On the 26th, the July Monthly Service was performed in Church Headquarters’ Main Sanctuary, with Successor-Designate Daisuke Nakayama presiding as chief officiant in place of the Shinbashira.
In the Service prayer, he first expressed his gratitude to God for guiding all of us human beings by providing appropriate care and guidance according to the time and occasion through various knots of difficulties. He then referred to the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, which would be held between July 26 and August 4, and said: “We pray that, through participating in various activities, the children returning to Jiba this summer will be able to learn the teachings and obtain a seed for their spiritual growth to take home along with fun memories. Please guide us in ensuring that everything proceeds smoothly throughout the duration of the pilgrimage.”
Regarding the devastating disaster caused by the torrential rains in western Japan, he said: “We will reflect deeply upon the intention of the Parent, taking it as our own concern. We will brace ourselves once again and dedicate our utmost to the tasks of the path through our respective roles and positions.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed joyously with followers joining in singing the songs for the Service in high spirits. In attendance were many who were on the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, including members of the Boys and Girls Association.
Following the Service, Honbu-in Seiji Maegawa took the podium to deliver the sermon. He started by mentioning the Children’s Pilgrimage, which would begin that afternoon, and told the congregation about the intention contained in the event’s day of origin. He explained that “the earth-carrying hinokishin for the Oyasato Construction” was conducted in 1953 as part of the pre-anniversary activities before the 70th Anniversary of Oyasama. An event called “Hinokishin for Children” was then organized because people wanted younger generations to experience the kind of joy they themselves were experiencing by doing hinokishin for the Oyasato Construction. The event was then expanded and was held in the following year as the first Children’s Hinokishin Pilgrimage to Jiba.
He then said, “Those hosting children wanted nothing but to bring delight to the children who returned to Jiba so that they would go back home with a sense of contentment.” Thus, they were extremely cautious about sanitation regarding accommodations and meals, and they also made the straw baskets and the poles for earth-carrying hinokishin small enough for children.
After quoting from the Besseki lecture, Rev. Maegawa said: “As children enjoy participating in the various events during the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, they will naturally acquire the teachings and show how they get along with one another and have fun together. Their joy will surely bring delight to God the Parent and Oyasama. God will then give merits to the souls of all the children returning to Jiba, those who accompany them on the pilgrimage, and staff members who take care of them here.”
Lastly, he pointed out that the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba is an event that is easy to promote, and it is therefore a prime opportunity for sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and helping others be saved. He concluded his sermon by saying: “We should not stop our efforts after the event but continue providing thorough care and guidance. In this way, we can nurture the young generations who will shoulder the work of the path in the future as Yoboku. Let us make every effort in this regard.”