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 9 guests coming from Japan. Then joining us for today's celebration are ministers & believers from Canada, and the West Coast of the USA. There are also young believers from other states; and of course, many friends and believers from the Chicago area. All have generously taken time from their busy schedules to attend this celebration today. Thank you, each & every one so very, very much!
What a golden opportunity we have this year to deepen our faith. There's our 10th Anniversary, and the celebration of the 160th Anniversary of our founder's Divine Call. And there is also the 25th Memorial Anniversary for my mentor, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo, the founding minister of KC Airaku – where I trained under his guidance for nearly 20 years.
The last time I saw my parent minister in the USA, Rev. Nobuharu Uzunoe, he had asked what I would wish for this celebration & how I would celebrate it. He also added that it would not be good to just have a festival.
So, first I would like to extend my appreciation to everyone who has helped me deepen my faith and supported me while I served Kami & people in Chicago. It was the Revs. Nobuharu & Michie Uzunoe who invited me to be an associate minister at KC Portland. Thanks to their prayers & great guidance I am now serving Kami & people here in Chicago.
Even so, more than that, I would like to express my gratitude to my parents & for the faith they had. Their faith has led me to be who I am today. That is why I had an earnest desire to publish a book about my parents' faith – both in English & Japanese. It is the commemorative publication for this 10th anniversary celebration. To my parents' honor & to my great joy, today all three their children gather here in this celebration.
The title of this booklet is "All is Divine Love."
Let me quote from the introduction:
"Konkokyo is celebrating the 160th Anniversary of The Divine Call all over the world this year 2019. We cannot help but feel the Founder's earnest wish, as he has stated, he is 'aspiring for blessings to embrace the world with this faith.'"
The year before his passing our Founder received the following revelation:
"No one is aware of the blessings of Heaven & Earth which enable people to live. Kami shall have people become aware of the blessings of Heaven & Earth by having Konko Daijin be born throughout the world in every country where the sun shines, without exception."
What are the blessings of Heaven & Earth? It is to know that everything that happens is Kami's sacred doing; it is to realize that 'All is Divine Love.' My father, Michinori Takeuchi, throughout his lifetime sought to find the contents of 'All is Divine Love,' and then he had practiced his beautiful way of faith in accordance with that content. The faith of my father & mother has greatly influenced who I am today. And, there is no way I can express enough my deep appreciation to them.
Their faith has been presented in English at the 2014 KCNA Conference in Toronto for the Spirituality Bridge. And in Japanese, it was shared during the 10th Memorial Anniversary of my father last year.
The Konko Church of Chicago is celebrating an anniversary of 10 years in this Konkokyo commemorative year. I wanted to introduce my parents' faith to the world with this commemorative publication that we now offer to Kami. There is one for each family. I hope all of you would get deep insights into how my father had sought for the true way of Konko with all his heart.
As you have just heard from my sister, Emiko Otsubo, she can now live her life without a barrier between this world & the next world by pursuing in her daily life "All is Divine Love."
I know she loved her husband, Rev. Mitsuaki Otsubo, so much. Even so, she has never felt lonely after he passed away last year at age 68. That is because she has realized his presence so close through each & every happening in her daily life. That is what amazes me the most. That has drastically changed my view of 'Life & Death.'
Our founder taught us, "Because humans are born through the blessings of Kami, they must also die with the blessings of Kami. Therefore, if a child's birth is a happy event, then death is a much happier event since one becomes a kami under Konko Daijin's guidance." Now I believe in this statement with strong conviction.
Each time I offer prayer, not just in front of the altar but in my heart at any place or at any time, I primarily recite this prayer:
"This unworthy self that I am, prays through our Founder's divine virtue & his mediation, so please, Tenchi Kane No Kami, listen to my prayers. May I respect each & every happening as Kami's sacred doing gracefully, brightly and thankfully like our Founder & Rev. Soichiro Otsubo did. While welcoming the 10th Anniversary let me develop such unbreakable peace & joy in my heart so the true way of Konko will spread to the whole world."
I hope you all feel as I do, that something of great importance for our lives has taken place today by sharing together this once-in-a-lifetime ceremony.
I thank you for attending and being a part of this anniversary.
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