The July Monthly Service of Church Headquarters was joyously performed on the 26th at the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding. Under the blue summer sky that signaled the end of the rainy season, the surrounding precincts of Church Headquarters were filled with great numbers of followers, including many children who had returned to Jiba from all over the world as well as various parts of Japan to participate in the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, which was to commence on the afternoon of that day.
In the service prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed his gratitude for the daily blessings of God the Parent. Referring to the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, he then said, “I pray that You will watch over these children and continue to guide them so that they may grow further while maintaining an honest, cheerful, and enriched mind.”
Mentioning that we were already halfway through this year for laying the groundwork for our spiritual construction in anticipation of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, he said: “All of us, including church head ministers and Yoboku, are resolved to take great strides toward the anniversary and have been exerting ourselves so as to be in exact accord with the intention of the Parent who hastens world salvation.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed joyously while the followers spiritedly joined together in singing the Songs for the Service.
Following the Service, Honbu-in Motoyoshi Tomimatsu took the podium to deliver the sermon. He talked about the vertical mission, or the nurturing of successors to the path.
After mentioning that almost half a century had passed since the inception of the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, he cited examples of wondrous blessings that had been received during the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba. Then, he emphasized the importance of the event, saying, “This pilgrimage has not merely been an enjoyable annual summer festival in Jiba, but has always provided opportunities for salvation work.” He stressed, “What is most called for now is for us to make a renewed commitment to use the Children’s Pilgrimage as a real opportunity to show boundless loving-kindness and do salvation work in the hope that these children will grow into fine Yoboku in the years ahead.”
Then, he referred to how to cope with adolescent children from junior high school to high school, since this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Boys and Girls Hinokishin Corps, and since the Boys and Girls Association is currently promoting “activities that allow junior high school students to take leading roles.” He advised the listeners, saying, “It is natural for adolescents to develop what their parents might consider to be problems, but, instead of trying to prevent their children from experiencing any problems, it may be better for parents to see their role as one of helping their children experience their problems skillfully.” He made a point of saying: “Instead of judging young people on the basis of appearance, language, or behavior, it is important to help them open up. Rather than give advice, we ought to first listen to what is on their minds.” In addition, he said: “When we are working with young students, our minds become young, too. For those of us who are dedicated to salvation work, it is of special importance for our minds to be young and fresh.”
He brought his sermon to a close by referring to the season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, saying: “Let us make sure we are fully prepared so that we can rise and respond the moment the start of the anniversary activities is officially announced. Let all of us go through this season while maintaining a young and fresh mind as we work as Yoboku to help others be saved.”