The March Monthly Service was performed on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters with the Shinbashira presiding. In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed gratitude for the constant blessings provided by God the Parent in the course of our daily lives. He went on to say: “We Service performers as well as church head ministers and Yoboku are painfully aware that the present state of the world is far from being in accord with Your intention. Although You, God the Parent, created us human beings to lead the Joyous Life, we have allowed our minds to be covered with the dust of self-serving thoughts, thus inviting countless worries and anxieties upon ourselves. We are thus determined to return our minds to their original state as Oyasama teaches, follow the Divine Model ever more earnestly, and carry out the task entrusted to us Yoboku, which is to say, to reconstruct the world into the Joyous Life World.” He concluded the prayer by saying, “Together with all those present, I pray that You grant us the blessings that will allow the world to be a truly joyful world where all people live together in harmony as brothers and sisters and help one another.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed joyously, while the congregation spiritedly joined in singing the songs that accompany the Service. Because students were on their spring break, the Service was attended by an especially large number of young people, many of whom had returned to Jiba to attend youth-oriented activities such as the Students’ Spring Pilgrimage to Jiba and a seminar for fife-and-drum corps instructors. Also noticeable among the congregation were many followers taking advantage of their children’s spring vacation to attend the Service together with their families.
Following the Service performance, Honbu-in Yoshiaki Nakayama took the podium to deliver the sermon. “The anniversaries of Oyasama,” he began, “are milestones in the construction of the Joyous Life World.” He then explained that what is important during this season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama is “to settle the intention of God the Parent and Oyasama firmly in our minds, to follow in our predecessors’ footsteps by sowing seeds of sincerity at the Jiba, and to convey the teachings to those who will follow in our own footsteps.” He also stressed the need “to sweep away the dusts of the mind, using the teachings as the standard for our minds.”
Referring to the Shinbashira’s sermon at last year’s Autumn Grand Service, he said: “It is the duty of Yoboku to follow the path with the firm conviction that one day we will assuredly realize the Joyous Life World. In order to bring joy to God the Parent and Oyasama, it is of utmost importance to rely completely on God the Parent while performing the service and administering the Sazuke.”
To close his sermon, he quoted verse XIV:25 from the Ofudesaki, “The reason Tsukihi began human beings was the desire to see you lead a joyous life,” and then said: “Oyasama is anxiously awaiting the day when we succeed in replacing our troubled world with the world of the Joyous Life so desired by God the Parent. Let us spiritedly devote our utmost to this endeavor so that we will be able to observe the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama without any regrets.”