The Oyasama Birth Celebration Service was conducted at Tenrikyo Church Headquarters on April 18 to commemorate the 203rd birthday of the everliving Oyasama, our beloved Parent, who eternally guides us toward the Joyous Life for all humankind. Great numbers of followers returned to the Home of the Parent to celebrate this festive occasion, including many who made journeys from their homes overseas.
Shortly after 10 o’clock in the morning, the Shinbashira, accompanied by the other Service performers, arrived in the Main Sanctuary after having paid respects to Oyasama in the Foundress’ Sanctuary. Ascending the dais, the Shinbashira delivered the prayer, in which he said: “All of us, including the church head ministers and Yoboku, have returned our thoughts to the hardships Oyasama underwent during the course of fifty years and solidified our commitment to follow the path of the Divine Model so as to accomplish our mission as Yoboku, or Oyasama’s instruments for constructing the Joyous Life.”
Following the performance of the Kagura Service around the model Kanrodai in the Inner Sanctuary, the Shinbashira and the former Shinbashira proceeded to the Foundress’ Sanctuary to serve Oyasama Her meal, whereafter they returned to the Main Sanctuary. In the meantime, the Teodori, the Dance with Hand Movements, was performed on the dais in the Main Sanctuary.
The sermon was then delivered by Honbu-in Takehiko Nakata, who emphasized that Oyasama is truly our beloved Parent, who is always watching over us and whom we can always depend upon. He said: “At times when we are depressed, or sad, or when we are shown a ‘knot’ in our lives, all we have to do is call out the name ‘Oyasama’ and She will embrace us with Her warm parental heart.” He then provided some background on the historical period during which Oyasama taught, and said that there must have been a freshness to Oyasama’s message that the Joyous Life could in fact be actualized in this world we live in. “God the Parent emphasized,” he went on to say, “that we were created to live the Joyous Life in this world—that is our birthright. Instead of looking at human beings negatively, this teaching held that all human beings are originally pure and, if a little dust happens to accumulate, it need only be wiped clean in order to restore us to our pristine condition which allows us to lead the Joyous Life. This, I believe, clearly teaches us about the nature of the Joyous Life.” To close the sermon, Rev. Nakata said: “Oyasama, our everliving Parent, continues to reside here at the Jiba, and today, as always, She radiantly guides all people throughout the entire world and provides Her workings to protect them all.”
The Shinbashira then returned to the Foundress’ Sanctuary, where he delivered, on behalf of all followers, a message of celebration to the everliving Oyasama. In this message, he said: “Keeping in mind the joy of being used as Your instruments, we will take firm and steady steps to implement Your Divine Model and strive to follow the path of single-hearted salvation so as to bring satisfaction to You.”
Following the Service, a musical event called “Joyous Chorus” was conducted in the Inner Courtyard, where thousands of followers joined in singing a number of songs in celebration of Oyasama’ s birthday.