On April 26, the Monthly Service was conducted at the Main Sanctuary of Church Headquarters with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant.
Shortly before 9:00 a.m., the Shinbashira and other Service performers left the Staff Quarters to pay their respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary.
In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed gratitude for the constant protection and guidance God provides out of single-hearted parental love for us. He then went on to say, “[W]e will be conducting the annual Tenrikyo Hinokishin Day, in which many of us children of the path will give concrete expression to our joy and gratitude for Your gift of life by engaging in hinokishin activities so as to respond to Your blessings.”
Referring to the devastating earthquakes in and around Kumamoto, Kyushu, he said, “Taking not only the things that happen around us but all those things shown in the country and elsewhere as our own concerns, we will ponder over Your profound intention contained in them, focus more sharply on making a sincere effort to help one another as brothers and sisters, and make steady progress along the path of world salvation in full accord with the Divine Model.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed. While the Service was in progress with worshipers singing the Mikagura-uta in unison, green leaves in and around the sanctuary precincts glittered in the warm spring sunlight. On that day, the temperature reached a high of 77˚F (25˚C).
The sermon was delivered by Honbu-in Yoshihiko Yasuno. He started his sermon by explaining the significance of the truth of the everliving Oyasama, saying that this month, April, is significant for us as we celebrate Oyasamaʼs birthday, extend our appreciation from the bottom of our hearts for Her parental love in guiding us by virtue of Her eternal life, and, with a fresh mind, pledge to follow the path of Her Divine Model as Her children.
Rev. Yasuno then stated that Oyasama not only demonstrated the path as the Parent of the Divine Model but also has been guiding us in such a manner that we could feel and experience the truth of the everliving Oyasama.
He also mentioned that after Oyasama’s withdrawal from physical life our predecessors continued to spread the path, relying on the truth of the everliving Oyasama and administrating the Sazuke. “As a result, they received wondrous blessings, which provided proof of the everliving Oyasamaʼs workings, and the number of followers had reached over three million around the time of the 10th Anniversary of Oyasama. If we ponder over this, what we need to do now is to trust in and lean on the everliving Oyasama and administer the Sazuke straightforwardly and sincerely,” he said.
Quoting from the Shinbashira’s sermon on the occasion of the 130th Anniversary—in which the Shinbashira put great emphasis on the urgent need to nurture and train Yoboku who could carry the path forward in the times ahead—Rev. Yasuno went on to say that those who were drawn to the path sooner than others should take the initiative to follow the path in accord with Oyasamaʼs intention and nurture and train Yoboku who can fulfill the task of single-hearted salvation by emulating Her Divine Model.
Toward the end of his sermon, Rev. Yasuno noted that, not long after conducting the 130th Anniversary Service and setting out for the next milestone, we were shown the knot of the earthquakes in and around Kumamoto. He concluded by saying, “Let us pray for the stricken areas to be settled and for people affected by the disaster to be healed even a day sooner, while reaffirming our mission as Oyasama’s instruments and thoroughly carrying out our work of following Her path of the Divine Model in high spirits.”