The August Monthly Service of Church Headquarters was performed on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding. Because the weather had been crisp and pleasant during the preceding several days, the sudden rise in temperature on the monthly service day gave the distinct impression that midsummer had once again come to the Home of the Parent.
To commence the Service, the Shinbashira, accompanied by the other Service performers, worshiped at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary, where he read the prayer to God the Parent. The Shinbashira began the prayer by thanking God the Parent for the daily blessings we receive. He then said: “All of us, including church head ministers and Yoboku, have resolved to remain single-hearted with God at all times and to dig up the root of this world’s origin. Basing ourselves firmly on that root which gives life to all things, we shall then convey the teachings and workings of our true Parent to those whose unawareness of the root has left them preoccupied only with the branches and leaves, thus giving them no choice but to tread a fearful and dangerous path.” He then resolved, on behalf of all followers, to make ever more sincere efforts in order to hasten the construction of the Joyous Life World.
The prayer was followed by the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements, during which the church precincts resounded with the spirited voices of the followers singing the songs for the Service in unison.
Following the performance of the Service, Honbu-in Yoshimi Maegawa delivered the sermon. After quoting verse V:2 from the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service, “Miraculous salvation at this place: I grant you safe childbirth and freedom from smallpox,” he went on to explain the Grant of Safe Childbirth and freedom from smallpox as well as the Proof Amulet. To illustrate his explanation, he introduced some episodes from the lives of our predecessors.
Honbu-in Maegawa then mentioned that there were a surprising number of followers who did not wear the Proof Amulet or who were not even aware of the goku, the sacred rice. He said these followers could be found among the new Yoboku listening to the Kariseki lectures following their Sazuke bestowal and even among the participants in the Head Minister Qualification Course and the Course for Head Minister Candidates. He went on to say that the attitude and behavior of parents were of utmost importance in nurturing children and, therefore, that the sincere efforts on the part of parents and others to convey God the Parent’s parental concern–out of which the Grant of Safe Childbirth, the Proof Amulet, and the goku were provided–had not been sufficient. He closed his sermon by calling upon all those present to ask themselves once again how well they themselves had been able to respond to God’s parental concern for us.