This is an excerpt from the 2006 September Monthly Service Sermon by Honbu-in Toshimi Imamura (All have I done here is post the excerpt here. I have no knowledge of who did the actual translation of this sermon.)
71. “God is Taking the Day Off Today”
When my father was young, he recorded in his notebooks some of the stories narrated to him by Yoshie, the Honseki’s daughter. According to one of those stories, one day when the Honseki visited the Residence as usual after work, he noticed that the altar was empty of offerings such as rice and vegetables. When he commented to Kokan, “There are no offerings on the altar,” Oyasama, who was listening nearby, laughed and answered, “God is taking the day off today.” On a later occasion, he noticed that the altar lantern was not lit. When he commented on this, Oyasama replied with a laugh, “God is taking another day off today.”
It was at that moment that the Honseki’s heart was touched. Considering the fact that Oyasama’s family was going through severe financial hardships with no offerings on the altar and no oil for the altar lantern, he felt unworthy and almost compelled to offer his profound apology to Oyasama for being able to eat even a bowl of rice porridge at his home. He had been offering five sen out of his daily wages until that day, but after that, he began offering half of his daily wages before heading home.
- Next installment in this series: 72. Giving Priority to the Affairs of the Residence Over His Own
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.