On November 26, Tenrikyo Church Headquarters conducted the November Monthly Service in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. After expressing his gratitude for the boundless love that constantly guides us along the path of spiritual growth, the Shinbashira said in the Service prayer: “With only a little over one month left in the second year of the ‘three years, one thousand days’ season leading up to the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama, all of us Yoboku, including the church head ministers, are resolved to make further progress in spiritual growth by bracing ourselves so as to achieve the goals that we each set for this season. We are determined to increase our efforts to fulfill our primary mission, namely missionary and salvation work, and perform the service in unity of mind so that we can complete our pre-anniversary activities with no regrets.”
The prayer was followed by the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements. With their minds united as one, followers joined together in singing the Mikagura-uta, the Songs for the Service.
Honbu-in Tadakazu Nishiura then took the podium to deliver his sermon, in which he first reminded the congregation that they are in a seasonable time to pledge to help save others and implement salvation activities. He mentioned that there were many people who took a new step after the conclusion of the “Oyasama 130th Anniversary Yoboku Gatherings.” Pointing out that individual motivations for salvation work come from a sense of indebtedness, he said: “In order to repay our indebtedness, we should exert our utmost in helping save others as Oyasama’s instruments. We are taught that this is the way of bringing joy to Oyasama.”
He next touched upon his own experience, which helped him understand the importance of a single word to reach out to people. The story was about how someone whose sister Honbu-in Nishiura had met through engaging in door-to-door missionary work returned to Jiba and attended the Besseki lectures. The man was subsequently blessed with being able to get married. When Honbu-in Nishiura told him how he had met his sister for the first time, he said in tears, “The door that connects to God was opened at that moment, wasn’t it?”
After introducing the story, Honbu-in Nishiura said to the congregation: “Just like this man, there are many people waiting for an opportunity for the door of their heart to be opened to the path leading to the Joyous Life. We would never notice those people unless we pay attention to them and keep trying to speak to them. A single word has a great potential to change the direction of people’s lives. Bearing this in mind, we should bring ourselves to reach out to people around us.”
He also said: “We must single-heartedly and persistently walk toward our set goals with undivided attention. This attitude and commitment is appropriate for us. Let us spend the next 14 months working toward the anniversary with our utmost sincerity focused on making repayment for the blessings we receive so that we can bring satisfaction to Oyasama, who would say, ‘You have done well,’ at the time of the anniversary.”
Referring to the Shinbashira’s sermon at the Autumn Grand Service this year, Honbu-in Nishiura concluded his remarks by saying: “The 130th Anniversary of Oyasama is to be observed on January 26, 2016. Aiming for this date, we must conduct our pre-anniversary activities so that we can attain a new level of spiritual growth in time. Keeping in mind our indebtedness to God, let us work decisively and spiritedly.”