The April Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was solemnly conducted on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. Blessed with fine weather and the occasional cool breeze, followers who returned to the Home of the Parent were welcomed by blooming azaleas.
At 9:00 A.M. the Shinbashira and 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 mentioned the upcoming annual Hinokishin Day: “It is intended for the entire Tenrikyo community, and I hope it will be attended by every follower who has been drawn to this path. We are determined to respond to Your blessings that enable us to freely use the body we borrow from You by expressing our joy and gratitude in concrete actions.” He concluded the prayer by saying: “Please provide us with guidance so that these selfless actions will serve as a good example of mutual help for society and thereby allow us to accelerate our steps toward the Joyous Life.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then joyously performed while followers joined together in singing the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service.
Following this, Honbu-in Yoshiaki Mihama took the podium to deliver the sermon. Based on the first words declared by God the Parent on the Teaching’s day of origin, he emphasized that this path leads to universal salvation. He said: “We find words like ‘world’ and ‘universe’ numerous times in the Three Scriptures–the Ofudesaki, the Mikagura-uta, and the Osashizu–which are the basis for our unwavering faith. Just from this fact alone, we can appreciate and understand the boundless parental love of God, who created humankind and the world.” He then explained that Yoboku are the people whom God the Parent assembles for universal salvation after determining their nature. “One of our important tasks is to continue nurturing more Yoboku,” he added.
He also said that he received sanction to become the bishop of Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters in Taiwan this January and held the service for his installation as the 13th bishop in March. Exactly 40 years ago in 1967, one year after the 80th Anniversary of Oyasama, he received sanction to become the bishop of the Mission Headquarters in Taiwan and was the first bishop to actually be dispatched to Taiwan after World War II. He recalled that the political environment was harsh, with the island under martial law, thus making it impossible to perform the service for his installation as the new bishop. He thus felt profound joy for being able to perform his first installation service after the long period of 40 years had passed since his first appointment.
He concluded his sermon by saying: “Our predecessors conveyed their joy of being saved by God the Parent to many people, which amounted to sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and engaging in salvation work. I believe that their conveying of joy has led to the current state and the spread of the path. In order to realize universal salvation, so desired by Oysama, let us walk this path with ever more spirited minds.”