On April 26, the April Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was performed in the Main Sanctuary, with the Shinbashira presiding, and was attended by large numbers of followers. A chilly breeze was occasionally blowing, but warm spring sunlight glistened on the green bronze roofing tiles of the Foundress’ Sanctuary.
In the prayer, the Shinbashira said: “All of us, including the church head ministers and Yoboku, shall bear in mind that people in today’s world do not understand the intention of the Parent who began this world and who gave life to all creatures and nurtures them. Due to human thoughts, humankind has taken a dreadful and dangerous course. Without succumbing to worldly ways, we are resolved to settle the teachings firmly in our minds, deepen our sincerity, and enrich the substance of our churches so that they can serve fully as centers for salvation. We are determined to strive for world salvation.”
Following the joyous and spirited performance of the Kagura and the Teodori, Honbu-in Takanori Nagao delivered the sermon. He began his sermon by quoting the first passage of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo‘s chapter six, entitled “Divine Guidance,” which says: “Human beings detest pain and seek pleasure, avoid worry and look for joy. This is because God the Parent created us with the intention of having us live the Joyous Life.” Referring to such human nature and the trying and painful situations we encounter in our lives, he explained how to deal with illness and trouble based on his own experience.
Quoting a Divine Direction that says, “It will not do to forget the great favor in the world and get caught up in small favors (Osashizu, February 4, 1901),” he explained, “Even if we are aware of and express our gratitude for ‘small favors’ bestowed upon us from time to time, it will not do to forget the ‘great favor’ whereby God gives us life, lends us the body, and guides us along each day.” He appealed to the listeners to practice “Joyous-Life thinking,” which would enable us to perceive more clearly the great favor that constantly guides us along by reducing a large misfortune to a small misfortune and a small misfortune to no misfortune at all and to be thankful for it as we go along each day.
He concluded his sermon by saying: “God the Parent gives us uncountable blessings of immeasurable proportions. Yet, what we can give God the Parent in return is so very small. I would like to suggest that we express our gratitude for the great favor we receive and cheerfully accept all the things that happen in the course of our daily lives.”