Tenrikyo Pearl Church February Service – Sermon 2017
Good morning. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to attend the February Service here at Pearl Church and thank you for your kind and sincere offerings. I am sure God the Parent and Oyasama is really happy to see you all here today and to have performed the service with joy and in high spirits!
We have just completed the seated service and the twelve songs of the Teodori (hand dance), joyously. I was blessed with the opportunity to learn about the deep meaning of God the Parent’s parental heart, through this service. I would like to share with you some of my thoughts.
The Twelve Songs Teodori Purifies Our Soul
A few years ago, someone who attended our monthly service, we shall call him Mr. “A,” asked my husband, who is the head minister of Pearl Church, “Why do you do the hand dance?”
Owen Kaicho answered, “Because Oyasama (our Foundress) taught us.”
Mr. A, who is a psychologist and has taught at several universities, was curious to know the significance of performing the hand dance. He also added, “What makes Kaicho believe Oyasama’s words so obediently without any doubt? What is the essence of this belief behind him?” These are the reasons why he kept coming to our monthly service in those days, “to learn this attitude,” he said.
I was taught that, through the service, our mental dust will be swept clean and the dust, which is stuck to our soul, shall be cleansed away naturally. In the Ofudesaki, (Part Thirteen: verse 22) we read:
This dust is difficult to sweep away.
But if you only begin the Service…
The Service is not just to chant the words of God, but through expressing the words by hand motion, we can cleanse our soul, which is almost impossible, by human ability. And we can lead a joyous life, which is the original state of human beings. We can then receive the Truth of being spiritually reborn in this life. This is the grateful Service.
Some years ago, in the Island Life section of the Sunday Advertiser (in May), there was an article about UH professor Mitsuo Aoki with a large photo of him.
What interested me in the article was the sentence: “The ‘cosmic dancer,’ he calls himself, and University of Hawaii students in religion classes over the years have been astonished as he leapt on top of his desk and danced.”
The philosopher, “Nietzsche (NEE’ che), said, ‘until you have learned to dance, you have not understood God,’” says Professor Aoki, “So dancing is a form of transcending limits.”
His words are quietly intense. It’s the same intensity with which he has lived life, the newspaper says.
“Dancing is a form of transcending limits,” says Professor Aoki, which is beyond human power and we can receive God’s omnipotent workings.
This sounds something very familiar to our “teodori,” which we have just performed.
In our faith, Oyasama taught us the teodori (or Hand Dance). For three full years following 1867, Oyasama devoted Her time to adapting melodies and dance movements to the songs and teaching them.
She said, “These are the songs of truth. So you must dance to the truth. You should not just dance. You must dance the truth.”
Further, She gave instruction in the Truth of the performance of the Service.
“Hands that are limp in the performance of the service betray a mind that is undisciplined. Also, it will not do to make even a single mistake in the manner of moving your hands. Through this Service, one’s life can be renewed. So important is this Service.”
San Mateo Church
I would like to share a story about San Mateo Church in California. The founding and present head minister, (Rev. Toru Yamamoto) there performs the 12 Songs Teodori everyday for the past 38 years.
I’m not good at English, but I just rely on Oyasama. Even though I’m unable to speak good English, I am still able to do my work as minister and help save others. I feel that I am living proof that Oyasama is ever-living and working for us.
(The monthly publication Michino tomo October 2015 page 16)
Twenty-eight years ago, he came to the US with his wife and 3 children. In his first salvation work he visited a person who had a stroke and loss the use of his leg. This person’s leg gradually started to move. Since then, his mission has grown little by little.
I believe that Oyasama works for us, wherever we are. However, to receive the Truth of the Jiba is also important so it’s important for us to return Jiba in order to receive Oyasama’s blessing. This Rev. and his wife performs the 12 Songs Teodori everyday for 38 years. Their 3 children and devoted members also perform the 12 Songs Teodori everyday.
His eldest son is an orthopedic surgeon. He lives at the church and goes to work from there. Every night he performs the 12 Songs Teodori even though it’s late due to a late surgery sometimes performing the service at 1 or 2am in the morning. Still he reports to the hospital at 6am the next morning.
One day this son shared a story about his surgery on a patient. He had difficulty restoring the joint on this patient’s knee. He had done everything possible, but nothing worked. With no medical options left, he unintentionally covered the knee with his hands and uttered, “Oyasama.” He was shocked at what he did because he had no intention of doing it. Whereupon the patient’s knee joint was restored. His assistant and a nurse were utterly shocked and astonished to see the result. “What did you do?” they asked. But he had no explanation and hurriedly completed the procedure and left the operating room. The head minister said that he knows his son undoubtedly believes in the everliving Oyasama through the 12 Songs Teodori.
One of his daughters is a dentist and her husband is a physician and they live in New York. The daughter’s husband entered the 3-month spiritual development course in Jiba at this head minister’s suggestion. After the course, Rev. Yamamoto decided not to say this and that to him about the faith. Rather he put his trust in his daughter’s husband to decide how to practice the teachings.
Soon after that, they started to attend the monthly service from New York to California, taking six and a half hours each way. Not only traveling a long distance, but I’m sure the transportation cost a lot too.
The daughter’s husband doesn’t speak Japanese at all, but dances the 12 Songs Teodori with his daughter everyday.
No matter where we are in this world, Oyasama is watching us and guiding us toward the Joyous Life. Rev. Yamamoto’s children as well as their church’s devout followers perform the 12 Songs Teodori, believe in the ever-living Oyasama and they feel very close to Oyasama.
Oyasama hastened for us to perform the service. Performing the Service will purify the minds of all people, cut off the root of illness and bring peace to this world.
In the Ofudesaki, Part Twelve verse 50 & 51, it says:
“Hereafter, however serious an illness may be,
I shall save you all by the Breath and the Hand Dance.
However serious an illness there may be,
Never say that it will not be cured.”
Furthermore, in Part Twelve: Verse 61, it says:
“However difficult things may appear,
I shall save you all by the Joyous Service.”
Thank you very much for your kind attention.
- Thank you for bringing your deposit cans and bottles for our fundraising drive. We are still continuing our fundraising efforts that will help to reduce airfare for prospective Besseki attendees.
- Also thank you very much for helping at the BGA Leadership Camp and annual New Year Park Cleanup and BBQ Picnic held last month. Two adult volunteers from Pearl Church helped to conduct the camp and five helped at the park cleanup and BBQ picnic at Stadium Park. Thank you for volunteering your time to do Hinokishin in the community!
- The annual Tenri Cultural Center cleanup is scheduled for President’s day, Monday, February 20 from 9am. Lunch will be served at 11am.
- Our next Rummage sale will be on Sunday, April 2nd, from 8am-12noon. Please bring any items you wish to donate from today till two days before the sale. To those of you who’ve already donated items, thank you very much. Setup and pricing will on Saturday, the day prior.
- The annual BGA Spring Camp and 42nd GM will be held next month on March 24-26, Friday-Sunday. We would like to ask for everyone’s hinokishin.
Please take advantage of these activities accomplish several tasks at one time:
- Sweep away your mental dusts and further your spiritual growth.
- Do nioigake by inviting friends and family.
- Transmit the faith to the next generation.
- Plant seeds of sincerity by sharing the joy of faith to the people around you and the community.