July 2023 Monthly Service

The July 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.

In the Service prayer, Rev. Nakayama first expressed gratitude to God the Parent not only for becoming openly revealed by settling Oyasama as the Shrine with the intention to save all people throughout the world but also for teaching us the path that leads to true salvation and guiding us toward the Joyous Life with warm parental love. Speaking about the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, which was due to be held from July 27 to August 6 for the first time in four years, Rev. Nakayama said: “As the Boys and Girls Association members—who are to carry on the path in the future—participate in the pilgrimage, we intend to provide care and guidance to nurture them to ensure that they work together to learn about the teachings and engage in hinokishin with gratitude so that they may follow the path that allows them to grow into fine Yoboku. I would also like to ask you to help us make sure that everything proceeds smoothly throughout the duration of these events.” Continuing, he said, “All of us Service performers as well as church head ministers and other Yoboku will make repeated efforts to grow spiritually by following the path of the Divine Model and work for world salvation as befits the current season.”

The prayer was followed by the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements. After the Service performance, Honbu-in Chikara Iburi took the podium to deliver the sermon.

Rev. Iburi first noted that various events were being held in person in the Home of the Parent this year without restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. After sharing his view of how the long night of the pandemic was coming to an end, he said, “Seeing the wind changing in a favorable direction in the first year of the ‘three years, one thousand days’ season toward the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama, I cannot help but feel that God the Parent and Oyasama are giving us a tailwind.” He then said that the pandemic gave us an opportunity to reexamine the significance of returning to Jiba.

Rev. Iburi moved on to talk about the frame of mind that followers are encouraged to maintain when they return to Jiba. By referring to the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo, he spoke about how learning about the origin of the world enables us to gain two significant sentiments: the feeling of longing and spiritedness. Speaking about the former, Rev. Iburi said: “Similar to how many people naturally feel deep affection and longing for their hometown and parents, hearing about the Truth of Origin allows us to develop a strong affection and longing for Jiba, God the Parent, and Oyasama, who is Tsukihi, Moon-Sun, on earth. This sentiment is what drives us to return to Jiba regardless of the distance.”

In speaking about the latter—that is, spiritedness—Rev. Iburi went on to talk about how we encounter unexpected challenges such as illnesses, injuries, and difficult circumstances in our journey of life. “Some may wonder why they have to go through such hardships or resign themselves to the belief that they are being punished,” he said, adding: “However, those of us who follow this faith will likely face these challenges head-on, without losing heart, and strive to move forward. Why is it possible to think and act this way? Perhaps it is because we believe in the existence of the true Parent and the parental heart.” He then said that, even when facing challenging situations in confusion and distress, we can lean on and rely upon the Parent, firmly believing that we will be surely guided in a positive direction. “When we return to Jiba, we are always welcomed with great parental love by God the Parent and the everliving Oyasama, who shows us the path we should take. I think that the predecessors on this path and our ancestors also must have courageously walked through many challenges in a similar way,” said Rev. Iburi.

As a way to illustrate this point, Rev. Iburi spoke about Rev. Kunisaburo Moroi—the first head minister of Yamana Grand Church—by referring to a series of stories in Anecdotes of Oyasama as well as Rev. Moroi’s autobiography. Speaking about when Rev. Moroi returned to Jiba to consult with Oyasama about the daughter he lost, Rev. Iburi said that returning to Jiba and experiencing the parental heart of Oyasama must have healed and encouraged Rev. Moroi’s heart. Rev. Iburi then said: “We have a place where we can always return, and there is someone who constantly watches over and waits for us. Knowing this, we cannot help but feel truly fortunate and encouraged. God the Parent became openly revealed in this world and, through the mouth of Oyasama, taught us this precious and dependable guide.”

Toward the end of his sermon, Rev. Iburi called on the listeners to do everything they can to follow Oyasama as She walks at the forefront of the path to the Joyous Life during the “three years, one thousand days” season leading up to the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama. “Spreading and conveying the truth to as many people as possible and guiding them to the Home of the Parent and Oyasama is the most sincere way to repay the blessings we have been receiving. It will surely bring joy to God the Parent and Oyasama,” he said. Rev. Iburi concluded his sermon by saying, “In the course of dedicating ourselves to single-hearted salvation, let us return to Jiba often to express our gratitude, report our progress, or rely on God the Parent and Oyasama so that we may receive renewed strength and courage that enable us to continue on the path of single-hearted salvation in high spirits.”

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