Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, Week & Month, Today we celebrate our monthly service for April, 2016. I hope you are all in good health & in excellent spirits.
In the Konko Religion Faith is not practiced to become great or wise; it is practice in becoming grateful. It is to live never forsaking the pursuit of a vividly & truly grateful heart.
It is impossible for everyone to become great or wise. But... Through faithful practice it is possible to become humbly grateful for everything that happens in our lives if we really wish to. The Divine Parent of the Universe is most pleased to see humans do their best to be grateful in everything they do, That is because humble faithfulness leads to attaining a genuine heart & mutual fulfillment with the Divine Parent. Those who focus on being grateful for whatever happens in their life; no matter what it is, or how hard it might be; will come to find that this world is filled with the benevolence of the Divine Parent - & that all is Divine Love.
Moreover, the thing to be most grateful for is that the Divine Parent does not withhold divine blessings until people accomplish their gratitude to perfection first. The Divine Parent pours out blessings to those who are doing their best to become thankful even if they haven't achieved that thankfulness perfectly as yet.
Our daughter Hiroko, has a very good friend named Rei Nakamura who lives in Japan. She & Hiroko are about the same age. Rei has 4 children.
Her first child was a daughter named Minori Nakamura. Minori is now in the 4th grade. She has a brother named Kiichiro Nakamura, who is 3-years-younger than Minori & had severe health problems when he was born.
He was diagnosed at birth as having both bifida myelomeningocele & hydrencephalus. His parents Mr. Seiko Nakamura & wife, Rei, have done their best to accept their son's illness with gratitude as Kami's doing & have renewed themselves to deepen peace & joy in their hearts in spite of this illness.
Before the Nakamura's took Kiichiro home from the hospital when he was born the doctor said that in a worst case scenario he might not stand up & he could even be bedridden all his life. But because of the whole family's faith, eventually he was able to stand up... In an even greater blessing; he was able to walk; but it took a long, LONG time. Now; he can even run!
Minori Nakamura is now 9-years-old & she wrote an essay, titled "My brother" which was adopted in a human rights' collection of compositions chosen by the city of Kurume. I would like to share it with you.
(by Minori Nakamura, third grade student of the Kusano Elementary School at that time.)
"I have three brothers. The first brother was born when I was three years old. I was so delighted to become a sister that my heart went pit-a-pat & I was thrilled at it.
I was happy to hear that he was safely delivered. However he was brought to hospital by an ambulance, because he was born with lesion. I could not have a look at his face.
He persevered in two surgeries soon after birth. I could not see my mother for a while as well so that I missed her very much. The operations were success, but my parentswere told that he might neither stand up nor walk. He might be bedridden when things would come to the worst.
I prayed everyday for him to stand up. My wish might be answered. My brother could stand up. He could walk though it took a long time. He could even go to kindergarten. I was very pleased to see him play at the kindergarten. He now has plenty of bounce so that he can fight with me.
We will go to elementary school together the next year. I am not only greatly looking forward to it, but also feel anxious about it. I would like to guard him when something happens to him.
At first I felt bitter or sad to have a brother who was born physically handicapped. However I have learned that it is not a matter of course to stand up & walk due to the fact that I have a disabled brother. I have learned the importance of life through him.
I would like to make my life valuable that my father & my mother gave me.
Lastly I would like to extend my thanks to Kiichiro by being born as my brother & to my father & mother to give birth to me."
Her mother; Rei-san's second son, was also born with lesion. He was diagnosed with severe autism. His name is Kouki Nakamura. He will soon be 4 years old, & he still cannot talk or control his emotions.
Rei-san says, "I was blessed with Kiichiro who has physical lesion & Kouki who has a mental lesion. All I can say is that without the way of this faith & my grandfather, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo's teachings, I don't see how I could have survived. Through those lesions & a practice faith by which; to clinging onto Kami, I can leaving everything up to Kami & see everything from Kami's constant gift of Love. From them I have learned we are not allowed to live through each & every moment without Kami's blessings. If they had been born in good health, what on earth could I have directed my heart to Kami as deeply I do as right now?
Kiichiro & Kouki have grown up with Kami's special care & we are blessed everyday more than I expected. I really wish to have deep, sincere faith to support them & become a light to lead both of them to be of service to the world."
Their father, Mr. Seiko Nakamura. has also practiced faith sincerely through the health problems of his sons. He has realized Kami's vivid workings time & time again until now. He has decided to become a trainee at KC Airaku & become a Konko minister to serve Kami & people.
The late Rev. Soichiro Otsubo once told us, "Believing the way of this faith is to practice to become grateful, I have focused on it throughout my life. Now the gratitude wells up in my heart at any time. I think it is the fruit of my efforts to practice in becoming grateful, believing that each & every happening is the material of becoming thankful. Even if the earth were to be destroyed after praying sincerely for true world peace & the prosperity of human beings, I would wish to accept it with gratitude."
When I first heard these words, I really recognized the greatness of Rev. Otsubo's gratitude & the importance of sincere & constant practice in becoming grateful.
Let us all begin to practice faith to become grateful through everything that happens in our daily life. Let each of us become a person who will have the most grateful heart in the world.
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