The last Monthly Service for the 164th year of Tenrikyo was conducted solemnly on December 26 with the Shinbashira presiding, as frigid weather enveloped those attending the Service at the Home of the Parent.
In the prayer, the Shinbashira expressed his gratitude for the unchanging blessings of God the Parent. He then said: “This has been the third year since the announcement of Instruction One and, to thoroughly bring home the spirit of it and further promote the implementation of salvation, we held the Head Ministers Seminar in Oyasato from April to September. This was aimed at urging ministers to deepen their awareness of their position as the head of a church and thereby have all followers make progress in unity.” Furthermore, referring to the opening of the new Tenri Sankokan Museum and the remodeling and expansion of the area around the entrance to the East Worship Hall, he thanked God the Parent for the blessings that had enabled these to be successfully completed over the past year. The Shinbashira concluded the prayer by asking for continued guidance during the coming year.
After the Kagura and the Dance with Hand Movements had been performed, Honbu-in Masahiko Iburi delivered the sermon. “The circumstances in Japan seem bleak, as mentioned in Instruction One. In the world at large as well, countless conflicts have persisted in numerous places, the extreme case being the September 11 terrorist attacks,” said Honbu-in Iburi as he reflected on the past year. “Drawing on our collective wisdom, humanity will continue to explore all possible means to remove obstacles that prevent us from achieving world peace. Such efforts, however, are still symptomatic treatments in the eyes of God the Parent. To truly settle the world, we must sweep the accumulated dust from the minds of all humankind. The essential cure is to reconstruct the mind of each and every one of us.”
Honbu-in Iburi went on to say that, to accomplish this, all of us in the path must grow spiritually, and he reminded the listeners that “the attitudes that shall receive the providence of God the Parent are our spiritedness and unchanging resolution.” He concluded with these profound words: “The more the circumstances deteriorate, the more brightly the teachings of Oyasama shine.” On that day at the Home of the Parent, unending waves of followers were seen at the Sanctuaries, expressing their profound appreciation for the blessings received over the course of the year.