The July Monthly Service of Church Headquarters was joyously performed on the 26th at the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding.
Referring to “the unexpected incident” involving the Kanrodai during the monthly service of the previous month, the Shinbashira said in the service prayer: “We felt keenly the severe hastening of God the Parent that was expressed through the incident. We sincerely reflected on our previous steps which had still been unable to meet the divine expectation. We resolved to devote ourselves totally to the faith of single-heartedness with the Kanrodai and to extend our utmost efforts with our minds united in the cause of the single-hearted salvation, which God is hastening.”
He went on to say: “In accordance with our replacement of the mind, we decided to replace the Kanrodai. On the 5th of this month, a prayer service was conducted to begin the formal procedure of replacing Kanrodai. The construction of the new Kanrodai proceeded smoothly, and on the evening of the 24th, the Kanrodai was replaced. We are truly grateful for the blessings we received.” Then he said, “Resolved anew, we Service performers will conduct the July Monthly Service by performing the Kagura and the Teodori with our minds spirited in the truth of the Service.”
Concerning the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, which was to commence on that day, he made a prayer by saying: “I sincerely ask You to extend Your care for the children who return to Jiba, watch over them as they joyfully engage in hinokishin and take part in various programs, so that they can grow happily and honestly to measure up to Your mind. May I also ask You to protect and guide us throughout the period so that this event will proceed safely and successfully.”
He went on to say: “We Service performers, church head ministers, and Yoboku recognize the significance of this season. We have resolved to be firmly united with the single mind of the Parent and to join our efforts to realize the Kanrodai world.” He concluded the prayer by asking God the Parent for further blessings, saying, “I sincerely pray together with those who have assembled here today that You promote the construction of world salvation by entering the mind of those who work for that task and by using them, and I pray that You bless us even a day sooner with the world full of joy.”
The Service—the Kagura and the Teodori—was then performed around the newly replaced Kanrodai. Among the large number of worshipers attending the Service were many children who had come for the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, which started on the afternoon of that day. Boys and Girls Association members, including uniformed members of Boys and Girls Hinokishin Corps, and students of schools run by Tenrikyo joined in singing the Songs for the Service.
Following the Service, Honbu-in Kazuo Nagao took the podium to deliver the sermon. He shared his thoughts concerning the Divine Model of Oyasama. He categorized the path of the Divine Model, in which, he said, Oyasama hastened the completion of the Service to reconstruct the world.
He expressed his anxiety that “all the difficult social problems have arisen from ‘humanity’s insatiable greed’ and ‘a growing tendency for people to think that all is well if the present is well for oneself alone.’” He also emphasized that “today, more than ever, it is urgent for each of us to change our view of life and the world.” Then he said: “Each of us Yoboku should first correct our attitude by ourselves so that we can ‘live in a manner that is based on the teachings.’ And it is very important to spread the right attitude to people in the world.”
After referring to the significance of hinokishin, the truth of the Service, and the truth of the Jiba, he shared with the listeners his thoughts concerning the incident that occurred during the previous monthly service. He said, “Today, amid a tense and solemn atmosphere, we have conducted the Monthly Service together for the first time since the Kanrodai was replaced.”
He went on to say: “Though I thought that all followers had been following the path after turning over a new leaf with a sense of mission and pride with the Shinbashira as the core, today, at this place, once again, let us make a firm resolution to God the Parent and Oyasama that each of us will earnestly inquire into the meaning of adding flesh to the core, watch our step, realize the ardent desire of the Parent contained in the knot, and take a strong step forward toward further implementation of single-hearted salvation in high spirits so that we may receive vivid blessings as taught in the phrase, ‘Buds sprout from knots.’” He pointed out the important points concerning what to do now, saying, “The important thing is to respond first to the Parental Heart by becoming aware of our heavy responsibility and fulfilling our duty in accordance with our positions.”
Then, in conjunction with the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, he referred to nurturing children. First he said: “The environment in which children are growing today is by no means favorable.” Then, he explained: “Oyasama said that nurturing human beings is the same as nurturing agricultural crops. That means that if we sowed good seeds in good soil and took care of them patiently for a long time, we could expect a rich harvest.” He stressed that “it is important for followers’ families and churches to become good soil, sow good seeds, and spread good roots so that these buds will have enough strength to grow up fully even if they are transplanted into bad soil.”
He concluded the sermon by sharing his resolution: “Wishing earnestly that all of our children will stand on their own two feet as those who can live a joyous life in the spirit of this path, I will strive to walk the path of single-hearted salvation daily while demonstrating to children how we should live as well as looking forward to seeing the future broad path.”