The June Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was solemnly conducted on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding.
The day was hot, the temperature reaching a high of 87.8 F (31.0 C). Perspiring followers reached the Main Sanctuary, many using their parasols or wearing their hats. A new hand-washing facility that had recently been completed in the east Sanctuary precincts drew a large number of followers seeking to cool off for a moment.
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, which he read on behalf of all followers, the Shinbashira expressed our gratitude for the boundless providence we constantly receive from God the Parent. He went on to say, “In anticipation of the approaching 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, we Service performers as well as the church head ministers and Yoboku are continuing to exert our utmost efforts to take a great stride along the path during this seasonable time.”
He then expressed the followers’ resolution by saying: “Our progress must seem insufficient in Your eyes. Yet, we would like to ask for Your continued help as we are determined to thoroughly impart the real truth of the world revealed by You to our local communities and beyond. Pondering over the truth that each way we have used our mind is reflected in this world, we will strive to deepen our reflection on all occurrences we encounter and thereby measure up to Your intention.”
The Kagura Service and Dance with Hand Movements were then joyously performed while the congregation spiritedly joined in singing the Mikagura-uta, the songs that accompany the Service.
The sermon was delivered by Honbu-in Taketo Hashimoto. He first explained the significance of the Kagura Service by quoting from the first to the third sections of the Mikagura-uta. Referring to the first section of the Mikagura-uta, he said: “Responding to our prayers, God the Parent shows us marvelous and mysterious workings to save all humankind. This is explained by the Kagura Service, which reenacts the workings through which God the Parent created human beings.”
Then moving on to the second section, he referred to the “Truth of Origin” (which is expressed in the story of creation). He explained the ten aspects of the complete providence of God the Parent that are represented by the hand movements used in the Kagura Service. “God the Parent is striving to help us understand the Truth of Origin by using various components that compose the Kagura Service,” he said.
He then pointed out the importance of sweeping away the dust of the mind, which is achieved through “replacing our self-centered mind with an other-centered mind–or, to put it another way, allowing our mind to become the mind of saving others.” “As you sweep away the dust of the mind and purify the mind,” he said, “you can begin to perceive the route along which God the Parent’s providence flows and the parental heart in which the providence is grounded.” He then emphasized, “That done, joy will arise and high-spiritedness will well up–which is one of the indispensable parts that constitute the Kagura Service.”
Finally, he referred to the third section of the Mikagura-uta and said: “If we understand the parental love of God the Parent, who strives to purify the minds of all people throughout the world, we feel compelled to respond to the parental heart and become full of enthusiasm for working on our spiritual growth. This enthusiasm will be translated into our acts of purifying the mind by sweeping dust from the mind and of helping others be saved.”
He added, “This explains why the Service was taught as a fundamental means of salvation and why the truth of the Sazuke, the Divine Grant, is bestowed on those who sincerely wish to receive it.”