The Autumn Grand Service, commemorating the day of origin of the Teaching, was performed on October 26 in the Main Sanctuary of Church Headquarters with the Shinbashira officiating. Great numbers of followers, including many from overseas, filled up the Main Sanctuary’s four worship halls, the Foundress’ Sanctuary, the Inner Courtyard, and the rest of the church precincts to join in heartily singing the Songs for the Service.
The Service commenced at 8:00 a.m., the same time that Oyasama became the Shrine of Tsukihi on October 26, 1838. The Shinbashira and the other Service performers first offered their prayers at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall and then proceeded to the Main Sanctuary, where the Shinbashira read the Service prayer on behalf of all followers. In it, he expressed the resolution to strive for world salvation by saying: “We shall inquire into Your deep parental love, with which You have guided us in following the path through any hardships for more than 160 years and thereby let the path grow to the present point. Without losing sight of the Joyous Life World, which lies ahead, we shall bear in mind the weightiness of the task entrusted to us during this season. Taking the present situation of the path as our own, we are determined to exert our sincerity to the utmost.” He concluded the prayer by asking God the Parent for further blessings, saying: “Please guide and protect us as ever before and also, as taught in the words, ‘Step by step, the Parent, who began this world, will enter all of these useful timbers (Ofudesaki XV:60),’ we should like You to enter each Yoboku and make use of us so that we can tell people in this increasingly chaotic world about the existence and workings of the true Parent. Purifying all the minds in the world, please bring about the world filled with everlasting and trustworthy joy as soon as possible.”
After the performance of the Kagura and the Teodori, the Shinbashira delivered his sermon. He first explained the significance of the Autumn Grand Service. He then referred to Tenri Seminary, which attained its hundredth anniversary this year, explaining how this seminary was established. Citing examples of how Oyasama and the first Shinbashira trained and nurtured the followers, he appealed, “I want to ask church head ministers and other leaders to give priority to setting an example for younger people and others close at hand.” He closed his sermon by saying: “This year is being regarded as the year to implement the point made in the District Lectures conducted last year. This endeavor, however, is not confined to this year alone. It ought to be continued next year and the year after next as well. I want all of us to reflect on our own progress and set about making renewed efforts to draw closer to the intention of the Parent, accelerating our pace as we go.”