On November 26, Tenrikyo Church Headquarters conducted its Monthly Service in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant.
In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed gratitude for the parental love and boundless blessings that we constantly receive from God the Parent. He then said: “We Service performers as well as church head ministers and other Yoboku will strive to translate the truth of the teachings into the attitude and actions of hinokishin with our heart filled with the joy of being kept alive in the embrace of heaven and earth, in the very bosom of God the Parent. Moreover, we are determined to work hard to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings as well as engage in salvation work while devoting our sincerity to the cause.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed joyously while the followers joined together in singing the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service. The skies in the Home of the Parent had been overcast since early morning on the Service day, though the sun occasionally peeked through the clouds, illuminating the autumn leaves in the precincts.
Following the Service performance, Honbu-in Kazuharu Uno took the podium to deliver the sermon. While referring to the Shinbashira’s sermon at this year’s Autumn Grand Service, he first spoke on the importance of the Service and the Sazuke. He then pointed out that many people in contemporary society are in need of help and said, “Now is the time for us Yoboku to nurture and guide as many Yoboku as possible so as to boost our efforts to help others be saved.” In so doing, he added, Yoboku must not only go outward to spread the teachings but also go inward in the sense of helping people feel and experience the preciousness of God the Parent’s blessings.
Honbu-in Uno then pointed out that weakening ties between husband and wife as well as between parents and children have caused various kinds of troubles to families. He emphasized, “The deeper the problems of the world become, the more sharply we must focus our mind on using the teachings as the standard for our lives and thereby bring about harmony in our families so as to set an exemple for people around us.”
He went on to explain what is important when Yoboku pursue the inward endeavor. After suggesting that Yoboku should seek to familiarize their children and grandchildren with the dance and musical instruments for the service, he said: “In a case where children do not live in a church, we should help them become familiar with the path through such activities as church sleepovers or the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba. This will make it easier for them to visit the church and pursue the teachings when they, for example, face a serious setback in the future.”
By sharing his own experiences, Honbu-in Uno also spoke on the importance of administering the Sazuke to children or grandchildren from an early age―whether or not their illnesses are serious. He then said: “I would like to suggest that Yoboku should administer the Sazuke to their family members―whether it be between husband and wife, parents and children, or brothers and sisters. I believe that this will make all the problems and conflicts in families disappear.” He quoted a Divine Direction that says: “All couples are couples because of their causality. That a child is born to a couple is also due to their causality” (Osashizu, March 26, 1901). He then explained: “I hope that all of you will settle this truth in your heart and keep following the path of faith in the course of your daily life. I am sure this will strengthen the social and emotional ties between family members.”
He then moved on to discuss the roles church head ministers are expected to play in guiding other Yoboku. “Isn’t there a time when we think our work is over when our followers become Yoboku and thereby stop guiding them?” said Honbu-in Uno, adding that it is crucial to guide Yoboku to the point where they will be able to perform the service at their churches, engage in spreading the teachings and salvation work, and administer the Sazuke to other people.
He concluded his sermon by saying: “Whether or not we can attain harmony in our families and churches depends upon how we guide people around us. Let us devote ourselves to performing the service and administering the Sazuke in high spirits.”