The March Monthly Service was conducted in the Main Sanctuary of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. Since the Service fell on Sunday, there were a lot of pilgrimage groups that returned to Jiba from near and far, and the precincts of Church Headquarters were filled with a great number of people, including young men and women who participated in a fife-and-drum corps instructors seminar as well as the staff members of the Oyasama 120th Anniversary Students’ Spring Pilgrimage to Jiba, which was scheduled to be held on the 28th.
Amid accompanying gagaku music, the Shinbashira and the other Service performers filed into the Main Sanctuary after having paid respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall. At the Main Sanctuary, the Shinbashira read his Service prayer aloud. In it, he first expressed his appreciation for God’s marvelous blessings and then said, “Having designated this year as the year of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, we are committed to working for single-hearted salvation at any cost in our role as Yoboku for the construction of a new world.” He also asked God the Parent for further blessings, saying: “May our true sincerity allow us to show a convincing example that will powerfully convey to people all over the world the parental heart that wishes to save all humankind as well as the real truth of all matters. I also pray that we will be able to sweep away evils even a day sooner, cut off the root of illness, and settle conflict and strife so that we can make the world brim with true joy.” The prayer was followed by the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements, and the followers joined together in singing the songs for the Service.
After the Service, Honbu-in Motoo Matsuda took the lectern to deliver his sermon. He began by saying, “Although the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama has been brought to a conclusion, we have just arrived at another starting point and are about to take a new step toward the next milestone.” He continued: “Before making a new start, we need to straightforwardly reflect on the way we have performed our tasks. With a fresh mind, every one of us must take a step forward together in high spirits to follow the path of spiritual growth.” Referring to the meaning of the term “origin,” he then emphasized that Tenrikyo followers should know the origin of human creation, the day of origin of the Teaching, the day of origin of Oyasama’s anniversaries, and the day of origin of our faith. He also said, “It is important for us to return to those origins and take a fresh look at our goal.”
Then, Honbu-in Matsuda pointed out that the most urgent task that every follower ought to perform while proceeding to the next milestone is to nurture the successors to the path. He continued his sermon by mentioning this year’s Students’ Spring Pilgrimage to Jiba and Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba. “The purpose of returning to Jiba is,” he said, “neither attending events held here nor just contributing to giving a lively atmosphere here.” He went on to say, “However, for the sake of the future path, it is important for us to take advantage of the year of the anniversary to bring as many children of the path as possible back to Jiba with us.” He concluded his sermon by motivating the followers to “lay the foundation for spiritual growth and continue walking the path joyously and spiritedly.”
The Spring Memorial Service was conducted on the following day, the 27th. Following the performance of the Dance with Hand Movements in the Main Sanctuary, a ceremony was held in the Memorial Hall to recall the achievements of the predecessors of the path.