The November Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters took place in the Main Sanctuary on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant.
In the Service prayer, after expressing appreciation for God the Parent’s boundless protection, the Shinbashira said: “All of us Yoboku will purify our minds according to the teachings without being swept away by the deepening confusion that afflicts society at present. We will walk the path of sincerity in which we all help one another, widen the circle of the Joyous Life by reflecting the truth of the teachings to the world, and exert our sincerity toward saving others.” He further said: “May the entire congregation come together and have each church fired up with the truth of the season so we can make powerful and spirited steps toward constructing the world into that of the Joyous Life.”
This was followed by a joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements.
On the Service day, the eastern mountains were enshrouded in the autumn mist and rain fell all morning. The temperature at 9:00 a.m. was 9°C (48.2°F). The cold air gave a sense that autumn was coming to a close. Regardless of the rain, many followers returned and sang the songs for the Service in unison.
Following the Service, Honbu-in Seitaro Yamada took the lectern to deliver the sermon. After touching on what the Shinbashira had spoken about in his sermon at the Autumn Grand Service, Rev. Yamada cited verses from the Ofudesaki: “This Parent, who began human beings, lives. This is the truth” (VIII:37). “These thoughts of Tsukihi are spoken through Her: the mouth is human, the mind is that of Tsukihi” (XII:67). He said that Oyasama’s mind was that of Tsukihi and that one would surely attain the Joyous Life by following what She taught and demonstrated Herself.
He then asserted, based on the Story of Creation, that by our very nature, all human beings desire the Joyous Life. He indicated that there are many people who are living lonely lives and unable to live the Joyous Life because they have the tendency to seek it outside themselves.
Rev. Yamada pointed out that these people cannot live the Joyous Life because of their use of mind. He said, “Oyasama taught through the Divine Model that anyone can walk the path of the Joyous Life just by the single act of replacing the mind.”
He continued, “In order to bring about the world of the Joyous Life, I would like those of us who believe in this path to spiritedly walk the path of salvation while thoroughly using our ingenuity and maintaining single-hearted sincerity as we make full use of the body God has lent us.”
Then, after stating the importance of sweeping away the dust of the mind through making salvation efforts, Rev. Yamada spoke about the meaning of “three years, one thousand days” while quoting passages from the Divine Directions such as, “If you go through the path of three years, you will never be in want nor will you ever suffer” (Osashizu, November 7, 1889). He went on to say that he was prepared to grit his teeth and persevere with determined efforts in the three years leading up to the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama.
Then, basing himself on the Shinbashira’s Autumn Grand Service sermon and quoting the Divine Direction “I must have you summon up decisive courage, decisive strength, and decisive wisdom and step onto the path of decisiveness” (Osashizu, May 8, 1907), he urged the congregation to prepare to exert their strength, use their ingenuity, and make every effort to follow the path of single-hearted salvation.
In closing, Rev. Yamada mentioned that Church Headquarters officials began visiting directly supervised churches from November 20 to ensure a thorough understanding of the Shinbashira’s intention contained in Instruction Three. Further, regarding the visits that the directly supervised churches will then make to all their affiliated churches, he urged church head ministers to make efforts to ensure all Yoboku and followers attend these visits and called on every Yoboku to be present at these visits.
Source: Tenri jiho, December 2, 2012, p. 2.