The May Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was conducted at the Main Sanctuary on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding. The sky was overcast, and a chilly breeze carried the fragrance of fresh foliage through the Sanctuary precincts. At 9:00 a.m., the Shinbashira and other Service performers left the Staff Quarters to pay their respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary.
The Shinbashira began the Service prayer by expressing gratitude for God the Parent’s loving concern in guiding the followers to the path that brings true salvation. “We Service performers as well as church head ministers and other Yoboku,” he continued, “are fully aware that the many difficulties arising in the world have resulted from the self-centered dusts that have piled up in the minds of humankind, and we are, therefore, determined to stay intently focused on making progress along the true path that settles the world in peace. To accomplish that, we are committed to handling our own mind correctly and maintaining a joyous mind in all situations while relying fully on what You have taught us, and we are also prepared to work even harder to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings on others and help them through our salvation work.”
Following the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements, Honbu-in Seishi Kajimoto delivered the sermon in which he not only discussed how Tenrikyo Church Headquarters and regional churches originally came to be established but also presented some thoughts on what constitutes an ideal church. He began by explaining the process through which the early followers strove to obtain official recognition for Tenrikyo—an effort that eventually enabled them to conduct the opening ceremony for Tenrikyo Church Headquarters at Jiba on November 29 (Oct. 26, lunar calendar), 1888. “Following that opening ceremony,” he said, “the followers received permission from God the Parent to establish regional churches, but that permission was only forthcoming because the first Shinbashira, Shinnosuke Nakayama, had solemnly pledged that church members would go through the path in single-heartedness with God. What this tells us is that working to our utmost to realize God the Parent’s intention while always remaining thoroughly single-hearted with God is what makes a church a genuine church, and upholding the spirit of single-heartedness with God at all times is the basic frame of mind that needs to be maintained by church head ministers.”
Rev. Kajimoto went on to say: “The Scriptures are the standard that enables us to conduct ourselves in single-heartedness with God. While this holds true for all followers striving to realize the Joyous Life, it is particularly important for church head ministers to take the Scriptures to heart and constantly seek the truth of the teachings therein. To ensure that they will not get caught up in worldly common thinking or perform their duties in a self-serving manner, church head ministers should always make a conscious effort to go through every situation while remaining solidly grounded in single-heartedness with God.”
After citing passages from the Scriptures, Rev. Kajimoto explained that churches are expected to serve as centers for single-hearted salvation and exemplary models of the Joyous Life. “When churches perform the service in unity of mind with the full complement of performers and musical instruments, they will brim with a joyous atmosphere and their members’ minds will be spirited,” he maintained. “Then, in response to their spiritedness, God the Parent and Oyasama will also be spirited and provide free and unlimited blessings.”
Next, he emphasized that sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and doing hinokishin are basic steps that churches need to take in order to become exemplary models for their communities. He went on to say: “Let all of us place our faith in God the Parent and Oyasama as well as keep ourselves connected to Jiba through the spirit of single-heartedness with God, and let us work to ensure that all churches will be able to perform the service in full numbers and all Yoboku will be able to fully implement their mission of administering the Sazuke to others. Through that effort, let each church make headway in serving as an exemplary model of the Joyous Life. . . . To accomplish that, all Yoboku belonging to the church will have to make steady progress in their own spiritual growth; otherwise, there can be no genuine enrichment of the church’s substance.” Rev. Kajimoto closed his sermon by saying: “When we dedicate and contribute our full measure of sincerity to Jiba, we will be able to receive the blessings we seek. I would, therefore, like to ask all of you to be spirited and do whatever it takes to advance the cause of single-hearted salvation.”