The April Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was performed on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary.
Serving as chief officiant on behalf of the Shinbashira, Successor-Designate Daisuke Nakayama expressed in the Service prayer his appreciation to God the Parent for opening the path of single-hearted salvation and guiding all toward the Joyous Life. He then touched upon the annual Tenrikyo Hinokishin Day, which was to be held on the 29th, saying, “On that day, many of us followers of the path will express our gratitude for Your daily workings that keep us as healthy as possible by engaging in hinokishin activities, thus responding to the boundless blessings You provide for us.” He went on to say: “We Service performers as well as church head ministers and other Yoboku are determined to engage in hinokishin every day with the mind of making repayment to You, sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings of the path, bring many people to the path that leads to salvation, and draw closer to the heart of Oyasama, who yearns for single-hearted salvation.”
The prayer was followed by the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements. After the Service performance, Honbu-in Yuji Murata took the podium to deliver the sermon.
Rev. Murata first talked of Oyasama having the causality of the soul of Izanami-no-Mikoto—the soul of the original mother of humanity—and said, “I think we can say that the 40 years from Oyasama’s birth on April 18, 1798, is also a model that we can follow toward the Joyous Life.” He then quoted excerpts from chapter 2 of The Life of Oyasama, entitled “The Early History of Oyasama,” and said, “In any situation, Oyasama would put Herself in the shoes of others, forgetting Herself, and do things to bring joy to others.” He went on to say, “In this way, Oyasama would always guide people by helping them to work with their minds so that they could not help but start behaving positively.” He concluded the first part of his sermon by saying, “Even before becoming the Shrine of Tsukihi, Oyasama taught us the state of mind we should have and what actions we should take in order to achieve the Joyous Life.”
Rev. Murata then shared some of the experiences he has had at Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters in Brazil, where he has been serving for the past 50 years. He talked about how, while teaching the Songs for the Service in Brazil, he was able to feel that Oyasama taught the Service not just with lyrics but with the dance with hand movements so that all people of the world despite the different languages could perform the Service. He then said, “We can feel Her deep parental heart when we understand that the teachings were taught so that they would spread worldwide, with the intention to save the whole world.”
He then concluded his sermon after quoting what the second Shinbashira wrote in the foreword to a book entitled A History of the Tenrikyo Path in Brazil, saying, “We will strive firmly to nurture Yoboku and followers through our efforts in the vertical and horizontal missions so that the path will always continue, from each generation to the next.”
The April Monthly Service was attended by about 250 overseas followers, and simultaneous interpretation for the Service prayer and sermon was offered in nine languages: English, Mandarin, Korean, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Nepalese, Thai, and Indonesian.