Hello, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying good health and in excellent spirits. Thank you very much for attending today's service, which is our first for the month October.
As you know, 2009 is the year our Konko Faith celebrates the 150th Anniversary of its unique beginning. We in Chicago are going to commemorate this great event by holding a dedication ceremony of our new, Konko Church of Chicago in less than 30 days. We have received word that for this celebration we can expect 20 guests from Japan, 9 guests from Canada, 18 guests from the West Coast of the USA, 2 from the East Coast and even a minister from Brazil, South America.
Rev. Keiki Otsubo will lead the 20 guests from Japan. He is the assistant head-minister of the Konko Church of Airaku. When he was born more than 30 years ago, his grandfather the late Rev. Soichiro Otsubo, founding minister of Airaku church, received the name "Keiki" from Kami. Kami said to him, "The Chinese characters of Keiki are to be written as follows: Kei meaning blessing and Ki is formed from the two symbols for 'soil'and 'accomplishment.'Therefore, when this new baby-boy, born as your third generation, masters the earthly nature of the universe, he and the Airaku church will surely be blessed with each other."
The earth's nature in the universe is to accept everything calmly and be silent as the face of the earth. No matter how filthy something may be to us, the earth doesn't say, "I hate foul smelling things like that," or "such dirty things are unacceptable!"
But it does more than just keep silent. It takes everything it receives in as nourishment. This is what Rev. Otsubo came to discover as "the earthly nature of the universe."
Konko Daijin taught,
"There is a folk song which goes,
'Oh, young pines! You are the symbol of happiness. You will grow, spreading your branches with lush pine needles.'
Konko Daijin teaches the way of the prosperity of your family and descendants."
But in human history it is very rare to find families who prosper from one generation to generation for long.
While Rev. Otsubo trained himself intensely by following the teachings of Konko Daijin, he wanted to achieve a way of prosperity that would last from generation to generation as Konko Daijin had promised. Thankfully, he found the Way.
Receive and respect whatever happens each and every day as Kami's doing. And more, try to develop a peaceful and joyful heart through whatever happens in our daily lives. That is the way to attain the earthly nature of the universe.
When I learned Rev. Keiki Otsubo would lead the guests from Japan, I saw it as Kami wanting me to develop my earthly nature more perfectly. I believe my way is by serving Kami and the people of Chicago from this moment, through our Dedication Ceremony and forward on into the future.
I received a revelation from Kami the other day when I sat at morning prayers silently to myself at 4:00 am. I saw the following image with my inner eye.
I was praying in front of the Kami altar at the Airaku Church. Behind me seemed to be all the guests from Airaku who would intend our Dedication Ceremony in Chicago. In front of me I saw Rev. Eishiro Otsubo, the fourth son of Rev. Soichiro Otsubo, praying toward the Kami alter.
Suddenly I realized that in this revelation from Kami, the message was the same as the one I told you about earlier for the meaning of the name "Keiki." The Chinese characters for Eishiro also consist of two parts. "Ei" meaning prosperity and "Shiro" which uses the same, written character as the "Ki" of "Keiki."
To me this meant, Kami wants the new Konko Church of Chicago also, to prosper by developing "the earthly nature of the universe." As I said, this can happen when we believe that everything that occurs is Kami's doing.
For those who try to develop peace and joy in their heart through each and every thing that happens, it is quite out of the question to achieve it through anger or by blaming others or complaining excessively. We can measure of how successfully we have developed our heart by realizing how quickly we get angry. Or by how quickly we blame others or being aware of how frequently we complain.
I don't find this easy to do... and I have been trying to do it for a long time! My heart has still not reached the stage of the unbreakability. However I do my best to move steadily toward that goal. And to that end, I would like to have our Dedication Ceremony filled with people who would like to accept the challenge of developing hearts filling with peace and joy. If so we can succeed in this together, Kami's glory will surely appear in this great year of celebration. Thank you!
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