The September Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was conducted in the Main Sanctuary on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. As it had been raining since early morning, the worshipers made their way to the Sanctuaries under the cover of umbrellas. During the Service, the hills on the eastern side of the Home of the Parent were shrouded in mist, and dark clouds hung low in the sky.
The Shinbashira began the Service prayer by expressing gratitude for God the Parent’s daily blessings and by pledging the followers’ sincere commitment to the task of constructing the Joyous Life World. He went on to say: “September is the month that has been designated for special efforts focused on sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings. In particular, Tenrikyo Nioigake Day will be conducted over the last three days of the month, when church head ministers will be giving roadside speeches and the entire Yoboku community will be proactively sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings out of a heartfelt desire to bring an awareness of the Parent’s intention to greater numbers of people.”
Following the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements, Honbu-in Zensuke Nakata delivered the sermon. Referring to the special efforts that were being made to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings during the month of September, he said, “I hope that each of you will give concrete thought to what you can do to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings and then set about implementing it.” Reminding the listeners that their objective was to share their joy of faith with others and help others be saved, he stressed the importance of straightforwardly taking action to fulfill that objective. To illustrate the point, he cited the example set by Oyasama’s youngest daughter, Kokan, who went to Osaka to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings in 1853, the very year in which her father, Zenbei, had passed away for rebirth and the Nakayama family’s main house was dismantled. Rev. Nakata explained that Kokan’s mission to Osaka thus took place at a time when Oyasama and Her children were living in the depths of poverty and were being ostracized by the villagers. “Great courage wells up within me,” he added, “when I recall how, even under those difficult circumstances, Kokan straightforwardly accepted the Parent’s call for her service and set about implementing it while relying wholeheartedly on the Parent’s guidance, though she was only 17 at the time.”
Turning to the subject of the Service, Rev. Nakata said that Oyasama repeatedly impressed upon the early followers the need to be convinced of the truths of the Service and thoroughly committed to implementing it as well as the need to have the Service performers settle their minds in unity. “Without the Service,” he maintained, “the path of single-hearted salvation simply cannot exist.” In connection with the Service performance, he reminded the listeners of the divine intention behind Oyasama’s withdrawal from physical life on the lunar calendar date of January 26, 1887.
Having made these points, Rev. Nakata said: “Our mission as Yoboku is clear. Always bearing in mind that we are Oyasama’s instruments who have received the precious truth of the Sazuke from Her, we must be straightforward in sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and implementing salvation work as well as make progress on the path of spiritual growth by performing the Service in unity of mind so that God the Parent will be spirited.”
Rev. Nakata then said: “All of us have our own role to play in the task of single-hearted salvation. We can get an insight into what that role is by looking at the events occurring in our life and understanding them to be God the Parent’s personal guidance for us. Let all of us embrace whatever our role happens to be and make an honest effort to serve in it.” He also noted, “One role that we all have in common is to convey Oyasama’s teachings to our children and grandchildren as well as other young people.” Rev. Nakata concluded his sermon by encouraging the congregation to be more active in spreading the teachings while keeping firm faith in God the Parent’s workings and relying wholeheartedly on Oyasama’s guidance.