Good morning, everyone! Happy New Day! Happy New Week! And a special thanks for attending today's service. Welcome to the monthly service for February 2020. I hope you are all in good health & excellent spirits.
As you know, last year (2019) was quite a commemorative year for us. Konkokyo celebrated the 160th Anniversary of the Divine Call; KC Airaku had the 25th Memorial Anniversary of the founding minister, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo; and KC Chicago held its 10th Anniversary Ceremony. I had welcomed each of these three events by "spiritually putting my best effort into believing the Divine Will." No matter what might've happened, I tried to develop the peace & joy of my heart. It was then that I felt Kami had allowed me to reach a higher spiritual place, or a greater depth of faith.
Therefore, I now have much greater enthusiasm for practicing my faith, for deepening my peaceful & joyful heart, so that it's even more unbreakable throughout this year, 2020. Also, I truly hope each one of you will join with me in fulfilling Kami's wishes for KC Chicago.
Daily I recite: "I prostrate myself in prayer before Tenchi Kane No Kami through the divine virtue & the mediation of our Founder & of Rev. Soichiro Otsubo. Please hear my prayer. As Rev. Otsubo & as our Founder always respected each & everything that happened as Kami's sacred working, and as they would undertake everything thankfully, cheerfully & with divine grace – no matter what would happen each second of their daily lives, I earnestly seek to be like that. Please allow such peace & joy to be developed within me that my spirit would never break. With such a peaceful joyful heart, please allow me to be of great service for opening this precious way of Konko faith for all human beings so that true world peace & real human happiness will be realized." This is my earnest prayer for each of us to help fulfill Kami's wishes for KC Chicago.
After our New Year's Day Ceremony, I asked each one attending to randomly pick a teaching either given by the Founder or by Rev. Soichiro Otsubo. There were 80 teachings printed on 80 pieces of paper for this year's random drawing. This time Mr. Masayoshi Shimo kindly folded each one. He had driven three hours, all the way from Indianapolis, to attend the Morning Prayer Service that day, and then joined our New Year's Day Ceremony held at 1 pm. While I was preparing for the ceremony, and my wife preparing Japanese dishes for New Year's, Mr. Shimo kindly prepared each teaching by carefully cutting each one & delicately folding them all.
I had prayed asking Kami to give each of us the teaching Kami most wanted us to think about & to put into practice this year. As each person drew out a teaching, I was amazed at the fact that everyone had chosen the most suitable teaching for themselves.
The teaching I received was: "For faith that quietly helps others, it's necessary to be spiritually rich & broad-minded." The more I thought of this teaching, the more I realized how suitable it was for me, and how by practicing it this year I would be able to fulfill more of Kami's wishes.
Nowadays we often hear the future of humanity would be determined in the coming 10 years. NHK in Japan had broadcasted a special documentary on New Year's Day, titled, "After 10 Years." There is to be a turning point in human history within 10 years. We are faced with many serious problems. A major problem is Global warming. If the earth's temperature increases more than 1.5 Celsius than from the time of the Industrial Revolution, then in ten years we will not to be able to control the climate and many parts of the world would easily be covered with flooding waters.
Serious disparities are causing severe water shortages and are accelerating poverty. The development of advanced technology creates artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced countries say they would deploy AI weapons in combat in ten years. It is becoming possible to create new life by genetic manipulation. Unless humans act on these problems, we will be rushing to our own ruin. As a Konko believer, what should we do? Please think seriously about it.
Through this documentary I also learned how plastic products are destroying the natural environment. So immediately I decided to take my shopping bags with me and not put my purchases into plastic bags.
Rev. Hiromichi Konko (who is expected to succeed our 5th Principal Mediator) gave a lecture in northern Kyushu last September. The title was: WAGAKOKORO START: LET'S LOOK FORWARD TO 10 YEARS. He also said, "This title springs from Heaven." Through these words I really felt Kami's earnest wish saving humankind.
Kami sincerely asks us to start in our daily life. From now on whatever happens & no matter how hard it might be for each & every moment of our life to maintain Wagakokoro, the peaceful & joyful heart. If this idea spreads throughout the whole world, we humans can look forward to our future in ten years. This is Kami's expectation for us human beings.
I have started my life with Wagakokoro every day from January 1. That is, focusing truly on deepening my peaceful & joyful heart each & every moment in my daily life to reverberate through Heaven & Earth. I believe the more I can achieve an unbreakable peace & joy in my heart, the more the importance of Wagakokoro shall spread naturally through me to the world. I eagerly wish to be of greater service for establishing the era of peaceful & joyful hearts throughout humanity.
I now think the teaching I received for this year is the most important faith attitude for me to serve Kami & people. Kami always asks me to be humble and selfless in whatever I do. With this in mind I will do my best to open this true way of Konko.
I really believe all of you received the most suitable teaching for you. You can reach closer to Kami's heart by putting that teaching into practice. I hope you will treasure it dearly. And please realize, the Divine wish is for each one of us to fulfill our selected teaching.
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