Tenrikyo Church Headquarters conducted the May Monthly Service on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant at the Main Sanctuary.
Shortly before 9:00 a.m., the Shinbashira and the other Service performers left the Staff Quarters to pay respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary.
In the prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed his gratitude for the warm parental love of God the Parent, who has been guiding us on the path of spiritual growth and nurturing us out of the desire to see the Joyous Life of all God’s children, human beings, and said, “We Service performers as well as church head ministers and Yoboku will enhance our joy and awareness of being Oyasama’s instruments, follow the path of the Divine Model straightforwardly, strive to make constant efforts to grow spiritually, devote our true sincerity to sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and helping save others in bright high spirits, exert layer upon layer of effort to nurture others, and perform the tasks befitting this season set aside for decisiveness so that we can promote our pre-anniversary activities vigorously.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed joyously. The temperature reaching a high of 29°C (84.2°F), the Home of the Parent was blessed with weather warm enough to bring on perspiration. The followers joined together in singing the Mikagura-uta while wiping their forehead from time to time. Occasionally an early summer breeze swept through the Sanctuary precincts.
Following the Service performance, Honbu-in Seiji Maegawa took the podium to deliver the sermon. He first mentioned that Jiba was identified on the lunar calendar date of May 26, 1875. Saying that the path of Oyasama’s fifty-year Divine Model was the path to complete the Service, he noted that the identification of Jiba had a great significance in the course of the completion of the Service. After quoting some of Oyasama’s anecdotes such as no. 18, “The Songs of Truth,” and no. 19, “Children Playing Shuttlecock,” he explained that Oyasama began teaching the songs and hand movements for the Service in the autumn of 1866—ten years before the identification of Jiba—and the Twelve Songs in the following year, 1867, in a way that was easy to understand and to learn. Considering Oyasama’s painstaking efforts to help people at the time understand and learn the significance of the Service without error, Rev. Maegawa asked whether or not we had made enough efforts to dance the truth with the mind of single-heartedness with God when we performed the service. He then explained why Oyasama taught the song that begins with “Choto hanashi” (“Just a word”; Mikagura-uta, section two) and its hand movements and added the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo to the beginning of the Twelve Songs. Citing the Ofudesaki verse that says, “If only this is surely settled, there will be no danger in anything at all” (IX:20), he reaffirmed the significance of the identification of Jiba by saying, “Oyasama identified Jiba while steadily hastening to save all people in the world and complete the Service. . . . The important thing was to identify Jiba firmly where the Kanrodai was to be set up in order to settle the world. Oyasama taught us that, no matter what happens in the future, we need not worry at all as long as Jiba was identified.” Further, referring to The Life of Oyasama’s description of how Jiba was identified, he noted that all those asked to walk blindfolded were somehow drawn to the same spot, where their feet stopped. He explained that God the Parent dared to show the free and unlimited working beyond our imagination. He said: “Jiba was identified in a way that was dramatic in the eyes of human beings. This must have been done out of Oyasama’s parental forethought to help those who would follow the path later fully understand the significance of Jiba.”
He went on to say that, even if we know Oyasama’s parental heart that wishes to save all humankind, we who live in the modern era tend to lose a sense of moderation and get caught up in our selfish desires based on the idea that all is well if things are well for ourselves. Stating that the world is full of conflicts, he raised a question about what we ought to do. “What we can do first,” he said, “is to pray to God the Parent and Oyasama, perform the service with our full measure of sincerity to save others, and administer the Sazuke to those suffering from illness.”
Touching upon the spirit of Instruction Three, Rev. Maegawa emphasized that the season leading up to Oyasama’s anniversary is a season for making spiritual growth. He concluded his sermon by saying: “Let us sincerely perform the service that will bring about universal salvation and ensure that our own stance of mind and way of thinking are based on single-heartedness with God. Let us also replace our minds by sweeping the dust of mind and make efforts to follow the Divine Model of Oyasama, thereby bringing joy to the everliving Oyasama.”