The February Monthly Service took place in the Main Sanctuary on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding.
The day was cold, the weather being cloudy with snowflakes falling now and then, though the red blossoms on a plum tree near the Foundress’ Sanctuary heralded the coming of spring.
The Shinbashira and the other Service performers arrived in the Main Sanctuary around 9:30 A.M. to the strains of gagaku music after paying respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall.
The Shinbashira then ascended the dais to deliver the Service prayer on behalf of all followers. He expressed gratitude for the boundless providence being constantly given by God the Parent each day. He went on to say, “During the concluding year for the ‘three years, one thousand days’ activities leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, all of us Yoboku, including the church head ministers, are doing our utmost to produce promising developments and promote the powerful sprouting of buds that will lead to future delight.”
He concluded the prayer by saying: “I pray that more and more people will try to connect with one another, establish harmony as brothers and sisters, and respect and help one another so that a true settling referred to as ‘leveled ground’ may come to the world. Together with all present, I reverently pray that these blessings be bestowed.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed with solemn joy. The followers in attendance sang along–with all their hearts–to the Mikagura-uta, the songs that accompany the Service.
The sermon was delivered by Honbu-in Keiichiro Moroi, who put emphasis on the Dance with Hand Movements. Acknowledging the difficulties involved in learning this Dance, he suggested that some of them stemmed from a lack of understanding of the Mikagura-uta and the dance movements used. He went on to share some of his insights and experiences.