The February Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was performed on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary, with Successor-Designate Daisuke Nakayama serving as chief officiant on behalf of the Shinbashira. As a measure to curb COVID-19 infections, Church Headquarters has been urging Yoboku and other followers to refrain from attending the Monthly Service while arranging for a limited number of designated church representatives to attend the Monthly Service in the Main Sanctuary.
In the Service prayer, Rev. Nakayama first expressed gratitude to God the Parent for revealing the truth of creation through Oyasama upon the arrival of the Promised Time out of the desire to save all people in the world as well as for guiding us toward the Joyous Life by laying the path of single-hearted salvation. Continuing, he said: “Assembled before You are the Service performers and other designated followers who are attending the Service in the Main Sanctuary representing all other followers. I ask that You, God the Parent, become spirited by looking upon the way they express their gratitude for the boundless blessings they are receiving in their everyday lives as well as how they attend the Service in high spirits while praying for the blessing of universal salvation. Perceiving the current situation as a manifestation of Your hastening for our spiritual maturity, all of us followers will seek to exert our utmost as Yoboku to grow spiritually to near the divine intention while firmly connecting our minds with Jiba and our churches so as to allow buds to sprout from the knot of the current challenges.”
The prayer was followed by the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements. After the Service performance, Honbu-in Noriaki Nagao took the podium to deliver the sermon.
In his sermon, Rev. Nagao pointed out the importance of keeping our minds spirited even during the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “If we have a clear understanding of the reason why we human beings exist—namely, to realize the Joyous Life World—our minds will become spirited,” he said.
He moved on to speak about how Tenri University’s rugby team, which had experienced a COVID-19 cluster last year, achieved its first ever championship title after setting a goal of winning the championship as a way to make repayment to those who had supported them. “It is precisely when we are in the midst of a challenging situation that we can gain a clear sense of purpose,” said Rev. Nagao. “In other words, challenging situations allow us to firmly settle our minds, which in turn helps us take actions. The actions we take will then help our minds become spirited.”
Rev. Nagao then shared a story of how a Yoboku and her family who were on the brink of family breakdown due to a strained parent-child relationship received blessings after settling their minds and becoming spirited through implementing the teachings. He then emphasized that, despite the restrictions on church activities and Tenrikyo associations’ events due to the pandemic, there are still things that we can do. “It is all the more important to find joy in what we can do rather than lamenting what we cannot,” he said.
Toward the end of his sermon, Rev. Nagao noted that, although there was no clear sign of when the pandemic would come to an end, followers of the path should not be feeling depressed about the current situation. He concluded his sermon by saying, “Let us firmly settle our minds by setting a clear goal while keeping our minds spirited as we endeavor to fulfill our duties in our respective roles and positions in our day-to-day lives.”