The May Monthly Service was conducted on the 26th at Church HeadquartersEwith the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. It was a gorgeous day with bright blue skies and lush green foliage.
The Service commenced shortly after 9:00 a.m., when the Shinbashira and other Service performers entered the Main Sanctuary after having paid their respects to the everliving Oyasama in the Foundress’ Sanctuary. The Shinbashira then delivered his prayer, in which he said: “We have made efforts to attain spiritual growth by sweeping away the dust of the mind while feeling ever more deeply the happiness of being kept alive through Your unlimited blessings.” He then said: “All of us, including church head ministers and Yoboku, are resolved to summon up courage, strive for single-hearted salvation, and convey Your blessings throughout the world while taking to heart Your parental concern over our dreadful and dangerous paths as well as Your hastening for the construction of the world of the Joyous Life.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were performed joyously to the accompaniment of the musical instruments, while the congregation spiritedly joined in singing the Songs for the Service.
The sermon was then delivered by Honbu-in Sumiharu Ueda. He began by explaining what the Jiba is and why we perform the Service at the Jiba. He then said: “We perform the Service as a means to bring our minds into perfect accord with the mind of our true and original Parent, who devoted painstaking care to creating us human beings so that we might lead the Joyous Life, and who gave form to this wonderful world we live in so that we might lead our lives joyously. When we bring our minds into accord with God the Parent’s mind and attain the state in which God and humankind dwell in perfect union, God the Parent will be spirited and will provide great blessings for us human beings as well as for everything else that exists in this world. It is by keeping our minds connected with the Jiba and by receiving the truth of the Jiba that we shall be able to lead the Joyous Life in each and every part of the world.”
He continued: “When we long to be with the Parent of humanity and our true sincerity accords with the Parent, who impartially awaits the return of all people, we can be shown any salvation, no matter how marvelous. God the Parent works in response to our complete trust in and total reliance upon God the Parent. In the Anecdotes of Oyasama, we find Oyasama often saying such words as: ‘I am so glad to see you come,’ ‘I was waiting for you,’ and ‘God has drawn you here.’ Indeed, we can clearly feel God the Parent personally lending a hand to bring the early followers home.
“When we reflect on the day of origin of our own faith, I believe we can understand that we were also drawn to Jiba by God the Parent. Perhaps, some of us were drawn forth through an illness, and some through other troubles. Some were drawn through guidance provided by their parents or their friends. Yet, ultimately it was invariably God the Parent, the Parent of Origin, who drew all of us to Jiba. The way we were drawn to Jiba may vary from person to person. Yet, we were all drawn forth by God the Parent, who desires to use us as Yoboku, or timber for constructing the Joyous Life. About this there can be no doubt. It is of paramount importance for each of us to take this to heart and firmly keep it in mind as we go through each day. In addition, let us always bear the Jiba in mind and play our role as important members of our churches in conveying this teaching to people in our communities.”
He then asked the listeners to make an effort to return to Jiba to attend the Monthly Services and the Besseki lectures as well as to enroll in courses such as Shuyoka and the Head Minister Qualification Course, and he urged them to invite others to do the same so that they, too, might attain spiritual growth. “These efforts,” he concluded, “will enable us to sow seeds of sincerity at the Residence. If we diligently sow seeds of sincerity in the field of God, the blessings of God the Parent will enable those seeds to sprout and eventually bear splendid fruits when the season comes. God the Parent promises us those blessings. Let all of us, therefore, return to Jiba and work hard to sow seeds of sincerity at the Residence, which is the field of God. Let us then work to let the truth of the Jiba pervade the entire world.”