appropriate to compare our lives with than the faithful, orderly nature of the universe.

Our founder taught us the importance of acquiring & emulating these natures of the universe. We should accept each & everything that happens to us as our respect for 'This is by the heavenly nature. That is by the earthly nature. Here is by the orderly nature.' Then our heart comes closer to closer to that of Kami and becomes a part of Kami. Thus we can develop mutual fulfillment with Kami.

The Konko Faith also teaches how to achieve true, permanent world peace. Our founder taught one of his disciples, "If people lose their belief in the teaching, 'On this very day pray with a single heart. Divine blessings are within your own peaceful & joyful heart,' the world will be submerged in turmoil. The glory of Kami & the glory of parents would be gone."

In other words, if people faithfully follow & deepen this insight in their hearts, Kami's glory will appear & true world peace will be attained.

Kami's glory is the way to achieve true world peace. For that we should practice faith to deepen peace & joy in our heart by respecting each & every happening as Kami's doing.

An Atomic Bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, Japan on this day 72 years ago, thatis, on August 6, 1945 for the first time in human history. More than 100,000 people were instantly killed. During my patrol prayer I couldn't help but pray to attain true world peace. I also pray that we all would become the persons whose prayers would directly reach Kami at any time.

As I said earlier, Rev. Setsuo Furuya peacefully passed into the next world with a smile on his face at age 90 on Saturday, June 17 at 11:25 am, Japan time. I believe he entered the next world after finally accomplishing his depth of faith training & became a Living Being.

The following morning, I offered my prayer of appreciation to Kami for Rev. Furuya's life & prayed for the eternal peace & happiness of his Mitama spirit. As I always do next, I then opened the Wagakokoro Sacred book to pray for him. I found the selected teaching for that day was #18 of our founder which can be summarized as: "Anyone can become a Living Being. The Living Being is that within one's heart a truly wonderful feeling is born. This is the birth of a Living Being. Nurturing this feeling will lead the way to becoming a Living Being."

I felt Kami was clearly telling me that Rev. Setsuo Furuya had achieved this throughout his life.

I hear that any spirits who enter the next world train themselves hard to become the real Mitama spirits for 50 days and then unify their ancestral spirits. I also hear our sincerity toward those spirits helps them in their spiritual trainings. Therefore we have always kept praying for him and offered the "Newly Departed Soul Prayer" for him three times a day in our daily prayer services since he passed away and until today.

During these 50 days I have felt closer to closer to his spirit day by day. And I have realized he had spiritually tried to be a master of two ways, the Airaku way and the way of his home church like a master of two-sword fencing, similar to Musashi Miyamoto. I now feel Kami wants me to be a master of two ways, the Airaku way and the way of KCNA or both ways of Kami and humanity.

Each sermon of mine for the monthly services seems like a kind of diary of KC Chicago. I try to talk about what happens during the periods between two monthly services, how I realize Kami's workings for them and how I try to deepen my faith. In that sense I would like to lastly add our first conference committee meeting in this speech of mine.

KC Chicago will host the 2018 KCNA Conference next year from Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 22 with KC Toronto as co-host. The pre-conference will start from Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Thanks to the hard work of our Chief Administrative Minister of KCNA, Rev. Amy Uzunoe, we have already made a contract with Loyola University to use its facilities for our 2018 KCNA Conference in Chicago.

10 members gathered together to our church to form the conference committee on Saturday, July 15 and had our first conference committee meeting. Then we went on the campus tour of Loyola University to see its facilities and know their locations there. Then we returned back to our church to have the follow-up meeting.

In the first conference committee meeting we decided the chairperson for our 2018 Chicago conference and the leader of each committee. We also selected the guest speaker for our Chicago conference.

The president of our believers' association, Mr. Tim Ogawa will be the chairperson for our 2018 KCNA conference. He willingly accepted it and everyone swore to help him for the great success of our conference.

I believe we chose the best guest speaker for our conference. It is now on the process of the final decision. Wait and see!

While having our committee meeting and campus tour, my joy welled up in my mind because I felt great enthusiasm in everyone for wanting an enjoyable & successful Chicago conference. Thank you!

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