The Autumn Grand Service was joyously performed in the Main Sanctuary of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters on October 26 with the Shinbashira presiding. This annual event commemorates the founding of the Teaching on October 26, 1838, when God the Parent received Oyasama as the Shrine of God and set out to teach the path of single-hearted salvation.
The 120,000 followers attending the Service filled not only the Main Sanctuary’s four worship halls but also the Inner Courtyard and the open area in front of the South Worship Hall. Among the congregation were followers from 16 overseas countries and districts including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, and Peru. Notably, the group from Taiwan, where the mission headquarters will commemorate its 70th anniversary next year, consisted of approximately 650 followers. Simultaneous interpretation was provided in English, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Filipino, Korean, and Chinese (Mandarin and Taiwanese).
The Service commenced at 8:00 A.M., the exact hour when Oyasama became the Shrine of God. The Shinbashira and the other Service performers worshiped at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary. The Shinbashira then ascended the dais to deliver the Service prayer on behalf of all followers. After expressing gratitude for the boundless blessings we receive, he went on to pledge our firm determination to bear God the Parent’s intention in mind and emulate Oyasama’s Divine Model of living in single-heartedness with God. He then said: “On this day last year, I announced Instruction Two to launch our activities for the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. Today, one year later, we stand prepared to renew the enthusiasm we started out with and make even greater strides forward while building on the steps we have already taken. We are aware that we may encounter various difficulties in the course of working to actualize Your urgent desire for the construction of the Joyous Life World but, come what may, we are determined to persevere in strengthening our spirit of single-heartedness with God, in following the Divine Model single-heartedly, and in dedicating ourselves to single-hearted salvation.”
The Kagura was then performed, followed by the Dance with Hand Movements. The followers joined together in singing the songs that accompany the Service while taking to heart their resolution to work ever harder to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings and engage in salvation work during the upcoming second year of the “three years, one thousand days” season that will culminate in the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.
The Shinbashira’s sermon, which followed, stressed the urgent need for all Yoboku, who ought to convey the intention of God the Parent to ever more people, to rouse themselves and get on with their work. Saying that their most important task during the current season was sprinkling the fragrance and helping others be saved, he asked them to remember that there are always people who, deep down in their hearts, are awaiting Yoboku to reach out to them. He closed by encouraging all followers to reflect on their past year’s efforts and build up momentum as they proceed with concerted implementation in the second year.