On September 2nd, the September Monthly Service and the late third spiritual leader’s Fifth-Year Memorial Service combined with Monthly Ancestors Service was held in front of the Atami Zuiun-kyo Sacred Grounds Su no Hikari Kyodan Headquarters altar. A total of 700 members from all over the country came to attend the morning and afternoon services.
With the solemn sound of the yakumo-koto at the start of the service, the Opening Prayer, written by Kyoshu-sama was then read aloud by the officiant. The officiant and President Shirasawa then offered a pine branch, a symbol of appreciation, followed by the praying of the Amatsu Norito and Zengen Sanji by all attendees. Continuing on with the singing of Meishu-sama’s hymns, the teaching entitled, “The Japanese and their piety” was read aloud. After President Shirasawa channeled Johrei, the sharing of a member’s faith experience took place (one in the morning and another in the afternoon).
In President Shirasawa’s greeting, he began by mentioning the Ohikari Receiving Ceremony, Izunome Group’s first, which took place on August 19 in Osaka, with Kyoshu-sama, addressing each and every recipient, presenting each with the Ohikari himself. Kyoshu-sama took this opportunity to deliver a message in order to once again confirm the significance of receiving the Ohikari by saying, “Our lives all belong to God’s eternal life. The Ohikari is a reminder that we have been granted God’s light that shines eternally in the central part of us, it is to firmly etch this fact into our hearts.”
President Shirasawa continued by reflecting, “Until now, I had the understanding that having been granted the Ohikari, through Johrei and various other activities, I was sending light to the recipient, something that was to be shared [with others].” However, he said, “My life belongs to God’s eternal life. I was granted and already filled with God’s light that shines eternally within me. In order to keep this in mind and thus serve in God’s work of creation, that is, make all of humanity his children, Meishu-sama granted us the Ohikari. I renewed my gratitude to him.” “Let us together be used by God,” firmly taking in Kyoshu-sama’s guidance in this entirely new way of the solemn act of receiving of the Ohikari.
He also reported that from September 1, the mihoro (curtain covering the interior) of the Ancestral Shrine in the Headquarters altar room was removed with Kyoshu-sama’s consent. Even though Meishu-sama taught us that we humans, each one of us, are a sum total of our ancestors, President Shirasawa reflected on his own thinking, his own assumption that the ancestors were dead and in a distant place. He said that through Kyoshu-sama’s guidance, he was “awakened to the fact that we and our ancestors are one existence,” and called on everyone, “Together with our ancestors, let us accept that we are being nurtured to be born anew as a true child of God, a Messiah. Let us serve in God’s entirely new work of salvation.”
The September Monthly Service was brought to an end with all the attendees singing “Goin’ Home,” a song with lyrics set by Kyoshu-sama.
After that, the Fifth-Year Memorial Service for the late Itsuki Okada, third spiritual leader of Sekai Kyusei Kyo (Sandai Kyoshu-sama), combined with Monthly Ancestors Service was held.
In front of the ancestral shrine, now in a new attire, the Opening Prayer written by Kyoshu-sama was read aloud by the officiant. The officiant and President Shirasawa then offered a pine branch, symbol of appreciation. Next, everyone prayed the Zengen Sanji.
We remembered Sandai-sama’s motherly warmth when she guided us members through the third hymn, written by Sandai-sama, herself, which read:
With the passing of the days,
The work of salvation progresses.
We must prepare and nurture the young.
It was a service that deepened our thoughts on serving in this new phase of salvation together with our ancestors.