The August Monthly Service was conducted on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding. With the Service day falling on the last weekend during the summer vacation, the Sanctuary was filled with adults and their children.
At 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 expressed gratitude for the blessings constantly provided by God the Parent. With the anniversary year approaching its final stages, he spoke of how “we should reflect upon our progress and express our gratitude for God’s blessings, whereby we have been guided through splendidly. At the same time, we should ponder over our future directions and prepare ourselves for new things to come.” He continued: “All of us Yoboku should guard against being swept along by the current of the times and go back to the origin of the teachings once again, so that we can engage in self-reflection and engrave the truth of the teachings ever more deeply in our hearts. Based on this faith of single-heartedness with God, we must resolve to firmly implement the teachings.” He concluded his prayer by encouraging all Yoboku to join hands and unite our minds to make new progress in advancing the path to construct the Joyous Life World.
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed joyously while the congregation filling the four worship halls, Corridor, Inner Courtyard, and surrounding precincts single-heartedly joined in singing the Songs for the Service.
Following the Service, Honbu-in Ichiro Yokoyama took the podium. Currently serving as executive director of Tenri Yorozu-sodansho Foundation, he spoke on the history of the foundation, along with the second Shinbashira’s advocacy of medical care and spiritual salvation. Rev. Yokoyama stated: “In the United States, where medical technology is advanced, there has been a growing recognition that prayer is effective in curing diseases. A book entitled Prayer Is Good Medicine recently became one of the best-selling books. Sixty-seven years ago, the second Shinbashira said that we ought to provide medical treatment to patients but, at the same time, need to think about the salvation of their minds.”
He also went on to explain how Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital currently treats more than 600,000 patients a year and how the Religious Counseling Department, which seeks to bring about patients’ spiritual salvation, engages in salvation activities on more than 60,000 occasions every year. Also, its staff members administer the Sazuke to about 90% of the patients staying in the hospital. He continued by saying: “As medical technology advances, doctors and medicine tend to be seen as a primary means for treatment of diseases; however, in our everyday life, we as Yoboku should strive to administer the Sazuke to people suffering from illness.”
He then spoke on the Divine Model, saying: “On the day of origin of the Teaching’s founding, God the Parent declared world salvation through the mouth of Oyasama. Oyasama started with the salvation of the people at the lowest stratum of society saying, ‘First, I desire to save the farmers.’ Reflecting on this aspect of the Divine Model, I feel it is important for us to make steady progress by fulfilling our immediate responsibilities in our daily life while always aiming for a great dream with a positive mindset.”
He concluded his sermon by saying: “Visiting one’s church daily, sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings by distributing pamphlets, and engaging in hinokishin by picking up litter–these are not really difficult things to do. Yet, it takes a lot of effort to continue doing them for many years. As it is often said that perseverance is a key to success, even powerless people can receive a big blessing by continuing their efforts. I hope that we can sow seeds of the Joyous Life for the people around us by finding joy in the things that happen to us, always keeping a bright, positive mind.”