The Shinbashira led the last Service of the year on December 26 in the Main Sanctuary of Tenrikyo headquarters. On a day that was fairly mild for the time of year, the Home of the Parent was vibrant with a large number of people who had returned to Jiba to express their gratitude for God’s providence received throughout the year.
The Shinbashira, in his prayer, stated: “This year, the 170th year of the Teaching, we Yoboku made a new start toward achieving spiritual growth with a pledge that each one of us would implement Your teachings and live in accord with Your intention each day while following the path of the Divine Model shown personally by Oyasama.” He mentioned that the Head Ministers Seminar in Oyasato and the first 17 sessions of the Seminar for Successors had duly taken place and that, for the first time, the first day of the three-day Nioigake Day period had been designated as the day for church head ministers to give roadside speeches. He expressed his gratitude for the blessings that had enabled these activities to be carried out. He went on to say: “Perceiving Your parental heart’s urging for the reconstruction of all human minds behind the changing social attitudes and conditions, all of us Yoboku, including all church head ministers and myself, will make a point of correcting what need be corrected about ourselves, focus our attention more sharply, and exert our full measure of sincerity to ensure that the true path that brings a settling to the world will spread throughout the world.” The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then joyously performed. This was followed by Honbu-in Hiroaki Yamazawa’s sermon. Rev. Yamazawa said that Yoboku in each country and community should take the lead in activities aimed at attaining the Joyous Life for all humankind while churches are to provide facilities for such activities. Citing Oyasama’s words from the Anecdotes of Oyasama, he spoke about the attitude that should be embraced by those who gather at Oyasama’s Residence and, by extension, those who have been drawn to their local churches. “It is important to have a strong conviction of faith, the conviction that the everliving Oyasama is indeed here,” he said. “We must never forget that we are part of the Residence where the everliving Oyasama is working. This, indeed, provides seeds of spiritedness, the basis of spiritedness, and the source of energy for us to perform the tasks of this path.” He stressed the importance of seeing everything we do as part of God’s work, a perspective that will allow for a sense of gratitude, satisfaction, and delight as we perform any task. “The feeling that we are living with God and are always with Oyasama and the attitude that Oyasama’s work is our own concern will provide the seeds of spiritedness,” he said. “This will then allow all sorts of blessings of God to be shown to us because, to quote God’s words, ‘as those close to Me become spirited, God, also, will be spirited.'” He went on to offer his insights into the meaning of the Proof Amulet, saying that the Amulet, which we can wear at all times, has been provided out of a parental love that seeks to help us always bear our mission as Yoboku in mind. He also said that each and every Yoboku should make a constant effort to grow spiritually so as to near the Parent. “Let us be spirited and work together to enhance our spiritedness as we follow the straight course of the path to the Joyous Life,” he added.