The November Monthly Service of Church Headquarters was performed in the Main Sanctuary on the 26th. The morning was overcast and chilly, and many of the followers, who began arriving in the precincts an hour before the Service was scheduled to commence, came bundled up in jackets and scarves to protect them from the biting wind.
After paying respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall, the Shinbashira entered the Main Sanctuary accompanied by other Service performers. Ascending the dais, he delivered the Service prayer, in which he first expressed gratitude for God the Parent’s boundless blessings that protect us day in, day out. After referring to his announcement of Instruction Two at the Autumn Grand Service held in October, he said: “Faced with mounting uncertainty and confusion in the world today, we are prepared to stand firm and give priority to implementing our individual commitments to walk the path of sincerity exactly as it was taught and to sow seeds of the Joyous Life so that the truth of the teachings may become self-apparent to others. In addition, we are committed to conveying our Parent’s precious truth to people the world over and to dedicate our full measure of sincerity to the cause of saving others.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed in harmony with the joyous sounds of the musical instruments and the songs for the Service. As the last song was drawing to a close, large drops of rain began to fall.
Honbu-in Kazuo Takahashi then took the lectern to deliver his sermon. He began by reminding the listeners that the Shinbashira, in his New Year’s address this year, had said that, although he felt the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama ought to be conducted, what was most important, whether it was conducted or not, was for all Yoboku to strive to grow spiritually into people who accorded with God the Parent’s intention. Honbu-in Takahashi went on to say: “I thus gave serious thought to the question of what I could do to grow spiritually, and I found my answer in a Divine Direction that was delivered on February 7, 1891, immediately preceding the Fifth Anniversary of Oyasama. This Direction clearly taught that the proper attitude and commitment to be maintained for the Fifth Anniversary of Oyasama was the state of single-heartedness with God, wherein no self-centered thoughts are entertained. . . . This attitude and commitment is, of course, appropriate for Yoboku preparing for any of Oyasama’s anniversaries, not just the Fifth, and it is by strengthening these elements of our conviction that spiritual growth occurs.”
Toward the end of his sermon, Honbu-in Takahashi quoted verse V:24 from the Ofudesaki: “Ponder and come follow Me with firm resolve. There is a path of hope in the future.” He then asked the listeners to ponder everything from the point of view of single-heartedness with God, settle the import of Instruction Two deeply in their minds, and focus themselves on actualizing the Parent’s intent in the creation of humankind and the world, while taking delight in the Joyous Life that lies ahead. He closed his sermon by saying, “Let us strive to accomplish these guidelines, and thereby respond to the Shinbashira’s request that ‘all of us rise up spiritedly and fulfill our tasks in a unity of mind.'”