On January 26, 2012, the Spring Grand Service—which commemorates the lunar calendar date of January 26, 1887, the day when Oyasama withdrew from physical life—was conducted in the Main Sanctuary at Church Headquarters with the Shinbashira Zenji Nakayama presiding as chief officiant. Roughly 68,000 Yoboku and other followers returned from across Japan and overseas to turn their thoughts back on the day of origin when Oyasama stepped out to level the ground throughout the world as well as to renew their pledge to strive forward for the sake of world salvation.
On the day of the Service, the skies at the Home of the Parent were cloudy from early morning. While the sun shone occasionally, biting cold winds blew throughout the Sanctuary precincts from start to finish.
Prior to the start of the Service at 11:30 a.m., the Shinbashira served Oyasama Her lunch at the Foundress’ Sanctuary. When the appointed time came, he paid respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall together with the other Service performers before they all proceeded to the Main Sanctuary.
In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira said: “We Service performers as well as church head ministers and other Yoboku are resolved to always inquire into the truth of origin and settle in our mind the origin of the founding of the Teaching as well as the significance of the Service. We are thoroughly determined to straightforwardly advance the path of single-hearted salvation by performing the Service and administering the Sazuke in a way that will bring satisfaction to the everliving Oyasama. We humbly ask You to provide us with Your guidance whenever we fall short so as to able to share the unchanging truth of heaven with those who are struggling in this rapidly changing world, help them clear away their human thinking, and thereby move closer to the realization of the Joyous Life World You desire.”
The Service concluded before 2:00 p.m. After he began delivering the sermon, the Shinbashira paused for a moment to offer a prayer in the direction of the Foundress’ Sanctuary at the sounding of the daily siren that signals the hour marking Oyasama’s withdrawal from physical life.
In his sermon, the Shinbashira declared that it was not a coincidence that Oyasama withdrew from physical life on the 26th, the same numerical day when the Teaching began, but that the two dates were one in truth. He said, “The path of Oyasama’s Divine Model is consistently characterized by parental love for the children right from the founding of the Teaching to Her withdrawal.”
He then turned to how the main purpose of writing the Ofudesaki was the completion of the Service and described how Oyasama taught the songs and hand movements for the Service. He then said: “She assembled the Service performers, identified Jiba—which serves as the center of the place where the Service is to be performed—and taught the musical instruments for the Service. The finishing touches to be made to these arrangements for the Service were implementing the Service and developing the spirit of those who would perform it.”
The Shinbashira then declared: “I wish to perform the Service to mark the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama. Therefore, in order to find pointers for helping us get into the appropriate frame of mind to prepare for that anniversary, I would like to inquire into how early followers progressed in working with their minds in the lead-up to Oyasama’s withdrawal from physical life.” He then pursued the subject by reading excerpts from “The Portals Opened,” Chapter 10 of The Life of Oyasama.
After describing the situation leading up to the Service performed on January 26, 1887, the Shinbashira said, “[P]erforming the Service while relying totally on God the Parent and keeping our mind single-hearted with God is just as important now as it was then.” He then went on to say that presently there is no risk of being arrested by the police when performing the Service and that the Service can be performed today in a manner that is more complete than it was performed in 1887. Yet he cautioned, “when it comes to the state of mind of those performing the Service, it seems to me that we are yet unable to bring total satisfaction to Oyasama.”
The Shinbashira then said: “I think the important thing for us is to reflect on how thorough we are in keeping God the Parent and Oyasama in mind and basing our thoughts and actions on the teachings in the course of daily life and to make a conscious effort to bring our way of thinking and living even a little closer to the teachings.” He then went on to talk about the importance of resolving the mind and explained the spirit of single-heartedness with God.
Regarding the Service performed on January 26, 1887, he further explained that certain verses from the Ofudesaki “indicated a target date for the completion of the Service. That was all the more reason that the Service on that day had to be performed no matter what happened.” He then noted that this has current significance by saying, “For us today, also, the most important thing is to perform the Service in the spirit of bringing ourselves into total accord with the divine intention.”
Further, the Shinbashira mentioned how the path thereafter expanded by great leaps and bounds under the guidance of the everliving Oyasama after the truth of the Sazuke began to be widely bestowed on missionaries who then spread the teachings and worked for the salvation of others. With this in consideration, he said, “We should keep firmly in mind that the lunar calendar date of January 26, 1887, was not only the day that the path of Oyasama’s Divine Model was concluded but also the day that marked the beginning of a new stage.”
In closing, the Shinbashira noted: “[T]he anniversaries of Oyasama will only have significance when we regard them as junctures whereby we set ourselves a goal toward which we work together while making a genuine effort to grow spiritually and engaging in pre-anniversary activities in unity of mind so that we may bring joy to Oyasama. In that sense also, I think we must strive to conduct activities that are in accord with Oyasama’s intention, both at the level of individuals and at the level of churches.”
He then closed his sermon, saying: “Last year, we received extremely severe training. We need to ponder deeply over the divine intention behind that training and accept it in an earnest manner. So as not to cause the Parent any more regret or feeling of anger, I hope that all of us focus our minds ever more sharply as we perform our tasks.”
Between January 25th and 27th, 477 people attended the Besseki lectures, with 98 people attending them for the first time.