Blessed with mild weather unusual for this time of year–the average temperature in the morning being 56.3F–Church Headquarters November Monthly Service was solemnly conducted on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding. Followers heading for the Main Sanctuary to attend the Service were greeted by golden ginkgo leaves glittering in the sunshine in and around the precincts.
The Shinbashira, accompanied by the other Service performers, went to the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary. In his prayer to God the Parent, the Shinbashira extended his appreciation for the profound blessings that God the Parent provides daily. He went on to say that all followers are devoting themselves to sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and saving others in the current season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama based on the realization that this is a season when God the Parent is intensely urging us to implement world salvation and, therefore, a truly significant season when we must respond to the intention of the Parent by making great strides along the path of salvation. The Kagura and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed to the accompaniment of musical instruments, while the congregation spiritedly joined in singing the songs for the Service.
The sermon was delivered by Honbu-in Hiroaki Yamazawa, who referred to the stance of mind that the followers should maintain at a time when there was just one month left in the first year of the “three years, one thousand days” activities preceding the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. He explained the importance of spiritual growth, saying, “What brings the Parent utmost delight and satisfaction is to see the children’s spiritual growth, which is to say, to see them gradually understand the Parent’s intention and respond to it through their actions.” He explained that by sincerely fulfilling our respective roles in anticipation of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, we will be blessed with the fruit of spiritual growth. With regard to the “three years, one thousand days” activities, he went on to say that the goals of those activities should not be set by ideas about convenience or ease of achievement. He emphasized that what is important is, rather, to focus solely on following the path of the Divine Model in implementing those activities, whereby we will be shown great joy.
For Yoboku, he noted, there is nothing more important than being busily engaged in sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and saving others in the current season. He stated that nothing could give us more pleasure than to help others be saved, to see them become Yoboku through attending the Besseki lectures, and to have them join us in doing salvation work. He closed his sermon by saying, “Let us implement salvation work as best we can in the remaining one month of the first year, thereby invigorating our second-year activities right from the beginning.”