Favor of the Lord

August 22, 2009, HQ Church, Seoul Korea

You see, now the Unification Movement is starting to remember our divine destiny. We are starting to remember that our name means “Favor,” “Hannah”. And we are starting to remember that our destiny is not to be persecuted, be put down and be stomped on the rest of our days. Our destiny is to begin an incredible new history. We are starting to remember that. We are starting to have wonderful people from the outside that are helping us to remember that, to be proud of who you are. You shall not be ashamed. Be proud of your tradition. You have a beautiful teaching, and thank God, we are finally rising up, finally rising up to remember that.

Welcoming Remarks

Yeon Ah Nim

Good Afternoon brothers and sisters! It’s really great to see you all. We believe that our Heavenly Father is always with us, blessing
and guiding us. Brothers and sisters, on this bright and sunny day let us worship and praise our Heavenly Lord and True Parents.
Welcome brothers and welcome sisters!

Hyung Jin Nim

Welcome brothers and sisters! Thank you, Father God, thank you. I always feel welcome when God is in the house. Let’s manifest the Principle, everybody, come on! Give and receive action, four position foundation lifted up; may I inherit the true love of God, Aju!

Let’s read from Cheon Seon Gyeong today, page 331. Father speaks. He says,

“God is the God of love. Saint Paul asks, ‘Who can cut off the line of God’s love within Christ?’ Even Christ would be nothing without God’s love. This is why we like God’s love more than anything else. God’s love is the source of life, the source of happiness, and
the source of peace.”

Brothers and sisters, when we understand that we truly have an incredible relationship with the God of love, we are called to follow
that true love. Later we’re going to talk about what exactly that means. When we’re called in that mission – in that calling – this is an
incredible privilege, to be able to inherit that true love, a love that comes from a parental heart. So, brothers and sisters, in the service we want to be able to return that incredible grace and love back to True Parents. We want to return that incredible joy and peace that we receive. We want to return that back, so that God can feel that joy resounding in His own Heart. That’s why we come together to worship. We come together to give glory.

We want to know God. And, when we do that, we become empowered in our life. We become strong. We start getting the power of
God, the resurrection power of God. We start getting that inside of us. And then somehow fear and the future worries are not so daunting anymore. When we inherit that incredible power, then the fears that we had, even the fears of failure or the fear of death, is no longer scaring us. We ride and move with courage in the victory of true love. Brothers and sisters, that’s the kind of atmosphere, that’s the kind of heart, we want to have in Sunday Service today.

We want to invite you to pray with the Two Rivers Choir today. They practice all week and pray all week, so that they can come here and really give joy to God. We want to invite you to sing together with us. We want to pray and meditate together with them and really offer our hearts. If we do that, we’re going to bring joy to God. If you believe it, let’s give it up for God today! Okay, everyone, let’s rise up. Let’s do the Family Pledge. (Meditation and Prayer)

Interesting Story:

Brothers and sisters, you know we always start with something a little bit interesting. I heard a little story:

It was Sunday school, and all the kids were there, and the school teacher said, “We’re going to have a fun activity today. We’re going to draw pictures and scenes from the Bible. We’re going to do that, children.” The kids all said, “Okay, okay,” and they began to draw.

So the kids were drawing Noah and Moses, and all of that. The teacher was walking around, and she noticed that this one boy, Tommy, was drawing quite an interesting picture. He drew a picture of an old car with an old man driving it, with people in the back.

The Sunday school teacher said, “Tommy, honey, we’re drawing pictures of the Bible today,” and Tommy said, “I know that.” She said, “You’re drawing a picture of a car, honey. They didn’t have a car in the Bible time.” Tommy said, “Well, I’m drawing the picture of God driving Adam and Eve out of the Garden.” [Laughter]

Main Sermon:

We started a new thing last week, so help me here. I’m trying a thing here where I am walking around on the stage. So last week I did the walking around, but I got the feedback of “too much walking around.” So I’m going to try doing only a little walking while I’m giving the sermon. If I hover around here too much, shout at me to get away from the podium and walk around. Okay? Give me some help.

I want to talk to you about the “Favor of the Lord” today. Let’s look at some scriptures. We’ll start with Judaism and Christianity, Psalm 23:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever.” That is
the favor of the Lord.

Let’s look at Islam today. This is the Koran: 4:28:

“God desires to lighten things for you, for man was created a weakling. God desires to help us, because we can’t do it with our own
strength. God is to help us.”

Let’s look at Hinduism today. Srimad Bhagavatam 11:2:

“We who live in the world, still attached to karmas, can overcome the world by Thy grace alone.”

And let’s read from True Parents today. This is our Unification Tradition:

“As the year consists of four seasons, in your life there is a spring-like period in which you receive the blessing. And there is a summer-like season in which the blessing grows, an autumn-like season in which you bear the fruit of the blessing, and then a winter-like period of trial. Then be grateful for trials, they come from the love of True Parents and God, and they separate us from Satan. If you
endure and overcome them, a spring-like period of new blessing will follow.”

A spring-like period of new blessing will follow… can everybody say Aju? “Aju!” Thank you.

We’re not sleeping today! [laughter].

Alright, I want to tell you about a wonderful story. This is from I. Book of Samuel in the Bible. This is the story of Hannah. She is a woman of God; she is an incredible woman. She had great faith life and was an incredible prophet. She is married to a man named Eikanah. He is a very successful man, and he is also very faithful, they are always going to the holy land at Shiloh. Before God chose Jerusalem as the Holy Land, God chose Shiloh as the Holy Land. This is where the offerings were given by the Israelites. This is the place where the Judges and the Israel government were, at Shiloh. This is the place where Eikanah and Hannah would offer their prayers, their devotion and their sacrifices to the Lord and give worship and praise to the Lord.

Hannah was an incredible woman; she was a woman of destiny. The name Hannah means “favor” – “favor of the Lord, grace of the Lord.” It is an incredible name, meaning “she who is favored by God.” It is an incredible name. But she had one problem in life; she had a big problem actually. You see, God named her “Favor”. He gave her a destiny, but she wasn’t seeing it happening.

You see, she was married to Eikanah, a very successful man, very faithful man. They needed to have many children. They needed
children. Her husband loved Hannah so much, but they couldn’t have children. So he was heart-broken all the time, and Hannah was heart-broken all the time, because she knew her name meant Favor, and she knew that she was supposed to be the incredible fruit of God; and from her would come people who would change the course of history and move the nations and world.

So she had this one problem. She also had another problem. See at that time, Eikanah wanted children with her so much, but he couldn’t have children; so he took on another wife. At that time they did that. From True Parents’ view that is not good, not good behavior. But he had another wife, and her name is Peninnah; Peninnah means Pearl, a precious stone, or a precious jewel. It means something of value; and Peninnah is blessed. She is young, and she is more beautiful than Hannah, and she has tons of kids. So Hannah is in pain. She is heart-broken, because Peninnah is not really a nice lady. She is very valuable, and the world thinks, “You are blessed, Peninnah, you’ve got everything going for you. You are married to a wonderful husband, and you have wonderful children, and God’s favor is upon you.” But actually this should have been Hannah’s destiny.

Also, Peninnah would do something else. She would persecute Hannah. She would say to Hannah, “You’re worthless. I’m the one who’s valuable. Look at me. I got the blessing. You didn’t get the blessing. You’re barren; you’re fruitless. You don’t have favor in your life. You’d better give up on your name, Honey, and call yourself Ahanna—Not Favored.” See, she was totally persecuting Hannah, this woman of God, this Prophet; and Hannah was heart-broken.

One time Hannah and her family were offering up the sacrifices at Shiloh, and they finished all the ceremonies. Hannah just began to weep, because for years she had been persecuted by this woman, Peninnah, and she feels like less than human. She feels she has no value and that she can’t bear God’s fruit, and so she began to cry. She is weeping and weeping; and she becomes so desperate in
her heart. It’s a situation that I call Divine Desperation. She becomes desperate, and all she can do is pray. She feels so discouraged and devalued and displaced; all she can do is reach out and ask, “God please help me.”

She is in this incredible situation in her heart. So she is there, and she is walking around the temple where the sacrifices were made. Eikanah is there. He is waiting, and he sees her, and he says, “Hannah, what are you doing? Hannah, you look like you have been drinking too much. You are walking around like a crazy woman. You’ve been drinking, haven’t you?” He says, “Get rid of your wine.”

In verse 14 Hannah says to him, “I haven’t been drinking, and I didn’t come here to talk to you either. I am here, not to talk to YOU;
I am here to pray to God.” She was at the point that she prayed so desperately; and she prayed so much, she couldn’t even pray any more. It says that her lips were just moving. She couldn’t utter another sound out of her heart. She had been praying all night and just moving her heart. Here she is in this predicament.

You see, that story says that God deliberately closed her womb. She was adored by her husband, and she was always given a double portion. Eikanah always blessed her twice, because he loved her more and more. He would give Peninnah all the wonderful sacrifices, but he always blessed Hannah two times more, because in his heart he really loved her; and he really wanted her to be glorified, and to show the world that she was the one with the favor of God. So he was also heart-broken.

Here we’re in a situation where there are these people, and all their hearts are broken. Hannah is there; her heart is broken because she
can’t fulfill her own destiny. And Eikanah: his heart is broken because the woman whom he really loves is totally saddened and
heart-broken. Peninnah’s also heart-broken because she really wants what Hannah has. That’s why she persecutes Hannah: she is jealous of Hannah. Even though she has all the blessings, and even though her name means Pearl, and even though she has value in the eyes of men, she does not have one thing: the love which she so desires. And so, she is heart-broken as well.

Hannah is there, she is praying to God and saying, “God, if You give me a son, if You give me a child, I just want to see that baby for one second. If you let me kiss his cheek for one second, one time, I will offer him back to You. I will not keep him for myself.”

In your life have you ever been so desperate that you would ask, “Oh my God, if I could just have that for one second!”? Or, “If I could stop that persecutor from persecuting me for just one day, I would be so happy.” She became so desperate that she asked to just have this for one second. She said, “I will be happy. I will be fulfilled in my heart.”

You see, when I heard this story, when I read this story, it reminds me of our own movement. It reminded me of where the Unification
Movement is right now. We look out into the world and we see that Christianity is growing, that other religions are growing. We see they have the favor of God, they are being blessed, and they are spreading across the world. They have favor, they have value, they are
precious. They are growing, converting thousands and millions across the world.

Here we are: we haven’t been able to witness in 30 years, our church has not grown. But in our hearts we know that we are supposed to be the one with the favor. We know in our hearts, just as Hannah knew that she had favor upon her. And when I saw this story it reminded me of how we are. “What is wrong with us?” we may ask. “How come we can’t do it? How come we can’t move the nations, how come we can’t move the world as was prophesized? How come we can’t really make a big difference? Why aren’t people joining our community? Why aren’t people becoming Unificationists? We’re not growing. We are barren like Hannah.”

This was the heart that Hannah felt. But, you see, Hannah had to do something. You see, she got to a point where she was so desperate. She got to a point where it was life or death for her. It’s as if you were flying over from the States, and the plane begins to go right down into the ocean. Immediately everyone on that plane will get desperate and start praying like crazy, “Oh, Holy God, save me, save me, God.”

There was this incredible desperation that Hannah felt, just as if the plane was going down, and this was her last chance. She had been
persecuted so long, and she is sick and beaten down, and totally tired of all that. And so she realizes, “My God, I can’t do this alone. I
can’t do this on my own strength. Even Eikanah my husband who has a lot of resources, he can’t do this for me. My other friends, my
family, they can’t do this for me, only God can do this for me. Only God can make this miracle.” And so she began to pray. She didn’t begin to pray quietly, just meditatively. She was weeping. She was weeping and as she prayed she was collapsing.

Business men in the congregation! When you are encountering a terrible season, when you are bankrupt, when everything is going down and you feel, “My God, nothing but the miracle from God can save this,” then you get desperate and you start praying. This is where Hannah was. She was in this incredible situation in life, and she wasn’t just talking a prayer, she was weeping so much she couldn’t even talk anymore.

Well, I really felt in my own life that I got to this point, too. You know, for ten years I studied the world religions, lived in
communities, trained in monasteries, studied other religions, and did two years ministry work as a Unification minister. Yet I had some problem in my heart. Something was unsatisfied in my heart, because I knew the Unification Movement has been great, something amazing, that would change the course of the world history. But I couldn’t find or I couldn’t hear what that was. We talked about true love and we talked about all sorts of things; but I didn’t even know what that was. I got to a point where I was struggling so greatly.

I looked at Christianity, I looked at theology and I thought, “God, they are talking about an incredible type of love, about Agape – about Christ sacrificing his life for the sake of the world’s sin, so that the children can go into Heaven, so that those who repent can live.” This is what Christianity says. It is such an amazing love that they are talking about. Also they talk about the compassion of the Buddha for all sentient beings. There are incredible types of compassion and love in those traditions. I look around; and we talk about how great our true love is, and about how we are supposed to center everything on true love, but I couldn’t FEEL what that true love was. I could HEAR what it was: living for the sake of others, it was the love that could subjugate Satan. I could hear the definitions, but I couldn’t
feel it in my heart. I couldn’t feel what kind of heart this would be. I didn’t know how to inherit it, and I was struggling theologically.

I was trained as a theologian; I was struggling so much. We make the claim that we are supposed to be the parent to all
mankind, to all the religions, to all the nations, but why can’t we see that in our teaching? Why can’t we see that in what we teach about
true love? Is true love really better than the incredible love of Christ? Then in John 15:13 we see, “Greater love has no man than this,
that he lays down his life for his friends.” We see an incredible type of love. And what WE are talking about? True love. Is that really
greater, or is it similar? Is it the same?

This was a huge problem for me, a big struggle; a desperation. I reached my limit. I tried my best to understand; I tried my best to
encourage the members; I tried my best to do ministry, but I felt desperate. I felt it with all of my studies. With all of my efforts I
still couldn’t answer this question. And that is when I began to pray. I started praying about how I could get this enlightenment. I started
praying like I was desperate. And that is when True Father said, “That boy is now realizing his limitations.” That is when he showed me, that is when spiritually I saw. That’s when I saw the seven deaths and resurrections. That’s when I realized that True Parents in the flesh
went into the prisons: under the Japanese, under the North Koreans, under the South Korean regime. While they were in the prisons they were tortured and beaten. We know that; historically we know that. You look at Father’s body, and he’s covered with scars.

But we don’t realize with our spiritual eyes what happened. Just like with Christians when they look at Christ, in order to truly understand Christ’s love, you must open your spiritual eyes, just as the Apostle’s Creed says. You have to see Christ and what he has done for you to truly understand the love of God. And I realized that that’s what we were not doing. We were not doing that! We are looking at Father’s love in the flesh, we were looking at it through the historical lens that he was tortured to overcome Communism, etc., but we didn’t realize (that it was) like with Christ on the cross. After Christ was hung on the cross, he descended to hell in order to liberate the souls there.

That day I realized that what I saw in that dream was that True Father in the torture cells was being tortured in the physical, but
also in the spiritual. He was going down into the hells. And he was going down, not as a friend, but as a parent. He was going down to
take the place of the children who were being tortured. And he threw his soul into the arms of those torturers. And he said, “Let these
children go.” And I realized that day that he didn’t even do that once, but he did that for me seven times. He died and died, again and
again, and continued to give true love. And then I realized, “My God, this is why the Unification Church is the parent.” I realized on that
day what we are talking about. I realized true love.

It is a love that is so great, that it is even greater than the love of Christ. It comes from a parental heart that is so profound that for the sake of the children – that they might see a better day in the land of hope
and peace – they would lay down their flesh and their spirit, so that somebody like me could go into that land, that somebody like my
children could go into that land. I realized that True Father did that seven times. For the Individual, Family, Clan, Nation, World, Cosmos (even the Spirit World is included there); for the sins of all those levels. So people could go straight into the hand of God. And I realized, “My God, that’s what we are talking about when we are talking about true love. That’s what we are talking about when we are talking about a parental heart.” A parental heart will die for the children, will take the place in the executioner’s chair, not just once, but over and over again, even though that child should be there. I realized, “My God, this is the type of love that we are talking about when we talk about true love.”

I got so desperate trying to see why and how we were going to move the world with our notion of love, with the common notions to live for the sake of others, to subjugate Satan. I just could not feel what kind of love that was. But when Father showed me that day in that dream, then I could start feeling what kind of heart the parental heart was. I could start feeling the kind of amazing love the parental heart was. Jesus was supposed to inherit this as the second Adam, but he wasn’t a parent, and so he couldn’t inherit this. I realized, “My God, Jesus’ love changed the last 2,000 years of history! Now, once we realize what True Parents’ love is, what true love is, I believe that the Unification Movement will now change the course of history.

Let’s give it up. [clapping]

You see, I didn’t know what true love was. I heard about it. I read about it, but I didn’t know. I couldn’t feel in my heart what it was.
And Father, that day, he really allowed me to open my spiritual eyes. You see, Peninnah is married to Eikanah, and so is Hannah. Eikanah is Hannah’s destiny. Eikanah is her blessing; but her blessing is married to her persecutor. Oh, my God. He is married to the persecutor!

We want to look at our lives. Did you know that in your life you have a great destiny that God has given you, but that is also married to some persecutors? Did you know that when you are about to go into an incredible realm of God’s favor and blessings, there is always some persecutors married to that?

Even in my own life, I didn’t get into Harvard because everyone told me I was smart. It was just the opposite. Everyone told me I was
“mentally ungifted.” I had a low intelligence score. I didn’t get into Harvard because people were telling me that I was fantastic and I was brilliant, a genius. Instead I was persecuted. “You got the low end of the gene pole, boy. You’re not that smart. You’d better give up on that.” But I realized it’s because of that I began to work harder, began to try harder. Young Jin Nim, my brother, just gave me a little bit of encouragement, and that went a long way (that helped me a lot). I wanted to show that I am not totally intellectually handicapped. I have a brain and I wanted to show it. The blessing was tied to a persecutor. And if you had great success in your life and many blessings, you know that it was always tied to someone speaking badly of you.

At the office place when you are being promoted, there are a couple of people that are not so happy. You know that you can’t let
that effect you. You have to keep pressing through and doing what is in your potential. Because the victory is married to the persecutor (Peninnah is married to Eikanah). You see, even in our own UC community, we went through an incredible indemnity period. My goodness – incredible indemnity period! We were beaten down. We were persecuted, so strongly we were totally beaten down. Big religions coming out of the woodwork and attacking us, [saying] “heretics, heresy, you’re a cult, not a religion, you’re a cult.” Attacking us and beating us down. “You Moonies are crazy. Moonies are the way of the devil.” We heard that stuff. You guys heard it when you
were out on the streets. We were persecuted heavily. But did you know that persecution was tied to the blessing? Did you know that that persecution, that indemnity was tied to our real destiny? Just like Peninnah was married to Eikanah.

You see, the enemy wants to persecute us. Peninnah wanted to persecute Hannah. She knew in her heart of hearts that Hannah had what she (Penninnah) wanted. She wanted the love that she so desired. She wanted it more than anything, and so it made her fanatic.She wanted not Hannah but herself to be the one with value.

You see, the Unification Movement during that indemnity period was really beaten down, we were collapsing, we were being torn apart; we were losing our purpose and value. We were losing our sense of faith in the future, and in our prophesy; we were losing hope. We could just look around the church and in 30 years no growth. [We were] losing membership, people betraying us and making us fail. We saw those kinds of histories and we got so beaten down. We started not even believing in ourselves anymore.

Just this week I met a nice Buddhist lady that I know, and she got angry at me. She started yelling at me. She said, “You’re the
International President, why don’t you educate your members? What are you doing?” She said she met a person who was married to a Japanese spouse, and she said to her, “Oh, you must be a Unificationist,” because she knows about our families. The person was like, “…ahhhhhhh…” just trying to avoid it. And she said, “You are a Unificationist, aren’t you?” And the person said, “ ahhhhhhhhhhh…” Again, “You are a Unificationist, aren’t you?” She asked that four times, four times until the person finally said, “Yes, I am.” And she said, “What’s wrong with you?” She gave a sermon to that person. She is a Buddhist lady and she gave a sermon to that person. She said, “What is wrong with you? Be proud of your religion. What is wrong with you?” She was yelling at me saying this. She said, “What is wrong with you? If you are spiritual being then your identity with that community is your central identity; why are you ashamed of it? So what (is the problem) if there are bad people in the Unification Movement? There are bad people in Buddhism. There are bad people in Christianity. So what!! There are great people in your movement; I’ve seen them and their families. What are you ashamed of?”

She is saying this to me! She is saying: “You are not educating them (your people) correctly.” I was embarrassed and I was shocked, and I was so grateful. I was so grateful to her. The Buddhist lady said to me, “Don’t be ashamed of who you are. What is wrong with you? Be proud of who you are. What is wrong with you? Tell your members to be proud of who they are. You have a heart that wants to embrace the world. Be proud of who you are.” She was saying this to me!

Then I met an actor who was helping us with the autobiography, and he was going to the church and talking to members. He got upset at us, too. He got upset and said, “What is wrong with you people? I go into your church and you don’t even have [a sign that reads]
Unification Church, you’ve got “Family Cultural Center”! You are deceiving the people!” He said, “What is wrong with you? Stop telling people that you are something that you are not. Be proud of who you are. You have a beautiful name, Tong Il – it means Unification. It means you are going to unite North and South Korea, and East and West. You’re going to unite the religions, unite the nations. What a beautiful name. Be proud of it.” He said, “Be proud of who you are.”

People used to come to Seoul station and pass by our central administration building, and they didn’t know what that was. Recently
Father told us to put “Unification Church” right up in the front, to put our Principle sign up in the front. And so we did that. We put
Tong Il right up on the front in huge letters, huge letters. [clapping]. It says “Unificationism”. We are hiding no longer. People are saying, “There was a Unification building right here? This was a Unification building?”

You see, now the Unification Movement is starting to remember our divine destiny. We are starting to remember that our name means “Favor,” “Hannah”. And we are starting to remember that our destiny is not to be persecuted, be put down and be stomped on the rest of our days. Our destiny is to begin an incredible new history. We are starting to remember that. We are starting to have wonderful people from the outside that are helping us to remember that, to be proud of who you are. You shall not be ashamed. Be proud of your tradition. You have a beautiful teaching, and thank God, we are finally rising up, finally rising up to remember that.

You see, the story of Hanna has an incredible ending, because Hannah prays out in desperation, and she gives this up to God (puts it into God’s hands). And guess what? God answers her prayer. He gives her three boys and two daughters. Oh my goodness, only a miracle could do this! The first son is named Samuel, whose name means “called
by God.” And guess who Samuel is. Samuel is the man who becomes the high priest of Israel. He is the priest who ordains and who blesses the first Kings of Israel. This is the man who blesses King Saul and King David. He is the man who blesses the new history of Israel. He is the one who opens up that blessing spiritually.

I believe that the Unification Movement is about to move into our destiny, and that we are starting to believe that we can do it. We can be proud of ourselves. We can move the world, and we can have the favor of God. We can start praying like we’ve never prayed before. Oh my goodness, if you were here last Sunday at service, we were praying in this church like we’ve never prayed before, weeping and wailing. But we were all so happy, because, my God, we are not going down; we are not going to go down.

There are so many prophecies that said that we are going to go down, that the Unification Movement is over. The people who persecuted us said that. But now they are seeing a new day. They are seeing a new day where Unificationists are standing up and
believing and putting up that banner that says “I am proud of who I am,” putting up that sign even higher. We are here to fulfill an incredible destiny. We are here to change this world, and we are here to make a new history. I believe that because of the new prayer that is coming into our church – just as in Hanna’s life God could come in and change history through her son – so because of that kind of prayer the Unification Church is now going to change history. If you believe it, let’s give it up for God and True Parents. [clapping].

This is the favor of God. Let’s bow our heads.

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