On January 26, the Spring Grand Service commemorating the day when Oyasama withdrew from physical life—namely, the lunar calendar date of January 26, 1887—was performed in the Main Sanctuary of Church Headquarters with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. With only one year remaining before the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama, approximately 70,000 followers from both within and outside Japan returned to Jiba to attend the Service.
When the appointed time came, the Shinbashira and other Service performers proceeded to the Main Sanctuary after paying their respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall. The Shinbashira then ascended the upper dais, where he delivered the Service prayer. After expressing his appreciation to God the Parent for working for world salvation, he said: “The 130th Anniversary of Oyasama is a year ahead. In the final stretch of conducting pre-anniversary activities, all of us Yoboku including church head ministers are determined to exert ourselves with renewed minds and unwavering conviction to make further and solid progress in the journey of spiritual growth in unity of mind by working to help others be saved with the intent to achieve our resolutions.”
The prayer was followed by the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements. The followers, having filled the Worship Halls, the Corridors, and other areas in the Sanctuary precincts, joined together in singing the Mikagura-uta, the songs for the Service, with their minds united as one. The Service concluded shortly before 2:00 p.m., the hour Oyasama withdrew from physical life. After he began delivering the sermon, the Shinbashira paused for a moment to offer a prayer in the direction of the Foundress’ Sanctuary at the sounding of the daily siren that signals the hour.
In his sermon, the Shinbashira first said: “Regarding the activities of each anniversary as providing an important juncture, we roused ourselves to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings, help save others, and carry out construction during each seasonable time. Thus the path has spread and expanded to become what it is today. This juncture we observe every decade is a milestone for each of us on our journey of making spiritual growth.”
He next described the situation surrounding the lunar calendar date of January 26, 1887. He pointed out, “The followers were repeatedly urged to perform the Service, which is the fundamental means of single-hearted salvation, despite being under strict surveillance by the authorities and being in the extremely difficult situation where Oyasama’s physical condition was critical.”
He then mentioned the reason that Instruction Three concludes with the words “I hope with all my heart that all of us . . . [will bring] joy to the everliving Oyasama.” He explained: “This is because it is entirely thanks to Oyasama having begun the Teaching and conveyed the intention of God the Parent to us human beings that our predecessors as well as all of us here have been able to be guided by this Teaching and saved. . . . I strongly hope with all my heart that we will do whatever it takes to bring joy to Oyasama, to whom we are deeply indebted.”
In closing, he noted that Yoboku could only truly fulfill their responsibility as the instruments of Oyasama when they worked for the salvation of others. “In this final year of our pre-anniversary activities, please try to make the effort to complete the activities so that you can bring joy to Oyasama, attend the Oyasama 130th Anniversary Service with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, and have no regrets,” he said.
Between January 25 and 27, 992 people attended the Besseki lectures, with 233 of them attending their first lecture.