The March Monthly Service of Church Headquarters was solemnly performed on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding.
On the morning of that day, the Home of the Parent was bathed in warm spring sunshine in contrast to the rainy weather on the previous day. Among the large number of worshipers attending the Service were many children, since the Service day fell during their spring vacation. There were also many young followers who had come for the Students’ Spring Pilgrimage to Jiba which was scheduled for the 28th. Before the Service started, members of the steering committee for the Students’ Spring Pilgrimage to Jiba could be seen wiping the benches that had been set up outside the Sanctuary, since they were still wet from the rain that had fallen on the previous day.
The Shinbashira and the other Service performers, having paid respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall, filed into the Main Sanctuary shortly after 9:00 A.M. The Shinbashira then proceeded to deliver the Service prayer, in which he expressed gratitude to God the Parent for the blessings we receive daily. He then reported on the progress of the construction of South Right Wing 2 of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex and the construction for the westward expansion of the Sanctuary precincts. He also reported that the Oyasama 120th Anniversary Path Leaders Rallies were being conducted smoothly in various parts of Japan as well as in overseas countries. He then said: “Given the importance of the steps we are to take in salvation, we should redouble our efforts to grow spiritually ourselves and nurture others lest we should fall behind the steady progress being made in the material construction.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed joyously while the congregation spiritedly sang the songs for the Service.
The sermon was then delivered by Honbu-in Tadatsugu Yamanaka. Quoting the Ofudesaki verse that reads, “The reason Tsukihi began human beings was the desire to see you lead a joyous life” (XIV:25), he said, “God the Parent created humankind to see us lead the Joyous Life and share in our joy.” He reminded the listeners of the ten aspects of the complete providence through which humankind was created, by saying: “God the Parent is God of Origin and God in Truth, and we call God the Parent ‘Tenri-O-no-Mikoto.’ The complete providence of God the Parent is taught through the ten aspects of God’s workings, to which ten sacred names are given.” He also said, “God the Parent’s providence never wanes with the passage of time.”
Honbu-in Yamanaka then said, “If we children of God the Parent exert our utmost sincerity, God the Parent will respond with twice the strength, showing us free and unlimited blessings according to our sincerity.” Quoting two stories from Anecdotes of Oyasama, “Twice as Strong” (no. 152) and “If You Let Go Your Strength” (no. 174), he appealed to the listeners, saying, “If we exert our utmost sincerity in saving others, God the Parent will certainly show us further blessings with twice the strength.”
Referring to what the Shinbashira had said in his sermon at this year’s Spring Grand Service, Honbu-in Yamanaka concluded his sermon by saying, “Let all of us settle the Shinbashira’s intention firmly in our minds and enthusiastically devote our utmost efforts to sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and saving others during the next one year and ten months leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.”
On the following day, March 27, Church Headquarters conducted the Spring Memorial Service with the Shinbashira as chief officiant.