The April Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was conducted in the Main Sanctuary on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding. The blue sky stretching above the Home of the Parent contrasted sharply with the fresh greenery of the mountains to the east.
The Shinbashira, accompanied by the other Service performers, proceeded to the Main Sanctuary after worshiping at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall. He then ascended the dais to lead the congregation in worship and delivered the Service prayer.
In the prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed gratitude for God the Parent’s constant and profound parental love. Then referring to verses XVI:1-2 of the Ofudesaki, which contain the intention of God the Parent who wished to teach the origin of humankind to the world, he said: “Engraving Your parental desire in our minds, all of us Yoboku shall inquire deeply into the Truth of Origin ourselves and convey this original truth to the world at all costs. We are determined to follow the intention expressed by You, God the Parent, who created humankind, and exert ourselves to help people in the world take a firm stride toward the Joyous Life.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then joyously performed while followers joined in singing the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service.
The sermon following the performance of the Service was delivered by Honbu-in Tadao Tosa. He pointed out, “Those of us who follow this path must always remember to align ourselves with the truth of the season.” He then outlined the activities that have been conducted from the outset of this “three years, one thousand days” season that will culminate in the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. He said: “Our activities for this season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama are focused on sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and saving others. What is vital in this endeavor is to get those who are already Yoboku to administer the Sazuke they have received and, in addition, to nurture many others to the point where they, too, will become Yoboku.” He also said: “When one becomes a Yoboku, one stands at a starting line, so to speak, where one is finally in a position to begin administering the Sazuke. And yet, wouldn’t you agree that there are many people who feel as if they have reached a finishing line once they receive the truth of the Sazuke and then just sit back without being active?” He went on to encourage church head ministers and others in leadership roles to take advantage of their experience to help these Yoboku become active. In addition, he reminded them that they should continue to provide care and guidance by exerting their fullest measure of sincerity.
Further, referring to the importance of the truth of “a thing lent, a thing borrowed,” he explained the attitude of hinokishin, which is the expression of gratitude and repayment for the blessings we receive. He said: “Let us settle in our minds our indebtedness for the immense favors that we receive from God the Parent day after day and, leaving behind our self-centered thoughts so as to bring joy to the Parent, let us make an honest effort to make repayment for those blessings. That in itself will lead us straight along the path of spiritual growth.”
Before closing his sermon, he called upon the listeners to unite their minds in high spirits, be thorough in sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and implementing salvation work, and exert utmost sincerity in providing care and guidance for others so as to respond to the truth of this season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.