The July Monthly Service was conducted on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. On that day, an area of high pressure lay over the Japanese archipelago, and many parts of Japan had a scorching summer day. The Home of the Parent was blessed with a clear sky and the temperature rose to a sweltering 35°C (95°F).
In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira touched upon this year’s Children’s Pilgrimage, saying: “Large numbers of children will be returning to Jiba, the Home of the Parent, not only from across this country but also from overseas. Under the theme ‘Filled with joy! Hinokishin!’ they will attend and participate in a variety of attractions and activities and come into touch with the teachings while developing their sense of joy and gratitude together. Please watch over these boys and girls with boundless parental love and guide us in ensuring that everything proceeds smoothly throughout the duration of the pilgrimage and that the children bask in Your blessings so that they may grow into vibrant young people with an enriched heart.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed joyously while the followers joined in singing the songs for the Service in unison. Throughout the Sanctuary precincts were pilgrimage groups bearing flags and wearing matching T-shirts, giving a festive atmosphere in anticipation of the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, which commenced in the afternoon.
After the Service, Honbu-in Nobuyuki Tanaka took the lectern to deliver the sermon. He started the sermon by saying: “Children performing the seated service together with their parents and singing the service songs aloud is a scene that takes place all day long at the Main Sanctuary. I am sure that all of us find it heartwarming.” After mentioning the intention in founding the Boys and Girls Association, he stressed, “By all means, we must convey Oyasama’s precious teachings to our children and grandchildren.”
Rev. Tanaka then pointed out that there are some parents who beat their children when they cannot control their children at their will. He then said, “If we maintain a clear awareness of being our children’s parents without thinking that we own them, our hearts will be filled with joy even if we experience difficulties in providing care for them.” Although we tend to think of our children as our own, he urged the listeners not to have a mistaken understanding of the parent-child relationship as that might lead us to make terrible mistakes. After citing a passage from anecdote no. 196, “Maturing of the Child,” he said: “Being a parent to your children and being a child to your parents are roles that God the Parent gave you. Becoming parents mean that we are given the task of caring for our children in place of God the Parent, and through raising our children, we are expected to make progress in our own spiritual growth.”
He went on to say, “God the Parent will cancel our negative causality if we settle our mind in joyous acceptance,” and explained the importance of earnestly following the path while treating the manifestation of our own causality as a source for spiritual growth.
After making reference to the manner in which the Honseki, Izo Iburi, was repeatedly urged by Oyasama to move into the Residence with his family, Rev. Tanaka closed his sermon by saying: “Coming back to Jiba is possible not because of that person’s desire and motivation to do so, but rather because of God the Parent’s intention to draw that person to Jiba. In order to receive the blessing of having more and more people embrace the faith as a result of being drawn back by God the Parent, let us sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings and engage in salvation work proactively. At the same time, let us be keenly aware of the importance of providing care and guidance to our children, whom God the Parent entrusted to us, so that all of them will follow the path earnestly.”