On January 1, the New Year’s Day Service marking the beginning of the 172nd year of Tenrikyo was solemnly performed at Tenrikyo Church Headquarters with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. In the pre-dawn hours, when the temperature was hovering around freezing point, followers arrived in Jiba one after another to attend the first Service of the year with a renewed resolution to make further progress on the path of single-hearted salvation.
At 5:00 A.M., the Shinbashira, accompanied by the other Service performers, left the Staff Quarters to pay respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary. The Shinbashira began the Service prayer by offering his New Year’s greetings to God the Parent. “Throughout the past year,” he continued, “we consolidated our footing, advanced the path in accordance with the teachings, and worked hard to carry out the tasks of the season in our respective positions and roles so that we may serve You as building materials for the construction of the Joyous Life World. . . . Embracing renewed resolve worthy of the New Year, we are committed to making further progress in our efforts of implementation and exerting layer upon layer of sincerity by sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and engaging in salvation work as our way of responding to Your intention to hasten universal salvation. I ask You to grant us Your free and unlimited blessings and guide us toward the broad path of single-hearted salvation.”
After the prayer, the first Service for the 172nd year of Tenrikyo–which consisted of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements–was joyously performed.
Following the Service, the Shinbashira proceeded to the Foundress’ Sanctuary to deliver a prayer to the everliving Oyasama. After extending New Year’s greetings to Her, he pledged, “Welcoming the New Year with a heightened awareness of being Your instruments, we vow to spread the original Parent’s intention far and wide and advance the construction of the Joyous Life World while keeping our hearts filled with the joy of having You use us as Your instruments.”