April Monthly Service Joyfully Performed

April Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was solemnly conducted on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding. The rain, which had fallen since the previous night, let up by early morning. An hour or so before the Service was to commence, warm rays of sunshine streamed through the clouds, heralding the coming of early summer. Followers heading toward the Main Sanctuary to attend the Service were greeted by the rain drops on leaves that glittered in the sunshine in and around the precincts.

At 9:00 A.M., the Shinbashira and the other Service performers began their rounds of the Sanctuaries. They paid respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary while elegant gagaku music resonated throughout the precincts.

In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira expressed our gratitude for the boundless providence we constantly receive from God the Parent and our determination to exert utmost efforts to accomplish the construction of the Joyous Life World. He went on to say: “From this year, we will observe the annual Hinokishin Day on April 29. On that day, all of us Yoboku and followers of the path will express our gratitude for Your blessings that enable us to live in good health by busily engaging in hinokishin in various parts of the world. I pray that You help us demonstrate the spirit of mutual help to our communities through this hinokishin activity so that we can advance even a step further along the path to the Joyous Life. Together with all present, I pray reverently that You grant us these blessings.”

The Kagura and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed joyfully. Although thick clouds covered the sky and strong westerly winds blew from time to time, the sun occasionally peeped through the clouds, allowing the followers to enjoy the fine spring weather. On that day the temperature reached a high of 77 F (25 C).

The sermon was delivered by Honbu-in Mantaro Yoshikawa. He first explained the truth of “a thing lent, a thing borrowed,”quoting verses 40 and 41 from Part III of the Ofudesaki, which run: “This universe is the body of God. Ponder this in all matters. All human bodies are things lent by God. With what thought are you using them?” He then said: “God the Parent has allowed us to use our minds as we please. Depending solely on our state of mind, we will be able to receive any blessing. It is totally up to our use of mind whether we will be able to live joyously or will face troubles and sufferings. We are taught that everything will appear according to the use of mind. The very first step to live the Joyous Life is to accept this teaching.”

He also quoted a Divine Direction that says: “There are no free and unlimited blessings anywhere except in the mind of sincerity. The body is a thing lent by God. The mind alone is yours. Everything depends on your state of mind. Listen and understand the truth of a thing lent” (Osashizu, February 15, 1888). He then explained: “The mind of sincerity is the mind that is free from greed and also the mind to save others. This is what God the Parent wishes us to have and is the basis for receiving free and unlimited blessings. . . . It is essential for us children of the path to sweep away the dust of mind, remain devoted to the Divine Model of Oyasama in all circumstances, trust in God the Parent in all matters, and save and bring satisfaction to others while casting away our self-centered thoughts.”

He then quoted from the Shinbashira’s sermon at the Spring Grand Service: “I very much hope that all of you will complete your pre-anniversary activities by working to your utmost throughout this concluding year so that you will have no regrets and, instead, have radiant spirits when you observe the 120th Anniversary. I also hope that you will spiritedly implement your activities so as to show Oyasama a lively and joyous atmosphere in Jiba throughout the year of the anniversary.” Rev. Yoshikawa emphasized that, in order for us to meet the Shinbashira’s intention, all of us Yoboku and followers must bring our minds together and express our joy in our actions.

He closed his sermon by asking the listeners to participate in the annual Hinokishin Day, saying, “Let us show our gratitude for the blessing of ‘a thing lent, a thing borrowed,’ express the joy of life in our actions, and bring joy to Oyasama by showing Her our high-spiritedness.”

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