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November 2011 Monthly Service

The November Monthly Service of Church Headquarters was conducted on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant.

It was a balmy day. Worshipers on their way to the Sanctuary precincts were treated to a vivid display of autumn colors.

In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira expressed gratitude to God the Parent for the compassionate protection that guides us to the Joyous Life. He said: “We Service performers as well as church head ministers and Yoboku are firmly determined to deeply seek the truth of the teachings with the origin in mind, to put doubt and hesitation aside, and to dedicate our sincerity to sprinkling the fragrance and engaging in salvation work as we steadily press forward on the path of single-hearted salvation to make this world brim with joyousness according to Your intention.”

This was followed by a joyous performance of the Kagura and Teodori. Since the Service day fell on the weekend, there were many pilgrimage groups returning from various regions. Flags bearing church names could be seen everywhere as worshipers sang the songs for the Service with their minds in unison.

The sermon was delivered by Honbu-in Masakazu Iburi. He first spoke of Tenrikyo’s relief activities directed toward the March 11 disaster in northeastern Japan.

Rev. Iburi mentioned that the Shinbashira led a service prayer in the Main Sanctuary for three consecutive days beginning on the day after the disaster and how a total of 50,000 members of the Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps have helped toward the recovery effort. He said, “The ordeal of our fellow brothers and sisters motivated sincere efforts to help in any way possible.”

He then spoke about the O-Uta Kyushu Joy Concert held in Kumamoto on November 6. The pieces that were performed included “O-Uta 2: Oyasama” (composed by Kósçak Yamada), and Rev. Iburi explained the significance of this particular piece, which depicts Oyasama’s life beginning at the time She became the Shrine of Tsukihi.

After he mentioned some of the many hardships Oyasama went through, Rev. Iburi said, “Oyasama was always cheerful, spiritedly conveyed the teachings to others, and opened the path that continues to this day.” He then read two stories from Anecdotes of Oyasama—“By a Slight Illness” (no. 8 ) and “A Mark on the Body” (no. 166).

Rev. Iburi then explained that God draws people through physical disorders, saying: “We often hear that ‘illness and troubles are flowers of the path.’ With this in mind, we ought not to consider illness and troubles as mere misfortunes. When we are provided with a knot, we must make a promise to contribute whatever we can toward the construction of the Joyous Life and take action. l believe that by doing so, we can receive God’s vivid protection.”

Next, after reading another story from Anecdotes of Oyasama, “Because People Like You” (no. 87), Rev. Iburi emphasized the importance of teaching children about God and having them go to church while they are still young. “It is essential for the teachings to be conveyed from parents to children, from children to grandchildren, so that we can assist in the construction of the Joyous Life for all future generations.”

He then declared that the March 11 disaster could be treated as a global incident and said: “For those of use who are aware of the teachings, we can consider this large knot as the voice of the Parent urging us to quicken the pace of the joyous construction. If we lack confidence in our ability to convey the path ourselves, we can bring our head minister or someone else to speak in our place and then listen and learn from what they say. Let us take advantage of our respective positions and situations to invite as many people as we can to Jiba and spiritedly work toward bringing God the Parent’s intention to reality.”

Rev. Iburi then quoted two verses from the Ofudesaki—“Hereafter, if all of you throughout the world save one another in every matter, / Know that Tsukihi will accept that mind and will provide any salvation whatever” (XII:93–94)—and closed as follows: “The mind that seeks to save others is the mind of pure sincerity. Let us take further steps ahead with the conviction that any conduct resulting from such a mind leads us to the Joyous Life so that we can ensure we do not fall behind God the Parent’s intention that hastens us forward.

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