The February Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was conducted on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding. On that day, the weather was cold and cloudy, but the bright red plum blossoms in the Inner Courtyard hinted that spring was just around the corner.
After worshiping at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall, the Shinbashira and the other Service performers filed into the Main Sanctuary amid accompanying gagaku music. In the prayer preceding the performance of the Service, the Shinbashira first expressed gratitude for God the Parent’s constant providence and said: “People in the present world are prone to get caught up in tangible things, forget the importance of paying attention to their mind, become self-centered, stray from the precious truth of heaven which enables human beings to live, and thereby cause sufferings for themselves. Taking this situation to heart and reaffirming that true happiness comes about only when we live in accord with the divine truth while helping each other, all of us–Service performers, church head ministers, and Yoboku alike–will convey the intention of God the Parent worldwide and dedicate our sincerity in the cause of single-hearted salvation.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then joyously performed with followers singing the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service.
The sermon following the performance of the Service was delivered by Honbu-in Tadakazu Yamada. Referring to the present information-oriented society, he said: “I am afraid that, even among those who have faith in this path, in today’s information-flooded world there has been a tendency to doubt the providence of God the Parent and not to listen honestly to the teachings of Oyasama.” Then, sharing his memory of being admonished by the second Shinbashira when Rev. Yamada was a university student as well as his memory of experiencing a mission caravan trip to the Eurasian Continent more than 30 years ago, he stressed: “We are able to bask in the miraculous, free, and unlimited blessings of God the Parent only when we have settled the mind of sincerity, which enables us to wipe out human thought or skeptical mind that purports to be based on scientific thought, have absolute faith in God the Parent as God of Origin, God in Truth, lean on the everliving Oyasama, and put the teachings into practice.”
Lastly, referring to the fact that this year is the first year to take action in anticipation of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, he made a pledge on behalf of all followers that they would devote themselves to doing hinokishin, performing the service, and administering the Sazuke while uniting their minds into one.