The July Monthly Service was performed in the Main Sanctuary of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters on the morning of the 26th. The Service began with the Shinbashira’s prayer in which he expressed gratitude for the constant blessings provided by God the Parent in the course of our daily lives. Referring to the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, scheduled to begin immediately following the Service, he continued: “A great many boys and girls will be gathering here at Jiba to enjoy this midsummer event. Please watch over them and guide them so that they may intimately feel the blessings of their true Parent, deepen their joy at the gift of life while participating in hinokishin and the many attractions planned for them, and thus prepare them to grow up to be sincere people with rich minds.” Expressing appreciation for the many blessings shown in response to our spiritedness in implementing the pre-anniversary activities, he then pledged: “We will focus our attention on reconfirming and strengthening the resolutions we made at the outset of this ‘three years, one thousand days’ season and continue making strenuous efforts to accomplish them.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then joyously performed while the congregation spiritedly joined in singing the songs that accompany the Service.
Following the Service performance, Honbu-in Toyoo Tsuji, bishop of Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters in America, delivered the sermon. “This year, being the pivotal middle year of our three-year pre-anniversary season,” he said, “we must be sure to propel our salvation activities in a manner that is appropriate for this important season.” After quoting from Instruction Two to clarify how we can attain the mind of sincerity upon which our efforts to implement salvation work depend, he said, “The mind of sincerity refers to the quality of the mind after it has been cleansed of self-serving human thoughts and selfish desires; it stays focused on single-hearted salvation and implements God the Parent’s intention with absolute sincerity.”
Turning to the topic of the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, Rev. Tsuji reminded the adult leaders who had brought groups of children to the pilgrimage that one of their roles was to bring joy to Oyasama by proactively nurturing the children under their care. “We should ensure,” he suggested, “that all these young participants discover the joy and preciousness of being kept alive by God, feel the warmth of their true Parent, and derive a sense of fulfillment from having done hinokishin during their stay in Jiba.” With respect to nurturing children, he explained: “The vertical mission refers to imparting the joy of faith from parent to child. If a parent finds no joy in a given situation and expresses dissatisfaction by complaining about it, that way of responding to situations will be passed on to the child. . . . On the other hand, when children see their parents praying to God the Parent each day by performing the morning and evening services, that way of living will be imparted to their children. . . . So long as parents maintain the mind of sincerity, they can rest assured that their faith in this path will be handed by their children to their grandchildren.”
He concluded by outlining the steps that allow us to make progress on the path. “What is expected of us at the moment.” he said, “is to take the initiative to seek the teachings, settle them firmly in our minds, and implement them in the course of our daily life. . . . Since God the Parent promises free and unlimited workings in response to our mind of sincerity, our priority is to replace our mind with the mind of sincerity–the mind that accords with God the Parent’s intention. That effort involves constant reflection on our state of mind to ensure that we are using it in a way that accords with God the Parent’s mind. The very first thing we must do, therefore, is sweep our mind clean. Correcting our use of the mind so that it becomes single-hearted with God, being vigilant in sweeping dust from it, and replacing it with the mind of sincerity will, we are taught, spontaneously bring about a transformation of the world around us. . . . During the remaining half of this pre-anniversary season, I hope that we will follow this path together in high spirits while paying close attention to sweeping the dust from our minds so that we may advance our spiritual growth and thus bring joy to the everliving Oyasama.”