Spring Grand Service 2023: Followers Set Out to Make Decisive Efforts at the Start of the “Three Years, One Thousand Days” Season toward Oyasama’s Anniversary

On January 26, the Spring Grand Service was conducted at Tenrikyo Church Headquarters with Successor-Designate Daisuke Nakayama serving as chief officiant on behalf of the Shinbashira. The Grand Service commemorates the day when Oyasama withdrew from physical life—namely, the lunar calendar date of January 26, 1887.

In the Service prayer, Rev. Naka­yama first expressed his gratitude to God the Parent for creating the world and human beings to see us lead the Joyous Life and share in that joy, for becoming openly revealed in this world by settling Oyasama as the Shrine at the arrival of the Promised Time and thereby beginning the teaching for world salvation, and for guiding us along the path that leads to the Joyous Life, where God and humankind dwell in perfect union. Continuing, he said: “All of us Service performers as well as church head ministers and other Yoboku will return our thoughts to the day of origin of the anniversaries of Oyasama as we embark on the ‘three years, one thousand days’ period leading up to the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama. We are determined to respond to the parental heart of Oyasama by implementing the teachings with our sights set on the Divine Model and thereby making progress in our journey of single-hearted salvation.”

The prayer was followed by the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements. After the Service performance, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Zensuke Nakata took the podium to deliver the sermon.

Noting that the “three years, one thousand days” season leading up to the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama was to begin on that day, Rev. Nakata stressed that the pre-anniversary activity period is a season for making great strides. He then went on to explain the significance of Oyasama’s withdrawal from physical life and the truth of the everliving Oyasama by referring to The Life of Oyasama and the Divine Directions. “Although Her physical form was no longer visible, Oyasama is constantly and ceaselessly watching over us and guiding us. She is warm-hearted and kind to us. That is why we can develop a sense of intimacy with and trust in Oyasama, now as ever before. For all of us who are endeavoring to follow this path, there is nothing more precious, assuring, and encouraging than this,” said Rev. Nakata.

Next, having described Oyasama’s anniversary as a juncture in our long journey toward the Joyous Life, Rev. Nakata spoke about how important it is to set specific goals as we follow Oyasama’s Divine Model. He added that we may receive many types of guidance from God the Parent as we strive toward the goals we set. Then after explaining the necessity of making continuous efforts to understand the divine intention, he said that we would do well to regard the divine guidance as encouraging us to strive to complete our goals. “Our work toward achieving spiritual growth entails making steady progress in faith, taking one step at a time. However, we should regard the lead-up to the anniversary as a season for making great strides through the blessing that allows us to bring forth the fruits of spiritual growth,” Rev. Nakata said. He then referred to the Shinbashira’s Instruction Four and talked about the significance of doing hinokishin, spreading the teachings, and helping others be saved.

Toward the end of his sermon, Rev. Nakata stated: “Let us encourage one another, unite our efforts, and exert ourselves fully in following the path so that we will not fall by the wayside during the ‘three years, one thousand days’ period, which is designated for decisive efforts to prepare for the anniversary.” He added: “I very much hope that we will bring together the minds of all followers of the path and move forward in unity of mind so as to bring joy to Oyasama. In this regard, I wish to request your cooperation.”

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