The August Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was conducted on the 26th, with the Shinbashira presiding.
Shortly before 9:00 a.m., the Shinbashira left the Staff Quarters to proceed to the Main Sanctuary. On his way, he paid his respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall accompanied by other Service performers.
In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira pledged on behalf of all followers, “We will repeat sincere efforts to save others, express our gratitude and joy through the attitude of hinokishin, and aim to bring about a world of mutual help and respect in order to be in accord with Your intention.” He also prayed, “May You provide us with the free and unlimited providence that brings about wondrous salvation, cause the path to spread out before us, sweep the dust from the minds of everyone in the world, and guide us toward a world brimming with joyousness as soon as possible.”
It was still late-summer at the Home of the Parent. The temperature on the Service day surpassed 30° C (86° F). Cirrocumulus clouds spreading across the pure azure skies hinted that autumn was just around the corner. Occasional crisp breezes blew as followers sang in unison to the Mikagura-uta.
After the Service, Honbu-in Hirokazu Moroi stepped up to the lectern to deliver the sermon.
Rev. Moroi gave an account of how some of our predecessors faced the police, who pressured them to stop performing the Service. Our predecessors replied, “Oyasama told us to perform the Service. Because She saved my life, there’s no way I can stop.” Concerning these words, he said, “One can sense in these words how our predecessors truly yearned for Oyasama.”
After citing nos. 123 (“Is Man the Object?”) and 135 (“With Round Minds”) from Anecdotes of Oyasama, he said, “By savoring the parental love of Oyasama, we are moved to the point where everything She said has settled in our mind, which encourages us to resolve to handle the mind as She instructed us.”
Rev. Moroi next touched upon how five and a half months had passed since the disaster in northeast Japan. Mentioning that members of the Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps, churches, dioceses, and districts all extended a helping hand in various shapes and forms, he expressed his conviction that the path marked with the words “mutual help” is the one we ought to be progressing forward on in the present moment.
Rev. Moroi then quoted passages from the Kakisage and the Shinbashira’s sermon at this year’s Spring Grand Service . Regarding “mutual help” being an important factor in bringing the Joyous Life into reality, he said, “Our efforts that seek to save others will allow God the Parent to provide us with further providence to save us.” Also: “The entire congregation’s efforts toward mutual help involving praying for the people in areas affected by the disaster will definitely lead to a path of great delight in the future.”
Rev. Moroi further mentioned the current effort throughout Tenrikyo to have everyone learn the “ten aspects of God’s providence” and the “eight dusts.” He especially had insights to share regarding the ten aspects of God’s providence as a result of an illness he had nine years ago. He went on to say how grateful he felt to know that God’s workings combined in an exquisite balance, protecting him continuously in every nook and corner of his body. He stressed the importance of deepening our intimacy with the descriptions of the “ten aspects of God’s providence” and the “eight dusts” by saying, “The gratitude we wholeheartedly feel for God’s providence is something we can repeatedly savor as we make concrete efforts to express our appreciation on a daily basis.”
Rev. Moroi then went on to mention there are many writings in addition to Anecdotes of Oyasama that were left behind by our predecessors that allow us to experience Oyasama’s parental love. He said: “All we need to do is to make efforts to come closer to the mind of our Parent by skillfully using these resources. . . . We can advance forward on the path of faith in the embrace of the everliving Oyasama.”
Rev. Moroi then went on to say that Oyasama embraces us to guide us toward a way of life best exemplified by the teaching, “If we save others, we shall ourselves be saved.” Our efforts to pray for others who are experiencing knots and to make resolutions allowing God to accept these prayers will bring about new instances of God’s providence which will not only allow us to further deepen our appreciation and joy at being kept alive but serve to sprinkle the fragrance of God the Parent’s and Oyasama’s parental love.
Rev. Moroi then closed his sermon by saying, “Let us join our hearts and hands, commit ourselves to mutual help, and make repeated efforts on the path of faith that will bring joy to Oyasama and allow us to firmly receive God the Parent’s protection.”