February Monthly Service Performed Joyously

On February 26, Tenrikyo Church Headquarters conducted its Monthly Service in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding. On the Service day, many followers returned to Jiba in the drizzling rain.

After expressing appreciation for the parental love with which God guides all humankind to the Joyous Life, the Shinbashira, representing all Yo­boku, pledged in the Service prayer, “With our sights fixed on addressing the roots of anxieties and sufferings in current society, we are determined to take sincere steps on the path of single-hearted salvation with the implementation of the Service and the Sazuke in order to convey God the Parent’s intention to those who have yet to know the teachings and advance toward the world in which all people respect and help one another as brothers and sisters.”

Following the joyous performance of the Ka­gura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements, Honbu-in Takanori Nagao took the podium to deliver the sermon. He started off by posing the question “If someone asks us what Tenrikyo is all about, how should we answer?” By way of answering the question, he quoted Rev. Genjiro Fukaya—the first head minister of what is now Kawaramachi Grand Church—who once said, “This faith is about worshiping God who is far from ordinary and walking the path filled with blessings,” which Honbu-in Nagao considered “an accurate expression of followers’ sentiments.”

Building his sermon upon Rev. Fukaya’s words, Honbu-in Nagao noted that God clearly explained the truth of human creation and the subsequent nurturing care through the Truth of Origin and God’s first revelation, which says, “I am God of Origin, God in Truth.” He then emphasized: “God the Parent tells us how human beings, God’s children, were conceived, born, and nurtured. This is something the true Parent—and no one but the true Parent—can reveal. Our feeling that God is far from ordinary arises from the fact that God is the original Parent.”

He continued, “As we come to understand the Story of Creation in full, we become keenly grateful that God has put the parental heart and a great deal of time into nurturing and guiding us, thereby strengthening our yearning for God the Parent and Jiba.” Regarding the way to make repayment for God’s parental love, he said, “We can bring reassurance to God by using our bodies lent by God with care and a sense of gratitude, as well as by understanding the teachings, settling them in our minds, and putting them into practice in our daily life.”

He then pointed out that human beings have a tendency to behave and use the mind in ways that go against God’s intention because of the free use of the mind that we have been given. “Through God’s guidance shown in response to how we use our mind,” he said, “we can realize the depth of the parental love and protection with which God reduces a great misfortune to a small misfortune and a small misfortune to no misfortune at all. This realization will lead us to make progress on the path to make repayment. And God will accept our sincerity, regardless of the degree of our repayment.” He went on to say: “Going in the direction of the world of mutual help with the teachings as the core is the path of filial devotion that will bring the greatest reassurance to God the Parent. Those who follow the path in this way are assured that they will receive blessings from God. This is what ‘the path filled with blessings’ is getting at.”

Honbu-in Nagao concluded his sermon by saying that Yoboku ought not only to base themselves on the faith throughout their lifetime and deepen their faith with a sense of gratitude and joy, but to engage in the vertical mission where they invite their family to join them in the faith and pass it down to their children, as well as in the horizontal mission where they convey the teachings to those around them with confidence and pride. He said, “The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that this faith is really about worshiping God who is far from ordinary and walking the path filled with blessings.”

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