February Monthly Service Performed

The February Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters took place in the Main Sanctuary on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding.

The Japanese archipelago was greeted by the first signs of spring the previous day as the plum blossoms in front of the Foundress’ Sanctuary started to open. The sunlight shone onto the Sanctuary precincts as if to welcome the many followers who returned for this day.

At the appointed time, the Shinbashira left the Staff Quarters to proceed to the Main Sanctuary, paying his respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall on his way.

In the Service prayer, he expressed gratitude for God the Parent’s bountiful blessings on behalf of all followers. He then stated: “We Service performers as well as all head ministers and Yoboku are diligently sweeping the heart on a daily basis as well as pursuing Oyasama’s Divine Model in our adoration of Her. Because we take it seriously that the many health disorders and troubles currently encountered in society are rooted in the weakening of human relationships, we will exert our utmost sincerity toward widely conveying God the Parent’s teachings now more than ever and help sweep away the dusts from people’s minds in order to contribute to the reconstruction of the world into a world that overflows with joy and compassion.”

The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed joyously as followers sang the Mikagura-uta with their minds in unison. Honbu-in Yoshikazu Yamamoto later took the podium to deliver the sermon.

Rev. Yamamoto began by noting how the catchphrase “alienated society” is often used to describe today’s social conditions. He declared that if we want our children to grow up healthy and sound, it is important they have a place to go home to where a loved one is waiting for their return. He pointed out the necessity for us to know our original “Parent” and original “Home” so we have someone and somewhere to turn to whenever we need to make a new start. With this in mind, Rev. Yamamoto said: “No matter what situation we may find ourselves in, we have a dependable place to return to. This is Jiba, the home of humanity, where the everliving Oyasama waits for our return.”

Next, he brought up the story of a couple from India who enrolled in Shuyoka, the Spiritual Development Course, with their daughter because it was her earnest wish to return to Jiba. While the young woman had to overcome numerous difficulties—a serious illness, cultural differences, and a language barrier—she felt peace of mind upon returning to Jiba and while being close to the everliving Oyasama. As Shuyoka came to a close, she declared that it was her wish to bring home Oyasama’s teachings as well as the joy and energy she received as spiritual souvenirs and to help others in need back in India.

Rev. Yamamoto then quoted from the Shinbashira’s sermon at last year’s Autumn Grand Service to convey the importance of savoring and responding to the providence we receive from God the Parent each day. He went on to say: “To live day after day brimming with joy while savoring and responding to the parental heart is precisely what the world of the Joyous Life is about. The discovery of new sources of joy around us in our daily life as well as our efforts to nurture, express, and spread our joy is something that any one of us can do at any time. Such is the lesson this young woman from India showed us with her example.”

He further noted that according to what we are taught, the Home of the Parent is both the place where “great yearning will come over you, whoever you may be” and “the origin of any and everything.” He then stressed that it is important for every one of us to be grateful and joyous over how splendidly we are being kept alive each day and to repeatedly return to Jiba so we may decisively receive parental love from God and Oyasama in addition to Jiba’s precious truth.

In closing, Rev. Yamamoto said: “Let us always think of and lend an ear to people who are suffering from health disorders and have no place to turn to. Let us return to Jiba, bringing with us the prayers of others who are going through various troubles, and say, ‘I have returned!’ The Joyous Life will then spread outward in this way. May every Yoboku take that initial step or make that initial effort to speak to someone; let us start with whatever we can do and gradually increase our efforts in accord with the Parent’s intention.”

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