The Spring Grand Service for the 167th year of the Teaching was conducted at the Home of the Parent on January 26 in remembrance of the day when Oyasama, shortening Her term of life by 25 years, withdrew from physical life to step out and level the ground, saying, “I shall save the world from now.” Followers who returned here for the Service from various parts of Japan and overseas countries joined in singing the Songs for the Service and engraved once again in their minds Oyasama’s deep parental love. This year marks the second year of the “three years, one thousand days” season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, scheduled for January 26, 2006. Followers who filled up the Sanctuary precincts pledged with one another to further implement salvation work in their local communities and, thereby, accelerate their progress toward the anniversary.
That day, the Home of the Parent was blessed with a clear blue sky. The temperature had dropped to minus 1.3C (30F)–below average temperature. The mountains to the east of the Main Sanctuary were partly covered with snow that had fallen on the previous day. Around 10 A.M., despite the cold weather, followers began to gather in the Sanctuary precincts to attend the Service, which was scheduled to start at 11:30 A.M. All four worship halls were filled with followers by about 11 A.M. and the corridor was also crowded with followers. At 11:30 A.M., the Shinbashira, accompanied by the other Service performers, proceeded first to the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall to pay respects. Upon arriving at the Main Sanctuary, the Shinbashira proceeded onto the dais to read the Service prayer on behalf of all followers.
In his prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed gratitude for the blessings of God the Parent. He then said: “This year marks the second year of the ‘three years, one thousand days’ season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. Desiring to further implement salvation work and make further progress, we will be conducting the Oyasama 120th Anniversary Path Leaders Rallies between February and May in each diocese and district so that church head ministers and their spouses as well as mission station heads will deepen their awareness of their roles as path leaders and reaffirm their resolve to take a leading role in implementing single-hearted salvation.”
The Shinbashira then said: “All of us Yoboku are resolved to take what is appearing in the world as our concern and reflect upon today’s tendency to be swayed by desire. We are further resolved to deepen our own faith to accord with the Parent’s mind, which desires the salvation of all people in the world, and exert our utmost in order to spread God the Parent’s blessings of salvation throughout the world.”
He ended the prayer by saying: “Please accept our resolve and allow us to continue serving You so that the evils of the world may be swept away and people’s minds may become bright and enriched, thereby enabling them to receive Your blessings fully and enjoy leading a life filled with joy.”
Following this, the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were performed. Followers, including those who were sitting outside in the Sanctuary precincts, joined in singing the Songs for the Service. The Service was followed by the Shinbashira’s sermon (see pages 2-3). At two o’clock, shortly after the Shinbashira began his sermon, the musical siren sounded. He paused for a moment to pay respects to Oyasama together with all other followers. He then resumed delivering the sermon and explained how we should spend the second year of the “three years, one thousand days” season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.
Some 240 people from 13 overseas countries and regions returned for the Spring Grand Service, and 1,290 people attended the Besseki lectures on 25th and 26th.