Need for Each Church to Shine More Brightly
There is one more request I would like to make. It concerns the truth of churches. As we continue into the future, I believe we need to put greater emphasis on each individual church from now on when we think about the activities of the path. That is to say, each church, I think, needs to shine more brightly. To people in the local community where a church is located, this church represents Tenrikyo. To its followers, the church is the focal point that connects them to faith; it is everything to them. We read in the Divine Directions:
The truth of Church Headquarters and the truth of the churches: these are a single breath. Unless you settle this unity in mind, Heaven cannot work.
Osashizu, December 13, 1906
This passage indicates that every Tenrikyo church has very great significance since its truth and the truth of Jiba are “a single breath.”
There are many overseas regions from where people may or may not be able to make one pilgrimage to Jiba in a whole lifetime. Churches in such regions are also churches that have truth that is “a single breath” with the truth of Jiba. Those churches, in particular, would do well to take pride in being what they are.
The same applies to churches in this country. The permission to establish churches in different regions was given in order to provide facilities to promote single-hearted salvation. When a crucial moment is at hand, people may not be able to make a pilgrimage to Jiba immediately, but they can immediately visit a local church to offer prayers if there is one nearby. Again, despite wishing to make daily pilgrimages to Jiba, most people find themselves faced with the fact that physically it is very far away. A regional church’s major significance is to provide a center for salvation work and a place for daily visits. Followers whose churches are far away should be able to find a church nearby since there is at least one Tenrikyo church in any region in this country. Even if they do not belong to their local church, they are able to make daily pilgrimages to Jiba through that church in a spiritual sense; this is possible wherever they are in the country. All regional churches are connected to Jiba as “a single breath” through Jiba’s permission for their establishment; therefore, Yoboku and other followers in different regions are able to stay connected to the truth of Jiba so long as they remain connected to their local churches.
If general Yoboku and followers, who are not church head ministers, cannot easily return to Jiba, all they need to do is visit their local churches as frequently as they can, and this makes it indispensable for head ministers to strive to dedicate the truth of their sincerity to ensuring that the truth of their churches and the truth of Jiba are indeed “a single breath.”
It goes without saying that the outward appearance of churches, such as their size, does not matter at all. In the sense of being the only Tenrikyo church in its particular locality, every church is equal, whether it is a grand church or a branch church. Anyone can receive the truth of Jiba by visiting any Tenrikyo church, and this significance of our churches’ existence needs to shine through more brightly. I would like to ask all churches to strive in this regard so that they can confidently share this significance with people.