The New Year’s Day Service was performed at the Main Sanctuary of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. This year marks the concluding year of the “three years, one thousand days” activities leading up to the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama. Followers who returned to Jiba despite the cold weather reconfirmed their determination to make further efforts in salvation work with the intent to accomplish their resolutions.
From the early morning of New Year’s Day, followers came to the Sancturaries to extend their New Year’s greetings to God the Parent and Oyasama. Mr. Hiroshi Sono, who came back to Jiba with his family, said: “My grandparents started a family tradition of spending New Year’s Day at Jiba. We came as a family to express our gratitude to God the Parent for last year’s blessings and to show our determination to take steps forward in a manner befitting the concluding year of the pre-anniversary activities.”
Shortly after 5:00 a.m., the Shinbashira and other Service performers paid their respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary. In the Service prayer, after expressing gratitude to God the Parent for the start of the 178th year of the Teaching, the Shinbashira said: “Looking back on last year—which was the middle year of the ‘three years, one thousand days’ activities leading up to the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama—we worked in high spirits to make good progress in world salvation. Although we may have fallen short of Your expectations, You guided us through the year with Your profound parental heart, for which we are truly grateful.” He went on to say, “As we are now into the concluding year of the pre-anniversary season, all of us Yoboku are determined with a fresh mind to make ever more sincere efforts in single-hearted salvation and do whatever is necessary to accomplish our resolutions”. He concluded the prayer by asking for God’s guidance that would enable followers this year to continue to walk steadily and spiritedly along the path toward the Joyous Life, which we intend to reach even if it takes endless generations.
The prayer was followed by the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements. Followers sang the Mikagura-uta, the songs for the Service, in unity of mind.
After the Service, the Shinbashira proceeded to the Foundress’ Sanctuary to deliver a prayer to Oyasama. After extending New Year’s greetings to Her, he pledged, “For the concluding year of the pre-anniversary season, we have all reaffirmed our sense of joy at being allowed to serve as instruments for world salvation and are determined to take solid strides along the path of single-hearted salvation in an effort to accomplish our resolutions while further uniting our spirited minds in following the Divine Model of Oyasama”.