There is an old Chinese saying that says: "When in a foreign country, follow the host." In a sense the Konko church has done just that since coming to America. Because there is a tradition of coming to church on Sundays in this country, we have also adopted this custom as our day of gathering together as a congregation to join in common prayer, rituals and fellowship. However, our religion does not hold to any special day, for every day is special, every day is important. Our founder, Konko Daijin encouraged us to pray "...on this very day.." He did not pick out any particular day--but this very day.
And in keeping with the tenets of our church, we are, therefore, open to all during the day, seven days a week. However, because we have chosen to "..follow the host," we have set aside Sunday as the day when we gather to pray together. Since our church does not have a tradition of Sunday worship, and since we are open every day of the week it would seem that coming to church on Sunday wouldn't make a difference. But, it does. An old American expression says that, "In union there is strength." That is a powerful statement, and it corresponds exactly to Aiyo Kakeyo, mutual reliance. And it is mutual reliance which will keep any organization strong for many generations to come. When people gather together at the same time, in the same place, under the same roof, all with a single heart, it is a sign of spiritual solidarity. The very fact that so many gather together simultaneously is a further sign of a deep and abiding group faith. When we have our garage sale and our bazaar and other festivals, it is the combined efforts of the many that make these events successful. That's all well and good; but we are not a social club, but a church with a tradition deeply rooted in faith, and it is faith that has kept this church alive for more than a hundred and fifty years. And it was the faith of the original believers (many of whom were your own ancestors) who traveled long distances--often at great peril to their lives--to be in the presence of Konko Daijin himself. Imagine that every time you come to this church you are coming to visit Konko Daijin, for his spiritual presence is ever among us; and it is to his ever lasting presence that we humbly bow our heads and pray his prayer of spiritual unity. Let me suggest you try the following exercise: From Monday to Saturday pretend you are on a journey heading toward Konko Daijin's hiroma, and that on Sunday you will arrive; and as you enter let out a sigh and say, Konko Daijin Sama, I'm home. If you do this wonderful things will begin to happen to you.
Coming to church on Sundays on a regular basis should not be a sacrifice, but, instead, a thing of joy and anticipation, for where else will you find like-minded people who hold the same spiritual values and traditions as yourself? I dare say you will not find too many such places. I stress the importance of coming to church on Sunday because it is also in keeping with the words of our founder who said: "You should not consider it a hardship to go to church when it is rainy or windy. To endure such circumstances helps you to improve spirituality and enables you to receive divine virtue..." He further said: "Come to church for training in faith..Train yourself well and receive the divine favor at home..."
Let us, therefore, endeavor, to come to church on Sundays, and fill this worship hall with your family and friends and visitors, and let our united prayers of benevolence and goodwill vibrate within our hearts, echoing down to the generations of believers to come.