The March Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was conducted on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. On that day, it was cold in the morning, but the temperature went up as the sun rose, and the Home of the Parent was blessed with warm spring weather. Around the Sanctuary precincts, followers enjoyed a variety of colorful spring flowers including cherry blossoms. Shortly after 9:00 A.M., the Shinbashira and the other Service performers left the Staff Quarters to offer worship at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary.
In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed gratitude for the constant blessings of God the Parent. He continued, “We Service performers as well as church head ministers and Yoboku are resolved to settle the intention of the Parent–who hastens the reconstruction of the world–deeply in our minds and exert our full measure of sincerity in fulfilling our roles as Oyasama’s instruments, looking forward to the delight that lies ahead.”
Following the joyous performance of the Kagura and the Dance with Hand Movements, Honbu-in Yoshiharu Nakayama took the podium to deliver the sermon. He first looked back on the day of origin of the founding of the Teaching and said, “It is obvious why human beings, after spending many years, have still not been able to realize the world of joyousness, although we were created and have received the blessings in everything to live the Joyous Life.” He went on to say that that was because human beings–who were given the free use of the mind–have lived in a manner based on self-centered thoughts. Quoting from the Ofudesaki and The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, Rev. Nakayama continued: “We were created to live the Joyous Life. When we can think of and work for others, our minds will become lightened, brightened, and spirited the most. This is the state of being saved. . . . We can learn from the Divine Model that, when we forget our own concerns, we will find the path that will make our mind spirited.” He then referred to some of the current activities aimed at helping to nurture the young, such as the Seminar for Successors and the “Gatherings for Tenri Young Men: Unity and Progress”–the latter being scheduled to be held regionally starting in August to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Young Men’s Association. Noting that there is growing momentum to increase efforts to nurture young people, he requested young followers of the path to try to ponder what Oyasama would think and do, forget their own concerns, and give consideration to those around them in their daily lives. Before closing his sermon, Rev. Nakayama said: “Making daily efforts to build a close, personal connection with Oyasama in our own minds is a key step to further spiritual growth and is, in fact, the way of following the path that will make our mind spirited. . . . Let us exert ourselves to the utmost to follow the Divine Model of Oyasama.”
Spring Memorial Service
The Spring Memorial Service was conducted on the following day, the 27th. At the Main Sanctuary, the Shinbashira read the prayer, which was followed by the dance to the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo and the Twelve Songs. After the service performance, the Shinbashira proceeded to the Memorial Hall and read the prayer in honor of deceased followers’ endeavors and virtues. The ceremony was brought to a close after representatives of the congregation offered their prayers.