The February Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was conducted on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. On that day, the rain that had fallen over the previous few days had stopped, and spring sunlight broke through the clouds right before 9:00 A.M., just around the time when the Service was commencing. In the courtyard, the plum blossoms were in bloom, giving off their sweet fragrance.
In the prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed his gratitude for the unchanging daily blessings of God the Parent and said, “With future prospects for the world looking uncertain, we Service performers as well as church head ministers and other Yoboku are, in all circumstances, determined to cultivate the spirit of single-heartedness with God, straightforwardly follow the path of the Divine Model, guide people to the path of true joyousness, and strive for world salvation.”
Following the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements, Honbu-in Yoshiaki Nakayama delivered the sermon. Quoting a passage from a Divine Direction that says, “The new path you are following exists only because there was the old path” (Osashizu, October 9, 1889), Rev. Nakayama said: “Today’s ‘new path’ is built on the foundation of Oyasama’s path of the Divine Model and has been strengthened by our predecessors’ journeys fraught with difficulties. . . . Especially because prospects for the world seem to be uncertain, what we Yoboku and followers must do now is to reflect critically upon the attitude with which we follow the path and to expand the circle of the Joyous Life, starting wherever we can.”
Rev. Nakayama then referred to the first Shinbashira and his wife–Shinnosuke and Tamae Nakayama–to explain the state of mind that Yoboku should uphold. He said, “The first Shinbashira used to tell young people: ‘This path is not a path one can follow relying only on intelligence or physical strength. . . . Those who cannot do salvation work will be failures on the path.’ The first Shinbashira thus stressed the importance of implementing the teachings, which is to say, keeping the teachings of Oyasama in our hearts and doing our utmost to strive for single-hearted salvation.” Further, after introducing the first Shinbashira’s waka verses that describe the many hardships he encountered, Rev. Nakayama said, “That example tells us that no matter how hard the situation may be, perseverance will help us transform it into a seed of truth and delight, which will grow and bear fruit in the future.”
Rev. Nakayama went on to explain the frame of mind that Mrs. Tamae Nakayama advised young men serving at the Residence to have. Then he said: “Nothing is more important than having a joyous and spirited mind when we work for the path. We must once again ponder over the significance and importance of the truth that we are borrowing our body from God, reflect upon the frame of mind in which we are performing the tasks of the path, and thereby serve the path joyously and spiritedly.” He went on to say: “The convictions and actions of the first Shinbashira and his wife serve as exemplary models for those who follow in their footsteps and indicate some of the cornerstones of our faith. . . . We should learn these cornerstones while nurturing ourselves to the point where we can implement them. Let us cultivate our convictions of faith and a mind that enables us to find joy in all circumstances, devote ourselves to spreading the teachings, and thereby work to bring the intention of the Parent to reality.”
To conclude, Rev. Nakayama said, “Let us always remember the hardships of our predecessors who pursued the ‘old path’ and conveyed it to the present and follow the ‘new path’ with a bracing sense of commitment and enthusiasm and with a mind like clear skies.”