Autumn Grand Service 2013

The Autumn Grand Service was performed in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant on October 26, commemorating the day of the founding of the Teaching in 1838 when Oyasama was settled as the Shrine of Tsukihi through the divine revelation in which God said, “At this time I have descended here to save all humankind.” After the completion of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements, the Shinbashira delivered the sermon. Making a reference to Instruction Three—which he had announced on this day last year—he talked about the significance of making decisive efforts to work for the salvation of others. About 75,000 Yoboku and followers from across Japan as well as overseas countries took the spirit of Instruction Three to heart once again and pledged to God the Parent and Oyasama that they would continue making strides along the path of single-hearted salvation with renewed minds.

The rain from a typhoon relented at the break of dawn, and the autumn sun broke through the clouds just as the Service was starting. The mountains on the eastern edge of the Home of the Parent were veiled in haze as worshipers made their way to the Main Sanctuary while sidestepping puddles. At 8:00 a.m.—the hour at which Oyasama was settled as the Shrine of Tsukihi—the Shinbashira left the Staff Quarters with other Service performers for the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall to pay their respects before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary.

In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira expressed gratitude for God the Parent’s boundless blessings and said: “We Service performers as well as church head ministers and other Yoboku will ponder over the Teaching’s Day of Origin once again before finishing up the first year of the period leading up to Oyasama’s anniversary. In order to bring ourselves into full accord with Your intention, we are firmly determined to further dedicate ourselves to missionary and salvation work while following the straight course of the path of the Divine Model so that we may respond to Your parental love.”

The prayer was followed by the performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements. Followers who had filled the four worship halls in addition to an estimated 8,000 benches set up in the Sanctuary precincts sang the Mikagura-uta, the Songs for the Service, with their minds in unison. Among them were many overseas followers, who had returned to Jiba from 22 countries and regions.

After the performance of the Dance with Hand Movements, the Shinbashira took the podium to deliver the sermon. He began by touching upon the message of Instruction Three and spoke on the path of Oyasama’s Divine Model, which is also the path of single-hearted salvation. He said that the salvation of which Oyasama speaks does not simply refer to solving tangible problems such as illnesses and other issues and explained that people can be genuinely saved through correcting their use of mind, which is the true cause of their suffering. He went on to say that all Yoboku have the mission to convey the teachings to those who do not yet know them and guide those people to the path of salvation.

Referring to today’s world of continual change, the Shinbashira pointed out that there are many people who have no spiritual guide and do not know what they are living for. He thus emphasized, “Today, the significance of telling people about the goal of human existence, the Joyous Life of all humankind, is not decreasing at all; if anything, it is increasing.” The Shinbashira then explained the missions of Tenrikyo churches—serving as mission facilities in local communities for spreading the teachings and for promoting salvation work and spiritual growth—and clarified the importance of Yoboku’s efforts to work for their churches with their head minister as the core. “May I take this opportunity to ask all of you Yoboku to connect your minds ever more firmly with your churches and try to visit them ever more often. As for those of you who are church head ministers, please work toward achieving the sort of church that the followers feel like visiting and naturally give ever more thought to. Moreover, I hope you will make sincere efforts to provide guidance and care for all your Yoboku so that they can engage in salvation work,” he said.

Moreover, the Shinbashira spoke about the appropriate frame of mind for those who are in a position to provide guidance and care for others and encouraged the congregation to make further efforts to carry out any salvation work they can, by saying, “I think it would be inexcusable if we were to overlook someone who is going through a hard time, simply because we were failing to pay attention to that person.”

In conclusion, the Shinbashira once again emphasized that the significance of observing the anniversaries of Oyasama is respond to Her boundless parental love with decisiveness, saying: “[I]t is of paramount importance for all of us Yoboku to resolve to make a decisive effort to grow spiritually and implement that resolution. . . . I would like all of us to spend each and every day over this period making an all-out effort so that we can bring joy to Oyasama.”

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