The novel coronavirus disease has now been declared a pandemic. To prevent the further spread of the virus, businesses and organizations are being urged to take strict measures such as avoiding large gatherings in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
In this connection, Church Headquarters has recently been asked by the local authorities to consider implementing restrictions on people traveling from various parts of Japan and abroad to attend Church Headquarters’ March Monthly Service to be held on the 26th as a way to respond to public concern about a large number of followers gathering in Jiba.
The Service, which is referred to as the “fundamental way for salvation,” is performed to pray for universal salvation and to receive divine blessings. In principle, there should never be any restriction on Yoboku and other followers who wish to return to Jiba to attend the Service and pray for divine blessings. However, in light of our social responsibility to work with wider society to curb the spread of the coronavirus as well as of the growing insecurity and anxiety of the general public, we have decided to ask followers to refrain from attending the March Monthly Service and the Spring Memorial Service. We would like to ask for your kind understanding on this matter.
When the bubonic plague arrived in Japan in 1899, Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was asked by the government to postpone the Autumn Grand Service as a measure to prevent infection. A Divine Direction delivered in response to an inquiry granted permission to postpone the Service. It says that God will accept everyone’s mind of true sincerity, but it moves on to state that, even if the Service is performed in a correct manner, it will not do if people’s minds are not united.
In order to receive the blessing of overcoming this unprecedented great knot, it is crucial for all of us followers of the path to unite our minds and devote ourselves to the cause of single-hearted salvation so desired by God the Parent.
Let each of us followers perform the service to pray single-heartedly for a settling to the world in our respective places with our minds focused on Jiba while being careful not to be overwhelmed by the social disruption or the anxiety of the general public. Let us also spend each day in accordance with the Parent’s intention while paying attention to people around us and engage in salvation work wherever we can.
March 18, 2020 (Tenrikyo 183)