May 2, 2009, HQ Church, Seoul Korea
I always want to give credit to Kook Jin Hyung, because I do believe he started a tremendous change. He started a truly liberating change that has now given new life to our movement. (He started) professionalism, transparency, accountability, fairness, etc. Because of his kind of leadership and his analysis and his ability to organizationally manage and lead, and because of all that experience of 16 years as a CEO he’s been able to make huge changes and recommendations that True Father has approved. And because of those recommendations, I do see that the organization has become stronger.
Yeon Ah Nim:
Welcome, brothers and sisters! Good afternoon, brothers and sisters!
It’s really great to see you. As you know, yesterday at Chungpyung we had our HSA-UWC 55th Anniversary Celebration and rally to establish the Peace Parents UN. It’s a long time. And today, because of that, we have a lot of Continental Leaders and National Leaders at our service, so let us all give a warm applause to all the leaders who work very hard to restore Father’s nation. Thank you.
We are always honored to have all of you here in this sanctuary; and for those who are joining us via internet, wherever you are, we also welcome you as well. Welcome brothers, and welcome sisters.
Hyung Jin Nim:
Welcome brothers and sisters. For all those brothers and sisters who are joining us via the internet, I want you all to just turn back, and let’s recognize them today. Let’s say hi to them. They’re from your Continents, all National Directors, a lot of our National Directors here and Continental Directors. We love you guys. (Congregation turns around and waves at the camera). Today is the Azalea Festival in Chungpyung, so we came from Chungpyung this morning, ran into Buddha’s birthday at the temple, that we were invited to, and then we have to run back right after service. But, we’re here, we’re here.
Okay, we’re going to start with Cheon Seong Gyeong, page 876 today, “What kind of world is Heaven? It is not a world where people regard each other with animosity and jealousy, turning green with envy over another’s fortune, or getting upset over someone else’s happiness. One person’s success represents the success of the whole, one person’s joy can be shared by the whole. Therefore, Heaven is a place where everyone can be pleased over any person’s happiness, and everyone can join in and rejoice when anyone rejoices.”
Those are some beautiful words, brothers and sisters. You know, we come here from different nations. We may be leaders or something, but when we come before God, we are His children, all that (positions) goes away. And, it’s so important, they call this principle empathetic joy (he refers to the CSG reading). When we see a friend get a great break that God is giving him, then, instead of feeling, “Oh, he took my chance, now it’s over for me,” why don’t we turn that around this week? Let’s say, “You know what, that’s fantastic. I’m going to be happy for him. I’m going to bless him! Because I know that if I bless him, God’s going to bless me. He’s waiting for it to happen.
It’s so important brothers and sisters to live like that, in that victorious mind. What Father is talking about here is reminding us what kind of place Heaven is. It’s a place where we truly are in the presence of people who DO want us to succeed, do want us to thrive, and are happy for us when we do. That’s a beautiful place, because when we can be in that kind of place, there’s some victory coming out of there. There’s some joy and hope coming out of there; and those are the places that we want to be.
And, as it is in Heaven, we want to be able to create it on earth. Brothers and sisters, that’s exactly the place where we’re practicing. That’s exactly the place for our community. That’s the place for our church; and in our church we want to be able to exemplify this. We’re not perfect at it, that’s fine, but we can practice it, we can try it out. This week we can make a commitment, “You know what? I’m going to try it out this week, and see what happens. I tell you, God is going to bless you in a whole new way. If you believe it, let’s give it up for True Parents!
Brothers and sisters, once again, when we come to service let’s always remember, we’re coming and entering into God’s presence. When we do that, we want to come in with thankfulness and gratitude. But also, we want to come in with enthusiasm and joy for our lives. If we do that we create energy and power amongst us, the faithful, who are here. And when we leave this place, we do not only take OUR energy with us, but the energy of ALL the people here.
Brothers and sisters, I actively ask you to be involved today when the Two Rivers is doing their thing and their sweating and shouting their songs of praise. Weren’t they great yesterday at Chungpyung? Let’s give it up for them! They were fantastic yesterday!
When they’re up there, it’s not just concert time, and everybody turns their brain off and goes into meditation. I love meditation, okay, but when they come up there, brothers and sisters, they’re inviting you to sing along. Read those words (from the song), “God, You reign in me, God I want You to reign, reign in me. Reign, let Your power reign. Come over my thoughts, the thoughts of defeat, the thoughts of ‘I can’t do it’, the thoughts of ‘I’m terrible’. The thoughts that maybe I’m not worth anything.”
Let God come in and reign over Your thoughts. Let Him tell You that you are precious. Let Him tell you that you have value. Let Him tell you that He has wanted to plan to be with you. He wanted to plan this whole situation, this whole life together. Let Him come in and reign over your thoughts, give you hope, give you strength, give you vitality.
See, when you do that, then you’re living in the victorious mode. Then nothing is going to stop you. No archangel that comes against you will prosper. Nobody will survive in that environment as an enemy.
So, brothers and sisters, let’s keep that in mind. I want to welcome you again to service. Let’s give it all we have to God, so that truly we may be blessed this week and become greater blessings to this world. Thank you so much, welcome.
Yeon Ah Nim’s Message:
We actually want our children to be proud Unification Church members. They go out to school, and everyday have a chance to say they are Unification Church member. They proudly say, “I’m a Unification Church member.” But sometimes they face people who look down on them or discriminate them, just because they are a UC member. A couple of weeks ago my second son shared with me, that he got made fun of because he is a UC member. At school he was made fun of, just because he is a UC member and grandson of True Parents.
So, I am concerned a lot, and I asked Hyung Jin Nim his opinion about this matter; and Hyung Jin Nim said, “It’s not a very simple matter, and it’s something that we, as a new religion, have to continuously work on and improve to be a good religion, and that’s the way we will change that into process (change things).” But he said that whenever that negativity comes up, teach our children to say to them this: “We are living in Korea, which is a democratic country, and we have freedom of religion, and as I respect YOUR religion, please respect MY choice of religion.”
And, I taught this to my children one night, and I explained, “Some people misunderstand True Parents and our religion, so they might say a negative comment to you, but you know what? You can say this!” and I teach them (that sentence). You might think this sentence is pretty long, but actually they can do that. And as I teach I can see this. I can see that many of our young proud UC members can say this. Can you imagine, they can say this to those negative people? Can you imagine that? Let’s give a big applause for our future young proud UC members’ generation.
As I taught this to my children, I realized that this is even helpful for me. It’s helpful for those grown up UC members as well. Sometimes, when we face negativity, we’re sometimes paralyzed and we don’t know what to say. So, from now on, I know what to say, “I am living in a democratic country. I have freedom of religion; and please, respect my choice of religion.” You know what to say from now on, right? Yes. We go with this confidence. And as the sons and daughters of True Parents we’re going to inherit God’s true love and live with Him, and we will even become sons and daughters of True Parents and Heavenly Father, who can even liberate True Parents’ heart. Aju.
Prayer by Rev. Michael Brazil:
Heavenly Father, we come before You with deep gratitude and humility, as Your sons and daughters, thanking You for loving us so deeply, even at times when we may not be worthy. But we know that You are always there, showering Your love, Your truth, Your grace, upon us. We want to, again, thank You so deeply. As we heard earlier, we really want to allow You to reign in us, to allow You to live through us, so that we follow Your example of truth and love. And we know that in doing that we will bring You great joy and great joy to others, and we know You will bring us great joy as well.
We thank You for our brothers and sisters who are with us here today from around the world. We thank the leaders who have come from a long distance to join us; and we thank our brothers and sister who are watching via the internet. Our Heavenly Father, may You truly bless them and guide them, that they may receive Your heart, Your love, and Your truth through this service. We really want to invite You; we really want to welcome You here. We want to open our hearts wide, so that You can pour forth into us, like the Niagara Falls, so that You can be with us, empower us, strengthen us, open our hearts, to hear Your love, Your truth, Your word, today, so that, when we leave, we are closer to You, we are even more powerful, so that, when we go forth this week ahead, we truly can be a greater reflection of You. We again thank You so deeply, and we humbly offer all this to You, in the names of our brothers and sisters, our blessed brothers and sisters from around the world, Aju.
Remarks about Prayer by Hyung Jin Nim:
Thank you, brothers and sisters. Brothers and sisters, it’s now time to strengthen and express gratitude to what we call our Abel angels. Those are the people in our spirit world who passed early, maybe your brother, maybe your parents, maybe your grandparents, but when you think of that person, you know that person is fighting for you, that person is protecting you.
For me that is my brother Young Jin Hyung. I know he’s with me every single day, and I lean on him, I lean on that friendship for help and comfort a lot. You know, Father always said that when he prays to God, he doesn’t pray to request, he prays to console. But there are times in our life, when we DO need help, when we do have to lean on friendships. And, brothers and sisters, I want to try to remember today. Let us all remember those Abel angels in our life. They are definitely with us. They are with you, they’re helping you through, and you can lean on them for comfort.
Brothers and sisters, I want to take this time in prayer, to pray for that Abel angel that’s in your heart. You don’t have to tell anyone who it is. You know who it is. Let’s pray for that brother or sister, that parent, that grandparent. Let’s give them strength, and let’s thank them for the work that they’ve been doing with us. Let’s take this time for prayer.
Interesting Story by Hyung Jin Nim:
You know, before we start the service, the speech, we like to start with something a little bit interesting.
I heard a story about little Rachel. She was in the back of the class, a kindergarten class. She was in the back of the classroom drawing something. The teacher wanted the children to participate and pay attention; but little Rachael was very busy back there. So the teacher went over there and said, “Well, Rachel, what are you doing back there?” And Rachel said, “I’m drawing.” The teacher said, “What are you drawing in class time?” Little Rachel said, “I’m drawing God.” The teacher said to Rachel, “Well, Rachel, nobody knows what God looks like. You can’t draw Him.” Little Rachel said, “Well, they will know in about a minute.” ]
Oh, you didn’t get that today. You didn’t get it.
True Parents’ Declaration:
Right hand up, left hand over our heart. These are my True Parents, the Eternal King and Queen of Peace, and Liberators of God’s heart. They have saved me from my past. They have blessed my future, and they give me true love, forgiveness and happiness today; and I choose to receive it.
My mind is awake. My heart is opene wide, and from this moment I change forever. In my name, Aju. Thank you.
Main Sermon by Hyung Jin Nim:
Brothers and sisters, I want to talk to you today about true friendships. Friends are probably some of the most important people that we will meet during our life. And especially, if we are going to live the blessed life, it is so important that we stay open to whom truly God is sending into our lives to be our friends.
You know, good friends encourage us. Good friends give us guidance. They comfort and believe in us, and most importantly, good friends share our purpose.
There are times in our life when we’ll actually have to let go of some friends to meet the new friends that God is preparing for us. If we don’t meet those new friends, the destiny and the new victories that He is preparing, will not come to pass.
Some of those times can be difficult, even frightening at times, but it’s important to have strength, to know that when you let go of certain friends and you start moving on in your own life and in your career, God is always preparing other people, other friends that you will absolutely need to succeed in the way that He wants you to do. Having the right friends around you to share your purpose is absolutely one of the keys to living the blessed life.
Let’s take a look at some of the scriptures today. In Christianity let’s look at John 15:13, a very famous quote. Let’s read that together. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lays down his life for his friends.” A truly profound love that can sacrifice oneself for friendship.
We can here see the power of friendship that Jesus spoke about.
Let’s take a look at Islam today. In the Koran Sutra 9…let’s read that together?
“And the believers, men and women, are friends, protecting one another. They enjoy the right and forbid the wrong; and they establish worship, and they pay the poor and obey God and His messenger.” Once again, we see the community of the believers, of the faithful, as being friends protecting each other, and actually helping each other to walk the path of right and to get beyond bad habits, negative habits.
Let’s take a look at Confucianism today. This is the Book of Changes. Let’s read that together:
“When two people are at one in their inmost hearts, they shatter even the strength of iron or bronze.” The power of friendship, joined in common purpose, is stronger than iron or steel or bronze.
Let’s take a look at True Parents’ quote today. This is from speech volume 172. Let’s read it together.
“Who can become the truest friend among them? The plain truth is that the friend who would like to live for others in the spirit of self-sacrificing, should be the truest friend. He doesn’t want to live for his own interest, but gives priority to others’ and to his friends’ interests. He who is willing to live his life for others, from his youthful days through later years must be the true friend of friends.”
When we are young, we many times try to be benevolent to our friends, and a lot of times at that young age our young friends take advantage of that. “Oh, you’re such a good guy. Just give me another piece of that candy, ok?” They do that. But, it’s such a blessing, if we, as we get older, continue that practice of benevolence, if we are able to really think of our friend’s interests and have that be returned back to us. If we, as we grow, have those kinds of mature friends and meet the people that God wants us to meet, those are the most powerful relationships that we can ever have.
You know, Augustine talked about this. Augustine, of course, was one of the most influential Christian theologians in all of history. His writings about the City of God, the Confessions, etc., they shaped Western medieval world view, they shaped world literature, etc.
Augustine was born in the city of August to a Catholic mother named Monica. He was educated in North Africa, but he resisted his mother’s pleas to become a Christian. He lived as a pagan intellectual, and he became a Manichean. Later he eventually came back around full circle, and converted to Christianity, eventually becoming a Bishop, etc.
He spoke about one of his friends that he met, Ambrose. He was actually baptized by him. And when he wrote his Confessions, he talked about how Ambrose made him understand the trueness of friendship, that friendship is connected in purpose and connected in faith. And that is where the trueness of friendship can be found.
Let’s also take a look at True Parents’ words as we see this (in this context).
Father asks us, “Who is the true friend? He is a man who welcomes you gladly, who receives you warmly, the opposite of the average person’s mind today.” Very interesting to know, when Augustine first met Ambrose, the very reason Augustine came into his teaching was, because Ambrose was openly warm to him, openly invited him in to teach him and took him in as a son.
In the Confessions, Augustine actually writes about a previous friend that he had. He grew up with this friend. He did all sorts of things with him. They were really close friends. This friend eventually contracts an illness that results in very violent fevers. This friend is baptized in the Catholic tradition, and he gets better temporarily, and then he suddenly dies. So Augustine at this moment in his life faces his mortality. He’s not a Christian yet. He hasn’t taken the step of faith yet. He faces mortality, and he loses all faith in life. He says in one quotation in the Confessions,”I was tired of living and extremely frightened of dying.” He lost all energy to live on. He goes on travel to Cartherige, to Rome, and eventually to Milan, where he met Ambrose, that one person, who, when he (Augustine) has nothing left, when he is giving up on his life, invites him in as a true friend, as Father says, in the quote that we just read, “the person who gladly receives you, receives you warmly.” That was the very reason -Augustine writes – that he took to Ambrose, eventually being inspired by Ambrose’s way of living and the Christian life, and eventually becoming baptized by him and staying under his tutelage. Augustine, once again, identified true friendship as purpose oriented, where true friends are connected in heart, connected in Christ – for him in Christ – and connected in faith.
Brothers and sisters, in our life, as we talked earlier, God will sometimes take people away from us, just like he did for Augustine. He took away that very close friend that he grew up with, that person that he depended on, that he always leaned on for support and comfort. But God didn’t do that to punish Augustine or to make him have a more difficult life. God did that so that Augustine could move on to different areas. He moved onto Chartharige and Rome and Milan. And God helped him meet a new friend that took him in warmly, Ambrose. That person shaped Augustine, that person made Augustine into the person that he became and allowed Augustine to truly become fruitful in all his potential and to be able to influence history in the way that he did.
Sometimes in our life someone that we are very dependant on has to move on, has to move away, sometimes even passes away. Sometimes WE may actually move to a different country, or a different school, and this may cause us to have to let go of a certain friendship that we rely upon greatly.
But, brothers and sisters, it is so important to realize that God is working to raise you. He is not sending you on your path alone. He is working to have us raised. He has already planned the people that you are supposed to meet. He is already raising them up, too, so that when you do meet, you will become that much more helpful to one another. That is one of the most important things that we can see in Augustine’s life.
And if we, in our own lives, if we are not willing to obey this change, and we try to resist that change, and maybe because of fear (say,) “Oh, I don’t want to turn my back on these friends. They will make fun of me and say that I’m a traitor.” Maybe we are scared of that. But at times in our life God asks us to be brave and courageous, to trust Him above human beings, to trust His guidance. And many times in our own lives we will have to question whether or not the people that we are around are actually bringing us to the highest potential that God wants us to be at.
You know, one of the greatest scientist (said,) “If we are ALWAYS at the top of our friend group, if we are always giving advice, then you know very clearly that God is asking you to move and find new friends.” You must never be at a state in your life where you are only the one who is always giving the wisdom and the advice. Surround yourself with people who give YOU wisdom, who give you mentoring, who give you strength. This is one of the most important types of friendships.
In doing ministry, this is so important for US, because we are in a situation where we do talk to a lot of people, where people rely on us for guidance. But it would be very incorrect to say that we don’t rely on anyone else for guidance. I have a lot of brothers and sisters; Kook Jin Nim is one of them. He is one of my great mentors, a person who, when I struggle, and when I have to ask him some questions, he is always there to lend an ear, to help me problem solve.
My sister Sun Jin Nuna is always there to encourage me. So, whether we recognize it or not in our life, to have those kinds of friends is absolutely one of the most critical things for understanding and living the blessed life.
When we moved from America to Korea, this was a big shift. I relied on a lot of friendships in America. When I studied at Harvard, I stayed with one of our brothers. He was a New Testament scholar, a great friend of mine from when I was very young. He is in his 50s, but he studied the New Testament. So when I studied religions, we had some great conversations. He really helped me in my understanding of Christian theology, etc. He really became a mentor in my studies. Of course, I studied Buddhism at the same time, so we had some very interesting interreligious discussions. But then at some point, he started a business. So he had to move on, and he was getting very busy. At that time Matt was also there. We saw Matt over there working in the business as well. And then – it is very interesting -because as that friend moved on and was not as prominent (not as important for me as before), all of a sudden God brought another friend into my life.
All of a sudden I got an email one day saying that there was a Tibetan monk that was trying to find a place to stay. And since I went back on the weekends I wrote him an email saying, “Since I go back on the weekends you can stay with me.” And his mother was there, too. So I wrote, “You guys can stay with me and take care of the place when I am going back and forth between New York and Cambridge.”
Very interesting, this was not just a coincidence. When we first met, we realized that actually we had met before in some form. I’m not talking about reincarnation here! I’m talking about when just a year ago the monk Lamawangdo, as he told me, was on the street in Boston. He was walking down the street, and a Japanese lady walked up to him and invited him to a conference given by Father Moon, which happened to be in Boston.
So he attended that conference, he heard Father speak, about a year ago. He said that he was very moved by that. In that very same year I had the privilege of meeting the Dalai Lama at Christmas time. I had spent a little bit time with him in Daramshala.
And so, when we met and actually exchanged our stories, we realized: My God, we actually, just in the last year, had met both of the heads of our religions. And, my God, what a coincidence! What kind of probability could set that up, so that we meet, out of all the millions of places in the world, that we meet at Cambridge, and that we just had those connections, just within the last year?
I had a great friendship with him. He’s a wonderful guy. His mom is such a wonderful, dear lady. They make Tibetan butter tea. I can’t have it everyday, it’s really heavy. We were really close and had a lot of sharing. They are very, very wonderful people. Whenever we had friends coming over, other monk friends coming over, other priest friends coming over, we had some great conversations with them.
But as I moved to Korea – I graduated and moved to Korea – then those friendships became less prominent (less important for me). I found myself here in Korea in 2006, because Father asked me to stay. So here I was in Korea, basically all alone. My wife was still finishing her studies in the United States, and also my children were still in the States. And so God was asking me to remain faithful to Him and to understand that He is going to bring other mentors and other friends (into my life) that are going to help me along my path.
And it just so happened that at that time – already about a year ago – Kook Jin Hyung just happened to come and be in Korea. You understand that the age difference between myself and Kook Jin Hyung is about nine years. That has been quite a big gap. We have a lot of brothers and sisters in between us. We have a big family, as you all know. And Kook Jin Hyung was here, and he was fighting a huge battle in our movement, to bring in professionalism and transparency and honesty.
The Tong-il group at that time was bankrupt. As you all know, Kook Jin Hyung brought that group from a $100 million loss per year to a $50 million profit, within 3 years. That’s an incredible turnaround. But he was being very opposed, a lot of opposition.
Actually there were demos – many members don’t know this – outside the Foundation building. For about two months they were demonstrating, because one of the companies was totally unprofitable – the professionals analyzed that it was unsolvable – and had to be sold off. Actually members were out there demonstrating, telling Kook Jin Hyung,”Go home!” And so many leaders were very opposed to the idea of transparency; because transparency shows any losses and any financial weakness. It shows how money and church finances have been managed.
So there was a lot of opposition when Kook Jin Hyung came and started this process, this huge revolutionary change in our movement. And I remember, when I first got here we started having these wonderful conversations. You know, at that time I was teaching World Religions and also doing some courses on mediation practice in Cheon Pyung, and we ended up talking to each other a lot.
For about 7 years we actually did not get together, talk together. I was studying at Harvard. I was finishing my undergrad there, plus finishing my Masters degree there. So I was up there for a good 6 or 7 years. So it had been quite a while since I had seen Kook Jin Hyung. And even though we had spent a lot of time together before that, I was just a college kid, at this level of maturity. So it had really been 7 years that we weren’t able to spend time together. And as we talked, and as we shared, we noticed that actually we had a lot in common. We realized that we didn’t agree with the direction of the movement. We saw all these different groups, trying to come to power and literally become tyrants, dictators, of the movement and rule the movement with absolute rule. And this was very draining to see, it was very draining to see. Even True Parents, how miserable they were in that kind of situation!
We were in a situation where members had absolutely no voting power, no rights, and no voting power. There were endless expensive mobilizations, as you all recall. Always, constant, constant, constant. And all the while the members would have to just blindly follow. We were not happy with this at all. Of course, we saw this in the results as well, as a weakening church. In the 1970s we had 16,000 members, but by 2005 our church in Korea had 14,000 members, half of which were Japanese and International couples. So, in essence, we have a very small Korean congregation.
We saw church attendance dropping, tithing dropping, registration dropping, for the last 30 years, continuously. But those who stayed in the church – we also found this very disheartening – those who stayed in the church would say, “I don’t want to witness. I don’t want to bring people into this misery. I don’t want to witness!” I had people telling me this all the time. It was shocking, but it was very true.
You know, at that time, when we talked, we realized, “No, no, no, this can’t be the way.” Father had already announced the Age of the Liberation and Complete Release, and this was very far from that vision.
So we decided that we wanted a more empowered church, a more liberated church, a church where really members could be proud of their faith, where society could look differently at our church, where we could actually be relevant in society, not just SAY we are relevant, but really ARE relevant in society.
Now, about a year and a half later, we do have a different church! We have a transparent financial management system here at the Head Quarter’s church. We have KPI’s – I was explaining this to the national and continental directors yesterday – KPI [Key Performance Indicators] that the Chaedan Group brought here for church management. These (KPI’s) are essentially measuring membership’s satisfaction: Are the members satisfied with their leaders on the ground, with their ministers on the ground?
We are not at the level, of course, where we could be in society, where society can truly be moved. We’re still very small in comparison to society, but we are changing in a great way. We are changing. We have elections now; we have elections to give membership voting power. We have elections that allow members to elevate women leaders into the leadership. We have 28 women leaders here at HQ church, more women leaders than men leaders. That’s a big change in the church! That’s a great change. Let’s give it up for the women‘s age. We have tremendous change that is happening!
You know, even on Buddha’s birthday today there are all sorts of dignitaries out there, some people that we met before at VIP conferences, like Sege Il Bo conferences, wonderful people. And when we meet them again, they are very interested, “Unificationism? I’ve heard very good things about it. We are hearing about good articles, and we read your article the other day.” I had a Congress woman come up to me and say, “Oh, I wanted to meet you. I read some of your articles.” And so, there is a lot of good change that is happening. We’re not there yet, but we’re moving in that direction. That’s very important that we’re MOVING in that direction, that we are moving in the direction of the Age of Liberation and Complete Release.
What I realized after the experiences in the year and a half that we (Kook Jin Nim and Hyung Jin Nim) have been working together, is this, “My God, this could not have been set up in any other way!” If Kook Jin Hyung was just being at home, operating his business, which is widely successful – and is continuing to be even more successful now – if he was just there in New York, doing his business, we would not be able to truly create this kind of substantial change. There is no way that I, with my own ability, could come here and make this kind of seed change that Kook Jin Hyung and his team, the teams that we built, have made in terms of progressing the church forward.
And I say this because I want to always remain humble, and I want to give credit where credit is due. A lot of the members believe that it is because of MY leadership that many things are changing in the church; but I want to give credit where credit is due. It is very important for me to be honest and to say, “You know, Kook Jin Hyung actually started this revolutionary change. He started by bringing professionalism into the church, bringing transparency, bringing accountability into the church, in a real way, organizationally.”
And I realized that when two hearts are connected to a common purpose, and they are connected to liberating True Parents, then we WILL see good change. We actually experienced this in the last one and a half years. We’ve seen great media change. We’ve seen – for the first time in 30 years – an increase in church attendance, increase in church tithing, increase in church registration, for the first time in over 30 years. Let’s give it up for our Korean church, come on! That’s a very good thing!
And I want to share these words that Father said … and of course, of course, oh my goodness, Father’s best seller!! I say it every week; I’m inspired by it every week. That’s a best seller, by the way!! Brothers and sisters, for those who don’t know it: That’s a best seller!!
Let’s take a look at this quote by True Father that he speaks upon. Let’s read that actually together. Okay, I’ll read it for you.
“If a friend was to be the best friend of yours, the relationship between you and he should never be broken. Even at the risk of your life, you could not break off relations with him. It is not because of sympathy, but because you are connected from the bottom of your heart in your purpose, which is a source of goodness. Any bond connected to the goodness in the original mind can never be broken,” Father says.
And when I saw that quote, I realized, “Yes, that is my friendship with Kook Jin Hyung. That is our friendship.” But it is beyond that. I realized something else. After we started working together, we had so many people doubting, “True Children can’t work together. They have such A type personalities, they can’t get along well. There’s no way they’re going to last working together; they’re going to be fighting and tearing the church apart. That’s what they will be doing.” So, I actually had people coming up to me and saying, “You cannot trust Kook Jin Nim. You should not trust him. He’s trying to gain power over the church and rule the church. Hyung Jin Nim, you are very naive. All you do is meditate all the time. You’ve got to wake up. You have got to wake up to this, okay? Don’t be a fool!”
People said that he (Kook Jin Nim) shouldn’t help with the church side. I had a leader come up to me and telling me that I had to trust that leader more than I trust Kook Jin Hyung, telling me “Hyung Jin Nim, I want everybody to praise you and be chanting your name.” I said, “I never wanted that, I don’t want it ever in my life. I never wanted that when I started, and I’m not going to want it until I die.”
So, I realized, wow, that a lot of people tried to work on my ego, and I realized this was wrong. If Kook Jin Hyung was trying to be the dictator, he would never have supported me in ministry. He would never have supported any of this. If he would have the greed to take over the church, he would never support other True Children that are working now in roles of responsibility. If he wanted to be a tyrant in the church, he would see me as a competitor and would try to knock me off, get rid of me. If he wanted to be a tyrant, he would never promote transparency; he would never promote KPI’s for members’ satisfaction, to check whether members are happy. He would never promote church growth or happier communities or elections for that matter. Why? Because all these things are not conducive to tyranny. You cannot rule in tyranny with elections, transparency and membership satisfaction checking. You can’t do it. It is simply impossible.
I look at the results, I look at the ACTUAL things that he does. I do not only listen to what people trying to tell me, “Don’t listen to him; you’ve got to doubt him.” I am capable of making my own determinations (my own judgement), and I have determined that he is truly a saint, that he is truly living for the sake of the whole. Let’s give him a great applause! He has been working at the Chedan Foundation, making humongous (huge) changes. He has not taken ONE penny in salary from the Chedan. A lot of brothers and sisters don’t know this. He has been doing it totally as service work. So he has actually had to fly back and forth from Korea to America, to make sure his business stays healthy, so that he can keep a living wage. Because he doesn’t receive a penny from the Tong Il group. He’s doing it totally as public service. And that is somebody that I truly respect!
Sometimes, of course, I had the thought, “Maybe I’m not really leading the movement.” Father put a crown on my head, and he said, “You have to be the leader of the movement.” But maybe sometimes I feel that I’m not really leading this. It was Kook Jin Hyung who really desired the change in the movement. He STARTED this revolution. But then I realized, “So what! So what! It’s not a question of whether I’m the one who is wearing a crown, or who is ordained by True Parents. That doesn’t matter! That is an ego trip! What’s more important is the question of whether or not UC will be relevant. Whether UC we grow and be substantial.” That is what we are focusing on.
It really doesn’t matter whose credit it is. I always want to give credit to Kook Jin Hyung, because I do believe he started a tremendous change. He started a truly liberating change that has now given new life to our movement. (He started) professionalism, transparency, accountability, fairness, etc. Because of his kind of leadership and his analysis and his ability to organizationally manage and lead and because of all that experience of 16 years as a CEO he’s been able to make huge changes and recommendations that True Father has approved. And because of those recommendations, I do see that the organization has become stronger.
Of course, I do believe I did my own part, but I don’t want to take full credit. No way! There’s no way. Even half credit, I don’t believe that I deserve it. Really, I am so grateful to that elder brother, because he truly is living for the public. He truly is living as a saint, as somebody who is truly living to see the happiness of the nation.
Father always said that his (Kook Jin Nim’s) name would mean the nation of faith. He said that he would always establish the nation. That’s what Father said about Kook Jin Hyung when he was born, that he would establish the nation. And when we see him and all the revolutionary changes and recommendations that he’s made to Father, and all of the great changes that have happened as a result of that, then we really do see, that, yes, he is the one that is really strengthening the nation of Cheon Il Guk. He really is strengthening our church.
And on the ministry side it is our role to really be able to allow people in the strengthened nation to find the purpose in their lives and deeper happiness. And this is why we try to focus solely on the spiritual side and allow the Chedan to work together with us to manage and do the financial transfer management, etc.. We do not try to do it all by ourselves, but try to work together at an excellent level.
We’re not perfect yet. We’re still improving; but I realized, understanding that friendship (between Kook Jin Nim and Hyung Jin Nim), that there was something even deeper. I was reading one day in the Principle on the purpose of returning resurrection. Here I read the paragraph, where according to the Principle of Creation it says, “The growth of the human spirit requires life elements and vitality elements received through give and take action with the physical self.
In essence, the spirits who have passed on can neither grow nor be resurrected apart from a physical self. By assisting people of faith, living on earth to fulfill their missions, the spirits in the spirit world may complete their missions at the same time.”
When I read this, something hit me very strong. I realized that it’s not ONLY about me and Kook Jin Hyung’s relationship. I realized something even more deep. That actually, in the last ten years, both of our lives have been completely flipped around, transformed, completely transformed. How has it been transformed? We lost our closest brother. We lost a brother that actually was the dearest to both of us. Kook Jin Hyung raised Young Jin Hyung. They had the same interests, the same personality. They loved computer games, and they loved studying, and they always did well in school. They are these kinds of guys; they loved the books. I was totally the opposite. I hated books, hated computer games. I liked playing outside, climbing trees, and running around in the forest. I hated that stuff (that Kook Jin Nim and Young Jin Nim liked).
So Kook Jin Hyung and Young Jin Hyung were so close.
They were always together; always playing video games, always D&D. It was just incredible. I could see them playing day and night. They would spend a whole day, and then spend a whole night playing this game where they are fighting each other, with these axis and allies. And I’m thinking, “Are they out of their mind? How can they do that all day and all night? I can’t even do it for 10 minutes, let alone all day and all night.”
But I realized there was something even deeper in our relationship. When Young Jin Hyung passed, actually Kook Jin Hyung lost his closest friend in our family. He lost the brother that was the closest to him, most similar to him, the person he almost raised as a son. And when I lost Young Jin Hyung, he was only one year above me. So even though we were different, we always worked together. We lived in the same rooms all the time; we were always so close. And I realized that when we lost him, we lost the same person.
But reading that chapter on returning resurrection I realized: “My God, by working together, as Cain and Abel, together, supporting each other, by working together for the public good, not for self ego trips, by working together for the public good—what are we doing? We’re helping our brother Young Hyung; we are helping our spirit brother fulfill HIS mission in the spirit world!” And by helping him fulfill his purpose of growing and working with us, I realized, “My God! This relationship is beyond my own choice. This is beyond coincidence. This is what God had wanted to happen, and through this process we are able to do something for Young Jin Hyung, and we’re so grateful that that is possible.”
You see, God didn’t leave us at that time. God allowed us to work together, truly respecting each other, understanding our strengths, understanding what I can do, and what I cannot do. Kook Jin Hyung always says, “I can do certain things that you can’t; and you can do certain things that I can’t. That’s why when we come together we can do so much together.”
And we understand that Young Jin Hyung is the person that really brought us together.
I always talk about Abel Angels, the people who have gone into the spirit world, but who are there with us, who are always there with us. And of course, we have many people in the spirit world, but we have an Abel Angel, and that’s the person who is so close to us. When you close your eyes, and you think about the people who have passed away in your life, then you know immediately who your Abel Angel is, who the person is who is looking after you, almost like a guardian angel, protecting you. And I know this is Young Jin Hyung for me, and I know this is Young Jin Hyung for Kook Jin Hyung.
When I realized that, I realized that God is doing something more divine; He’s not only giving me a tremendous brother and a friend, He is giving me a Divine friendship. He is giving me a friendship that is crossing the boundaries, allowing even my brother in the spirit world to find great purpose and mission in helping us work united, and working together. And I feel that so many times. I feel that because of the love and the life of Young Jin Hyung we are able to always have a deep sense of purpose when we work together. We have a great, deep sense of purpose and mission. We truly want to see the Unification movement succeed.
And there is no greater purpose, as Augustine spoke. True friends have the same purpose, and they are also connected in faith. And I really have found that again.
You know, brothers and sisters, in our own life, let us choose to trust in God. He prepares these kind of Divine friendships, if we keep our eyes opened. And we have to know that God always wants us to be the best. He wants us to be the greatest. He plans that for us.
Sometimes God can feel very big and vast, as if we can’t speak to Him. He is too busy with providential purposes, so that we can’t speak to Him. Brothers and sisters, during those times, you know who I lean on? I lean on my Abel Angel. I lean on the person that is right next to me, Young Jin Hyung, who is right there. I always talk to him. I ask him, “What can I do? Give me strength. Help me this week. Help my children, Young Jin Hyung. I know you are always there for me.”
Brothers and sisters, just always remember that God always prepares the people around us; not only in the physical world; but He also prepares friendships, Divine friendships, that are helping us from the spirit world. And we should take time, and we want to take time during service to acknowledge and recognize those friendships. There is no one who succeeds and is victorious without the help of others.
Brothers and sisters, if we can become these kind of friends for the glory and liberation of True Parents and acknowledge these kinds of friends who are around us, and the unseen friends who are around us as well, I do believe we will find ourselves with more victory, more illumination and more peace; and we will live that blessed life that God has blessed us to live, and be a great blessing to this world.
If you will receive it, let’s give it up for God and True Parents today.
Let’s gather our hearts and enter into our final meditation practice. Let us now enter into the Homeland meditation. Let’s close our eyes, and visualize, not this sanctuary, but let us visualize a beautiful meadow that we are walking upon. And slowly; take it slow, slowly, let’s walk slowly. Feel the soft grass supporting you. Feel each step. Each step is so precious. As we take a step, we see beautiful flowers bloom around our feet. As we look to our left, we will notice a beautiful stream that is meandering down. We can hear the sounds of that beautiful stream, we can hear God’s words of peace, and life, and change, and hope. As we look up to the sky, we can see the vast sky, limitless; we can hear the heart of God. We can hear His vastness and His limitless, abundant love for us.
As you look forward you can notice that True Parents are there, waiting for us. They are waiting for us to reach our destinies with them. Let us go before our True Parents and be seated before them. True Father with his right hand, True Mother with her left hand, places their hands atop our heads; and they anoint us, and they bless us.
They say to us, “May you inherit the true love of God,” and they bless us. Let us feel the power of that blessing move from the top of our head, through our entire body like a wave of energy, all the way to our feet. We can feel that blessing permeate our brain, our cells and our mind, our internal cells; all the cells of our body we can feel are being renewed.
If there are any cells in our mind, stressed, or tightened, or knotted with frustration; we see all that frustration melt away, as that wave of blessing passes right through us. Any sick cells in our body, any unhealthy cells, dark cells, receive total revival, brand new, new life.
We will notice, even in our spirit body, that our spirit body, if it had any dark regions, or places, that now, the entire spirit self is being illuminated in all directions, all directions. Completely healthy. As we receive this blessing, let us look up to True Parents smiling radiant, almost sun-like faces; and let us say to True Parents, “True Parents, I accept you as my True Parents, and I will inherit the true love of God.”
As we do that, let us breathe in deeply, in our hearts, let us say, “I am alive.” As we breathe out old life, in our heart, “Thank You.” As we breathe in new life, in our hearts let us say, “I am alive.” As we breathe out old life, in our hearts, let us say, “Thank You.” One more time, breathing in new life, “I am alive;” and as we breathe out old life, “Thank You.”
God and True Parents have blessed us to live the blessed life that is to inherit the true love of God; a love that is selfless, and can even bring the worst enemy to natural surrender; that kind of powerful love. When we inherit that, we will be greater blessings to our families, and our communities, and our society, our nation and our world. And we will truly bring joy to he who is always with us.
Brothers and sisters let us gather our hearts for our final prayer.
Heavenly Father, thank You so much for this day which You have blessed upon us. True Parents, we thank you for being with us today. Father, we pray that today we can renew ourselves in Your new life. We can renew ourselves in faith. Father, we can renew ourselves among brothers and sisters who believe, and are walking the path with us. Father, it is so hard to find friends that truly share Your purpose; to find friends who share faith, and belief and hope.
Brothers and sisters, we pray that we may be those kinds of friends for ourselves, and for all the people that we are connected with. Father, we know that we can never do things alone. We know that You have those wonderful Abel Angels that are with us, each and everyone of us. [We are] being protected and guided, being led in the right direction. We pray that You may bless those angels today. We pray that we may take time to remember those brothers and sisters today.
Thank You for these Divine friendships. Father, as we meet and nurture these friendships, we know that we will truly be able to substantialize and inherit Your true love, and be great blessings to this world. We thank You so much for this day, and we offer all the glory to You in our own names, as Central blessed families, as one.
Transcribed by: Kevin Brugman / Annie (Mary) Hapeman
Edited by: Rev. Bruno Klotz