On January 1, the New Year’s Day Service for the 187th year of Teaching was solemnly performed in the Main Sanctuary with Successor-Designate Daisuke Nakayama presiding as chief officiant.
New Year’s Eve saw stormy weather across the country due to a low-pressure system and a front. In the early hours of New Year’s Day, worshipers, bundled up in warm clothes, walked on the wet gravel in the Sanctuary precincts and gathered in the Main Sanctuary one after another.
At 5:00 a.m., Rev. Nakayama and other Service performers left the Staff Quarters and paid their respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall. Then, Rev. Nakayama proceeded to the upper dais in the Main Sanctuary.
In the Service prayer, following his New Year’s greetings, Rev. Nakayama said: “Last year, as we embarked on the first year of the ‘three years, one thousand days’ pre-anniversary activities leading up to the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama, all Yoboku strove together to raise awareness of being Oyasama’s instruments and walked the path of spiritual growth using the Divine Model as a dependable guide and putting our utmost efforts into our respective tasks. We are deeply thankful for all the guidance we have received from You.”
Continuing, he said: “Having welcomed the second year of the pre-anniversary activities, all of us followers are determined to respond to Your profound blessings by spiritedly engaging in single-hearted salvation in unity of mind as well as by reflecting anew on the progress we have made so far to draw even closer to Your intention. I ask You, God the Parent, to accept our resolution and continue to guide us through this year with Your unchanging parental love so the world will be reconstructed into the world of the Joyous Life even a day sooner.”
Following the prayer, the first Service of the year, comprising the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements, was joyously performed.
As sunrise approached, the temperature dropped even further. The spirited voices of the congregation who joined in singing the Mikagura-uta, the Songs for the Service, filled the Sanctuary precincts.
After the Service, Rev. Nakayama proceeded to the Foundress’ Sanctuary and read his prayer before Oyasama. He first offered his New Year’s greetings, saying, “Happy New Year, Oyasama.” Then, he continued: “As we started the second year of implementing the pre-anniversary activities toward the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama, all of us intend to focus our minds even more sharply, increase the awareness and joy of being used as Your instruments, and convey the intention of our Parent to the world. We are determined to dedicate ourselves sincerely to constructing the Joyous Life World.”
Around the time when the prayer at the Foundress’ Sanctuary finished, the sun rose over the mountains to the east bringing the New Year’s sunlight to the Sanctuary precincts.