The September Monthly Service of Church Headquarters was performed on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding. Since the weather had been crisp and pleasant during the preceding several days, the cloudy skies and ever cooler weather on that day gave the impression that autumn had finally 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 on behalf of all followers: “At the present time, when reconstructing this world into the world of the Joyous Life is being urged, we are resolved to devote our utmost sincerity to the seasonable tasks and carry them out thoroughly while maintaining a keen awareness of our heavy responsibility as instruments of Oyasama.” Further, referring to Tenrikyo Nioigake Day, the Shinbashira asked God the Parent to guide us with profound parental love so that people in the world might be filled with joy and live in peace even a day sooner.
The prayer was followed by the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements. The church precincts resounded with the spirited voices of followers singing the songs for the Service.
Following the performance of the Service, Honbu-in Akio Shikao delivered the sermon. At the outset of his sermon, he quoted verse II:9 from the Ofudesaki: “What do you think this Service is? It is none other than the means to universal salvation.” He then emphasized the importance of performing the Service in order to realize the Joyous Life and explained the variety of God’s blessings that enable us to lead the Joyous Life. Among them, he explained the blessing that allows us to sweep away dust from our mind. He pointed out that the cause of strife and hatred among us human beings is the dust in our mind. He thus stressed the importance of performing the Service, whose purpose is to sweep away dust from our mind and enable us to receive the blessing of peace in the world. He then quoted the next verse, II:10: “Do not think this salvation is for the present time alone. It will be the Divine Record for eternity.” He explained this, by saying: “The blessings of God the Parent are not temporary. They become the basis for single-hearted salvation for endless generations.” He went on to say, “The primary mission of each church is to perform the service in a manner that would bring satisfaction to God the Parent while keeping in mind the parental heart that is contained in the service.” After referring to the activities of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, he closed his sermon by calling on the followers to respond to the Shinbashira’s intention through strengthening their resolution to take strenuous steps forward in a unity of mind.