Followers attending the Monthly Service in front of the South Worship Hall (Feb. 26)
The February Monthly Service was joyously conducted on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. The Shinbashira began the service prayer by thanking God the Parent for the warm parental care we receive day after day. Then, he pledged on behalf of all Yoboku: “We will make every effort to administer the Sazuke, which You bestowed upon us in response to our commitment to single-hearted salvation, and strive to build merit by fulfilling our churches’ tasks. We are also determined to make headway on the path of spiritual growth, so that we may better serve as Oyasama’s instruments for building the Joyous Life World.”
Following the performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements, Honbu-in Tomiji Iwatani took the lectern to deliver the sermon. He began by stressing the importance of attaining a profound insight into the intention of the Parent, who made painstaking efforts to lay the path of single-hearted salvation leading to the Joyous Life out of the single desire to save all humankind.
Citing the Ofudesaki’s closing verse–“I earnestly request each and everyone of you to ponder deeply over these teachings”–Honbu-in Iwatani reminded the listeners that God the Parent’s intention is directed at each and everyone of us throughout the world, and he suggested that we ponder over the teachings so deeply that our hearts will be flooded with gratitude upon realizing the extent to which God the Parent has gone to provide for us. He went on to encourage the listeners to give deep thought to how they can express their gratitude for God’s blessings and set about implementing it in high spirits. “It is essential,” he continued, “to keep our minds focused on the path of single-hearted salvation, whose core is the Service, and sincerely devote ourselves to the tasks of the path.”
Honbu-in Iwatani then suggested two approaches to implement our faith, which he termed “vertical” and “horizontal.” He explained that the vertical approach involves “contributing and dedicating” sincerity to God the Parent and Oyasama, and he asked the listeners to be sure that their efforts of contribution and dedication are accompanied by sincerity and heartfelt gratitude, since those are the keys that allow our efforts to be accepted by God the Parent and Oyasama. The horizontal approach, he continued, involves engaging in salvation work and sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings. “When Yoboku engage in salvation work,” he said, “God the Parent and Oyasama accept their sincerity and provide them with free and unlimited workings and parental guidance.” He closed the sermon with the words “Let all of us follow this reliable path together in the highest of spirits.”