The August Monthly Service was conducted at Tenrikyo Church Headquarters on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding. At 9:00 A.M., the Shinbashira and the other Service performers began their procession through the Corridor, offering worship at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before arriving at the Main Sanctuary.
In the service prayer, the Shinbashira expressed gratitude for the blessings provided by God the Parent day after day. Then, on behalf of all Yoboku–who serve as God the Parent’s instruments in constructing the world of the Joyous Life–he prayed: “God the Parent, we ask that You enter us Yoboku so that, through our words and sincere actions, the heart of the Parent may be imparted to the entire world and thus enable the world to settle in joyousness.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed in harmony with the nine musical instruments, while the followers filling the four worship halls joined together in spiritedly singing the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service.
Following the performance of the Service, Honbu-in Tomoharu Itakura approached the lectern to deliver his sermon. After outlining the steps involved in the process of attaining spiritual growth, he said: “Besides striving to align ourselves with the teachings of this path, we must also interact with others so that they, too, may embrace the truth of the teachings and allow it to serve as a standard for their own mind. Putting that into practice in our daily lives amounts to sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and engaging in salvation work. First, however, we must be quite sure that we ourselves are making a high-spirited effort to attain a new level of spiritual growth. . . . To emulate the example that Oyasama demonstrated in Her Divine Model when She fell into poverty, we must ensure that we are following the path of single-hearted salvation with a spacious mind since that is the key that enables us to be humble and kind-hearted while interacting with others as well as open-minded in accepting whatever happens to come our way.”
Rev. Itakura then stressed the importance of putting time into cultivating the mind of saving others. With reference to the present “three years, one thousand days”–which has been set aside for conducting activities that will culminate in the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama in January 2006–he urged the listeners to make the most of this season by taking decisive steps to guide others to this path of sincerity. Reminding the listeners of the need to correct their stance of faith from time to time, he advised them: “Not only must we be constantly purifying the mind, we must also be committed to doing whatever we can to bring high-spiritedness to our family members and those around us.”
Before closing, he quoted a short passage from the Divine Directions: “Moderation is a primary truth for the world; moderation is a broad path” (January 14, 1892). He then explained: “It goes without saying that we are to live each day with the mind of gratitude and moderation, strive to cultivate our own mind, and save those around us. Above and beyond that, however, we must dedicate ourselves to sprinkling the fragrance in society at large so that we may draw ever closer to receiving the blessing of world salvation.”