Sermon from the September 2018 issue of “Konkokyo-ho: Ametsuchi”

 The Faith That I Want to Show Others

By the Rev. Tokinobu Hasegawa

Konko Church of Ko’ojimachi

(From the September 2018 issue)

 

The Father I hated who passed away

教話(長谷川師)3

More than 10 years ago, when I was a student at the Konkokyo Seminary School, I was working at the First-Aid station near Shūtokuden (Faith Training Center) on the Sacred Grounds of Konko Faith.  It was a day when the main worship hall was holding a ceremony.  Back in those days, I hardly knew anything about the Konko Faith and Konko churches.

One of the Konko ministers I was working with in the First-Aid station was kind enough to tell me about the late Reverend Matsu Hasegawa, the Founding Minister of the Konko Church of Ko’ojimachi.  During our conversation, I was looking at Shūtokuden. More than 10 years later, I am now able to give my sermon right here in Shūtokuden.  This is something I never imagined. 続きを読む

As We Hold the Grand Ceremony for Tenchi Kane No Kami (the Divine Parent of the Universe) ~Now Is The Time we Should Direct our Hearts to Kami~

The Konkokyo Headquarters’ Administrative Office underwent departmental reorganization. The new streamlined system has been in effect since January, 2020. A few months have gone by and while we were preparing for the upcoming Grand Ceremony for Tenchi Kane No Kami (the Divine Parent of the Universe), an unexpected situation arose.

Towards the end of last year (2019), China had an outbreak of “A (type of) pneumonia; cause unknown,” which we later heard on the news turned out to be an infection triggered by the “Novel Coronavirus.” I knew that this illness has been occurring “now,” in real time, yet it still seemed like a problem taking place far away from Japan.

However, as soon as February arrived, this virus began to spread here in Japan, too. And we made sure to “gargle, wash our hands and wear masks” at the Konkokyo Headquarters. But this level of personal precautions was soon no longer enough, and on February 20th, the Japanese government issued a “Message To Our Fellow Japanese Citizens Regarding Holding Events.” As a nation, Japan became committed to preventing the Novel Coronavirus from spreading throughout our country.

One day, the mayor of Asakuchi City, (in which Konkokyo’s Sacred Grounds is located) gave us this message, “Please do be careful when you hold a ceremony, since it will probably attract a lot of worshippers.” The very next day, Asakuchi City decided to shut down all public facilities and all events from February 26th to March 15th were cancelled. The news, which initially seemed to be happening quite far from here, was gradually, but steadily encroaching upon us, day-by-day. Now that this disease is exceedingly close, we could not help but feel we were on the verge of a crisis.

Caught in the middle of this pandemic, we were faced with a huge dilemma, “How should we hold the Spring Grand Ceremony for Tenchi Kane No Kami?”

Konkokyo’s Grand Ceremony is not just a regular event or gathering. We, therefore, were fully determined to hold the Tenchi Kane No Kami Grand Ceremony. Furthermore, our mindset was, “Now IS the time when we should pray to our Divine Parent for people’s peace of mind and the end to this pandemic. Now IS the time when we all should receive Kami’s blessings.” We had one discussion after another on this subject, and finally reached an official decision: We will hold the Spring Grand Ceremony at the Grand Service Hall “as usual,” although we will ask Konkokyo believers not to come in person to the Headquarters to attend the Grand Ceremony at the Grand Service Hall. This decision was based upon our unwavering belief that the Central Worship & Mediation Hall should always be open to all people. Why? Because Sacred Mediation has always been available, without interruption, for those who seek it, since our dear Founder served and opened this Way of Faith.

I contemplated this extreme circumstance, recalling how our Founder had to “remove the altar fixtures.”

In Memoirs of Konko Daijin (Konko Daijin Oboegaki), there is a passage, “(In 1873,) having heard a bulletin from the Oda Prefectural Government…this worried my entire family…Summoned by Kawate Iseki, the village chief magistrate, Hagio quickly went to see him. Kawate ordered Hagio to put away the altar fixtures.”

“Removing the altar fixtures” is much more severe than being asked not to hold a (Konkokyo) ceremony. It was an extremely harsh circumstance whereby the Founder’s Sacred Mediation, that began with Kami’s request, was “prohibited” by some rules decided by the “human world.” The Founder, however, did not defy the local government; He didn’t say, “My service (goyo) at this Mediation Hall is strictly between Kami and me, and it is none of the government’s business.” Instead, the Founder accepted the local government’s ban, while doing his best to revere Kami. Furthermore, the Founder was so cooperative with the government that Kami praised him by saying, “You have shown sincerity even to the government.” The Konkokyo Organization of today has a role to play, as a group of people within society. I am deeply grateful to our dear Founder for having already set down guidelines for us to follow.

There are even more significant events than “Removal of the Altar Furnishings” that the Founder later encountered, such as: “The Divine Reminder (Tenchi Kakitsuke)” was born, the position of the Mediation Seat (Okekkai) became fixed, the true nature of Tenchi Kane No Kami as a divine being was manifested, and the Divine Parent of the Universe (Tenchi Kane No Kami) eloquently stated that Kami sent Ikigami Konko Daijin (the Founder) to the “human world.” One vital Konkokyo element after another was revealed in 1873, when our dear Founder faced his biggest challenge in his endeavor to help save people. When I think along these lines, it seems to me that the incident of “having had to put away the altar fixtures” was not brought about through societal pressures in those days. Rather, it may very well have been something Kami arranged to happen, as an inevitable event. After the Founder withdrew to another room, following the local government’s order, I wonder what his thoughts were and how he turned to Kami.

The coronavirus is testing us…it is prompting us to consider how to turn our hearts to Divine Parent Kami. We should not only pray for the containment and end of this virus, we should ask ourselves, “NOW, at this CRITICAL TIME, ‘How should we direct our hearts to Kami?’”

(By the Reverend Yumi Asano, Outreach Department Director / Foreword for the April 2020 Issue)

Sermon from the August 2018 issue of “Konkokyo-ho: Ametsuchi”

Practicing Faith Means

To Endure Things You Believed You Could Not.

By Rev. Nobukazu Ikushima
Konko Church of Unebi

(From the August 2018 issue of Konkokyo-ho Ametsuchi)

 

The State of Our Church Building

教話(幾嶋師)2  After graduating from the Konko Seminary in 1993, I was given a position at the headquarters of the Konko Faith organization which continued for a period of six years.  After leaving the position, I spent the next four years serving our Divine Parent of the Universe at my church, the Konko Church of Unebi, under the guidance and leadership of its second Head Minister (Rev. Yoshinori Ikushima, who was also my father).  When the second Head Minister passed away in December of 2003, I succeeded him as third Head Minister in January 2004.  続きを読む

Sermon from the May 2018 issue of “Konkokyo-ho: Ametsuchi”

I Am Blessed Right Here, Right Now

By the Rev. Masao Matsui
Konko Church of Miyazaki-kita

(From the May 2018 issue)

Can you truly realize the blessing of being able to live?

松井真佐雄師 写真○2

The late Rev. Sadajiro’o Yamamoto reflected upon his first visit to the hiromae (worship hall) of Konko Daijin, the founder of Konko faith, as follows:

When I went to the hiromae [worship hall] for the first time, and though I still hadn’t said anything, Konko-sama said, “People should know what made it possible for them to be born, and what makes it possible for them to keep living.” I then wondered what Konko-sama was trying to say. While receiving teachings about the favors of Tenchi (The universe), I was deeply moved by each word which seemed to pierce my heart.” (GII: Yamamoto Sadajiro 2) 続きを読む

Sermon 2 from the March 2018 issue of “Konkokyo-ho: Ametsuchi”

江田師写真1The Grateful Crane

By the Rev. Izumi Ko’oda
Konko Church of O’otsuru

(From the March 2018 issue)

 

Right in the Northern Kyushu Heavy Rain

At around 15:00 on July 5th, 2017, an evacuation alarm sounded.  Hearing the alarm, I went out to see what was happening.  I immediately saw that muddy water was slowly coming into the grounds of our church. Soon, the water was in the church itself.  I shouted at my father and wife, “Let’s evacuate!  Now!!”  続きを読む

Sermon from the March 2018 issue of “Konkokyo-ho: Ametsuchi”

As a Child of Kami

By Rev. Minori Narita
Konko Church of Mitachi

 

Being Different From Ordinary Children…

My Mother kept a notebook she used to record my growth as a baby. In it, she wrote, “a cute-looking, mild-natured, obedient girl.”  about me. I seemed to appear just as normal and ordinary as the next baby girl.  However, as I grew up, the people around me began to notice that I was somewhat different from other children – especially after I entered nursery school.  続きを読む

Sermon from the January 2018 issue of “Konkokyo-ho: Ametsuchi”

Let’s Train Ourselves Spiritually

So That We Can Give Something Good to People

By Rev. Michiharu Tsukamoto
Konko Church of Kurumi

 

(From the January 2018 issue)

What Is the Meaning of “Work?”

One day, I heard a door bell ring. It was the door bell of the residential building for my family and myself that stood right next to our Konko Church.  I answered the door for the visitor who had just rung the bell.  There I saw a lady in her early fifties.  She was dressed in a uniform of a well-known life insurance company.  Without even asking why she had come, I automatically judged that she wanted me or my family to join her company’s insurance.  I flatly said to her, “We are already under another company’s insurance, so your invitation is not necessary for us at this time, thank you.”  Then she briefly introduced herself and asked me, “May I come into the church and worship?”  Her words were far beyond my expectations, and I found them a bit strange.  Yet I replied, “Oh, yes, please come in,” and invited the lady to enter the church through the church’s entrance.  続きを読む

Sermon from the December 2017 issue of “Konkokyo-ho: Ametsuchi”

I Will Never Give Up Praying,

I Will Pray till the Very End

By the Rev. Yoshihiro Adachi
KonkoChurch of Toyohashi

(From the December 2017 issue)

A Dark Side of me Appears, and…

There is a Japanese proverb, “If the water of a stream is too clean, fish will not dwell in it.”  Just as fish will not dwell in an overly clean stream, I am afraid that people will not be saved if they only say positive words to our Divine Parent.  In our daily lives, we inevitably deal with people, things, money, sickness and various events.  Good things happen in our lives, and so do bad ones.  Sometimes, we even encounter an event that makes us feel like we’ve hit rock bottom.  But we cannot help living in a world where raw natural events exist alongside diving blessings. I believe that, as long we pray about the things we find ugly or dirty, as well as the things we find positive and beautiful, we will be led to true blessings of Kami. 続きを読む

Sermon from the October 2017 issue of “Konkokyo-ho: Ametsuchi”

教報10月号 堀江芳則師 写真2Polishing the Gem of Our Hearts

By the Rev. Yoshinori Horie
Konko Church of Hananomiya

(From the October 2017 issue)

The “Play” that I Cherished

  I was a kindergarten teacher before entering the Konko Seminary. There are various goals in early childhood education. Among those goals, an important goal is that we, as teachers, help our children develop their respective abilities. We let our little pupils “play,” and while they are “playing,” we try to help them develop their physical ability, creativity and capability to express themselves. Playing gives little kids much fun, and while they are having fun, they learn how to build up human relationships with the people around them. Kindergarten pupils are given many kinds of “play”: They fold colored paper. They draw pictures. They sing songs. They enjoy picture books with their teacher orally telling them the stories of the books. Among these sorts of plays, I put a special value on the “play in the kindergarten playground.” 続きを読む

KCNA Activity Speech in the 4th Konko International Gathering, November 14, 2017

Konkokyo International Gathering, November 14, 2017
KCNA Activity Speech

                                                                                    By the Rev. Amy Uzunoe-Chin


教話写真Hello! I am Rev. Amy Uzunoe-Chin associate minister of the Konko Church of Portland and currently serving my first year as the Chief Administrative Minister of the Konko Churches of North America (KCNA) Office. It is an honor to be here once again with all of you.

Last year, was my first time back to Honbu in 13 years, and honestly I felt like nothing much had changed.  Everything seemed to stand still in time while the world around this sacred ground had changed and grew. However, I realized that this is not a bad thing; I don’t want it to change. The pure foundation of this Konko Faith should not change, and this was comforting to me. 続きを読む