The July Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was performed on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary, with Successor-Designate Daisuke Nakayama serving as chief officiant on behalf of the Shinbashira.
As a measure to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Church Headquarters has been urging Yoboku and other followers to refrain from attending the Monthly Service. In the meantime, with the state of emergency having been lifted and the restrictions on crossing prefectural borders subsequently eased, Church Headquarters recently arranged for all church head ministers to attend the Monthly Service or the Grand Service at the Main Sanctuary at least once by the end of this year. The July Monthly Service was attended by the heads of directly supervised churches and dioceses along with a limited number of head ministers from other designated churches.
In the Service prayer, Rev. Nakayama expressed gratitude to God the Parent for guiding us toward the Joyous Life with deep parental love. Continuing, he said: “Assembled before You are the Service performers and other designated followers who are attending the Service on behalf of all other followers. I ask You to accept our sincerity in performing the Service with our minds in unison to express gratitude for the many blessings we have been receiving in our everyday lives as well as to pray for a settling to the world. All of us followers will ponder deeply over Your intention and hastening contained in the natural disasters that are happening in various regions as a result of torrential rains amid the uncertainty caused by the ongoing coronavirus crisis. We are determined to follow the path of the Divine Model straightforwardly, share the teachings with people around us whenever we can, and strive to pass on the faith to younger generations as we continue to move forward on the path.”
The prayer was followed by the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements. After the Service performance, Honbu-in Motoo Matsuda took the podium to deliver the sermon.
Rev. Matsuda first touched upon the increasing number of coronavirus infections as well as the natural disasters caused by the torrential rains in many parts of the country. He then noted that it is time for us to once again ponder over how we are following the path and moved on to talk about how followers of the path, who are to follow Oyasama’s Divine Model, should walk on the path as we move forward toward the Joyous Life. He said that, precisely because we are unable to hold most of our activities due to restrictions, it is important to revisit the basic teachings, return to the origin, and make steady efforts to sow seeds of sincerity so as to allow buds to sprout from knots.
He then spoke about the importance of nurturing the successors of the path. After noting how families play a fundamental role in the vertical mission, he stressed that the future of the path depends upon whether or not we can make steady and serious efforts to nurture our children by, for instance, sharing the joy of faith with them in a gentle, loving manner.
Toward the end of his sermon, Rev. Matsuda said: “The heart of the Parent is, first and foremost, love for the children. It is synonymous with the mind of saving others, the mind that is most needed in the world today.” He concluded his sermon by calling on the followers to live each day joyously with a gentle, loving heart focused on nurturing other people.