The May Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was conducted on the 26th, with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant.
In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira expressed gratitude for God the Parent’s love and compassion in guiding all human beings toward a joyous world. He then said: “We Service performers as well as church head ministers and other Yoboku will strive to offer spiritual support to people in this ever-changing world who have become disheartened at some unexpected illness or other trouble and exert our sincerity to sprinkle the fragrance and engage in salvation work in the hope that those people will settle the truth of the teachings in their mind.” He then concluded: “Please accept our minds as we deeply reflect on our delay in taking action and spiritedly make an extra effort to save others. May the ills of the world be swept away, the harmony of all brothers and sisters become solidified, and powerful strides be made toward a joyous world.”
This was followed by a joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements. The day was clear and sunny from early morning at the Home of the Parent. The temperature neared 27ºC (80.6ºF) as worshipers sang the songs for the Service in unison under a blazing sun evocative of an early summer day.
Honbu-in Toyoo Tsuji then took the lectern to deliver the sermon. He began by saying that we were in the middle of an important season heading toward the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama, a season in which it is necessary to actively promote the path of single-hearted salvation.
Rev. Tsuji noted that a mind of true sincerity is essential when implementing salvation work. Regarding the mind of sincerity, he said: “We are taught that this refers to the mind that leads us to offer our sincerity to God the Parent after having corrected our human thinking, that is, our self-centered and selfish uses of the mind. God the Parent will surely accept our mind of sincerity and provide us with blessings.”
Rev. Tsuji then emphasized the importance of expressing a mind of sincerity in our actions. He stated that in the lead-up to the anniversary, we needed to continually make efforts toward spiritual maturity appropriate to the roles and positions we each have been given so that we might bring joy, however slight, to Oyasama.
In regard to this, Rev. Tsuji mentioned that those whose families have been in the faith for several generations need to be wary of getting used to the way things are. The splendor of our current situation is only possible because of the merit of our parents and forebears. Yet by becoming used to how splendid things are, we can fall into the trap of pursuing our personal joys and momentary pleasures to the point of neglecting and postponing the task of sowing seeds of sincere dedication. He urged listeners not to be overly reliant on the merit of their forebears but to walk the path with the attitude of a first-generation follower.
Further, Rev. Tsuji declared that faith in the path was not possible without the truth of Jiba. He spoke of the importance of making a return pilgrimage to Jiba and said that connecting our mind with Jiba on a daily and habitual basis amounted to being aligned with God the Parent’s intention and striving to draw closer to the mind of Oyasama.
Next, after speaking about the importance of having settled in our mind the day of origin of our faith, Rev. Tsuji suggested that the advancement of science has led not to a reduction of people’s troubles but to the opposite, posing the question, “In this world that is becoming more complex and multifaceted, isn’t faith all the more necessary?” He then stated his conviction that what was being demanded of followers at this moment was to proactively pursue the teachings, firmly settle them in the mind, and implement them in our daily life in order to reflect a “prayerful mind” to people who are on a constant search for spiritual solace.
Rev. Tsuji concluded his sermon by saying: “I would like us to walk the path together, strive to show the extent of our spiritual growth to Oyasama, and work to bring Her joy as we head toward the 130th Anniversary.”