The April Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was solemnly conducted on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. The day was rather cold in the Home of the Parent with occasional gusts of wind blowing from early morning.
At 9:00 A.M. the Shinbashira and other Service performers left the Staff Quarters to offer worship at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary.
In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed appreciation to God the Parent for nurturing all human beings equally with profound parental love and expressed resolve on behalf of all followers, saying, “We Service performers as well as church head ministers and Yoboku will firmly bear in mind the task entrusted to us, and we are resolved to take our vigorous steps of single-hearted salvation in unity of mind by following Oyasama’s Divine Model.” Referring to the annual Hinokishin Day scheduled for the 29th, he said, “We will engage in hinokishin activities in high spirits, express our gratitude for Your blessings that enable us to live in good health, and respond to Your boundless blessings through our own implementation in a manner befitting Hinokishin Day.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then joyously performed. The followers in the Worship Halls, the Inner Courtyard, and other areas in the Sanctuary precincts joined together in singing the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service, in high spirits.
Following this, Honbu-in Keiichiro Moroi took the podium to deliver the sermon. First, he spoke about Kunisaburo Moroi, the first head minister of Yamana Grand Church: “[He] returned to Jiba for the first time on February 10, 1883. Thereafter, he listened to Oyasama’s talks on many occasions and said that much of what She told him was about the time when the world was a muddy ocean.”
He then quoted the Ofudesaki verse in which God the Parent first used the name Tsukihi: “There may be no one at all who knows the truth of the mind of Tsukihi of this universe” (Ofudesaki VI:9). He then explained in detail how the outward appearance of the instruments in the muddy ocean, the Divine Model of Oyasama, and the hand movements of the Service Dance are united as one, with the outward appearance of the instruments in the muddy ocean being the root of the other two.
He went on to share Kunisaburo Moroi’s description of Oyasama: “Day and night, the only thoughts She had were about God and all human beings. . . . Indeed, Oyasama only spoke about the truth of God the Parent. She was thoroughly committed to saving others and devoted Herself entirely to the cause of the path.”
He emphasized the importance of the beginnings of origin in our faith: “Since the Story of Creation is about the creation when there was no form, it seems difficult to understand. The main point of the story is the outer appearance of the instruments, since their shapes symbolize God’s profound intention.” He concluded his sermon by saying, “I believe that the Story of Creation is the basis of all teachings in this path and our implementation of them, including the performance of the Service Dance and our following the Divine Model of Oyasama.