July 2011 Monthly Service

The July Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was conducted on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding. The day also marked the opening day of the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba. Children, members of the Boys and Girls Hinokishin Corps, and escorting staff wearing various matching T-shirts stood out in the Sanctuary precincts.

In his prayer, the Shinbashira touched upon the Children’s Pilgrimage that was to begin later that day by saying: “We will be holding the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba under the theme ‘All people are brothers and sisters. Let’s return to the Home of the Parent.’ During the festivities, many children will come back from many parts of the world—not to mention those from Japan—and participate in various educational and training activities as well as other attractions. Please watch them enjoying those activities with deep parental love so that everything goes smoothly. I ask for Your guidance so that each child who is given parental love and care will grow into the kind of person who is cheerful, energetic in character, and rich in mind.”

This was followed by a joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements as worshipers sang the Mikagura-uta in unison.

The sermon was delivered by Honbu-in Yoshiaki Mihama, bishop of Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters in Taiwan. He began by explaining how, after the kagura masks were completed in 1874, the Service began to be conducted on the 26th of each month and that performers practiced the hand movements every day and night. Quoting verses from the Ofudesaki and the Mikagura-uta, he spoke on the importance of drawing our hearts to Jiba.

Then, Bishop Mihama stated that we need to strive to bring ourselves into accord with God the Parent’s intention if Jiba is to become a place where people from around the world will come to assemble, overflowing with the joy of having been saved.

Next, Bishop Mihama quoted a passage from the Shinbashira’s sermon at this year’s Spring Grand Service that urged followers to focus their minds on the task of world salvation and said: “Taking these words seriously, let us come together and follow the path in order to respond to this grand intention. Let us make that pledge today.” He then went on to explain that the key to doing so was to straightforwardly accept and implement the activities carried out by the Tenrikyo community that are centered around Jiba.

Further, after an acknowledgement that the path spread because the predecessors of the faith did not doubt God the Parent’s workings, he said: “Oyasama is always trying to find ways to save the world. Keeping this in mind, let us make a further effort to cultivate the kind of faith that is centered on Jiba.” Then, “Every step that is necessary for all human beings to reach the Joyous Life and attain salvation is contained in the teachings and can be seen in Oyasama’s Divine Model.”

Bishop Mihama next mentioned there is now a call to conserve energy after the nuclear power plant crisis that resulted from the earthquake and tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan. He then said that it was more important than ever to seriously implement the keys to the Joyous Life, namely, “gratitude, moderation, and mutual help.” In particular, he stressed the need to reflect to the world the mind of gratitude and moderation as taught by Oyasama through Her Divine Model.

After describing how the Taiwan congregation responded to the disaster in northeastern Japan, Bishop Mihama spoke of the current effort to have Yoboku learn and implement the “ten aspects of God’s providence” and “eight dusts.”

Finally, Bishop Mihama touched on this year’s Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba by saying: “Let us celebrate its opening cheerfully together with everyone including those children who have returned to the Home of the Parent despite having been affected by the disaster. . . . Let us thereby spread the mind of mutual help and the word hinokishin to the world with great enthusiasm.”

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