July 24, 2010
The following is Rev. Hyung Jin Moon’s Keynote Address given at the International Leadership Conference held in New York City on the morning of July 24th, 2010. It was then shown to the nation via live broadcast during the Lovin’ Life Ministries service held on August 8, 2010.
Good morning, brothers and sisters. It is morning here, right? I was just in Korea.
I always like to start by explaining the Unification symbol. When we see the cross, we are reminded of the failure of humanity to accept Jesus, and we can be reminded of the pain of God’s heart. When we see the Unification Church symbol, we can see the hope of joy, the hope of God before all of creation. In this symbol the circle represents what we call give and receive action. All things in the universe must give and receive as they are in relation with one another.
The square in the middle represents the Four Position Foundation, or God’s original ideal of family—it has the parent, the child, and all centered on God. The center of that symbol is God’s essence, and that essence is true love. When we begin, we always like to draw the symbol with our hands. I want to ask you all to join me in drawing the symbol with our hands. We’re going to first draw the circle, that is, give and receive action, then the Four Position Foundation, and then receiving or inheriting the true love of God. Aju. Give yourselves a warm round of applause.
As you all know, whenever we pray, we end with the word Aju. It’s important to understand the meaning of Aju. It is from Chinese characters. The character for Ah is for me, myself, or my. It can also be possessive, mine. Then Ju is the character for lord or owner. So every time Unificationists pray and say, “Amen, Aju,” what we’re saying in Aju is that we’re praising God, saying, “My Lord.” It’s very important to understand how we end our prayers and how we can understand what Father Moon has guided us to report to heaven.
Today I’m so grateful to be able to come from Korea and to meet all of our guests. I understand that many of you are in the workshop now, listening to the core theology, the Original Divine Principle, which is really one of the most successful sacred texts in all of the world’s religious history. When I was a student in divinity school, I quickly realized in studying religion that whether or not I accepted or liked it at the time, what Father Moon has done in his lifetime has never been done by any religious leader in all of history: No religious leader has been able in the course of his or her lifetime to be able to create a world level foundation. There is no religious example that you can find, either in ancient or in modern religious movements.
Jesus had a very short ministry; we know that he was crucified. We know that the Buddha lived until 80, but again because of the constraints of the time, Buddhism did not expand to the millions across the world. We also know that the Prophet Muhammad, after subduing Mecca and Medina, evangelized a great many people. Again, because of the time constraints of the age, he was not able to move to the world level in his lifetime. It is also the same with new religious movements, whether it be Mormonism, whose founder, Joseph Smith, was killed in prison in 1844 or the Baha’i tradition, which is a new religious movement whose founder, Bahá’u’lláh, passed away in prison in 1892.
So when we look at it objectively, there is no religious leader who in the course of his or her lifetime has made this kind of world-level foundation. If that is not evidence of God’s blessing or the centrality of Reverend Moon’s mission, then I don’t know what is. Let’s give it up for Father and Mother Moon because this is absolutely incredible.
What I feel is very important as we prepare our hearts and minds for the afternoon event is to get back to the root of where Father and Mother Moon began and how they have grounded themselves throughout their entire lifetime. As you know, at the age of 15 on a mountain near his home in Jeong-ju, True Father received a revelation from Jesus to fulfill the mission of Christ that was left undone. And he then walked the path of restoring humanity back to God. From that time on, he walked an extremely thorny path.
In John 15:13, Jesus talks about the greatest type of love that can exist. He says there is no greater love than this—than he who lays his life down for his friends. This is the sacrificial, agape love that has shaped the past 2,000 years of history and even the modern democratic world. This is the great sacrificial love that Jesus taught, and he defined it as the love that can sacrifice itself for a friend. There is no greater love than that.
When we look at True Father’s life, we see this love exemplified; we see this love lived. We see that he’s been in prison, and he’s been tortured. From the early disciples we have accounts that he was thrown out into the snow, physically frozen and dead. The early disciples actually saw him resuscitate back into life. They saw these miracles happening.
When we see True Parents, we see that they have lived with a parental heart, which is not just laying your life down once but continually giving your life again and again for the sake of the world’s children, sacrificing again. If you’re a parent, you can understand this heart. This is true love. When we as Unificationists talk about true love—and many of you have heard those words—we are talking about this type of true love, which derives from the essence of God: He’s a parent who is willing to sacrifice himself continuously, even going the path of death to save his children.
That also is the essence from which True Parents’ lives stem. That is how True Father has created and continued to work in substantiating God’s ideal through his life of spiritual practice, his life of devotion, his life of prayer and meditation. From that inner life stems the motivation for action and will, resulting in all the things he has done across the world in all the different arenas he has touched during the course of his lifetime.
I think it’s very important to remember that when we pray, we may not reflect on how we are praying. We may say to God, “God, why aren’t you answering my prayers? I’m praying to you, I’m honest with you, I am worshipping you. God, why aren’t you answering my prayers?”
But if we look at the message of Jesus, he talks about how we should pray. Christ teaches us in Matthew 6 and in Luke that we must pray in a certain way. We are called to do not just the petitionary prayers, the requests—“Give me this, bless me, help me, heal me, protect me.” Christ asks us to do something greater.
Remember the chapter in which Jesus refers to unbelievers who speak in the synagogues and pray before the eyes of men in order to attract attention and get respect. Recall in that chapter that he reminds us to go into our room and shut the door: “Do not pray before the eyes of people, for it is God to whom you talk, who is unseen.” He also reminds us that God knows already what we want and what we need. We don’t have to tell him, “God, protect me, heal me” all the time. He knows what we need.
Jesus then goes on to pray that powerful prayer, the Lord’s Prayer. I want to just meditate on this prayer a little bit with you all this morning because I think it’s an absolutely beautiful and exemplary way that Jesus Christ calls us to pray. Please recite it with me. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen and Aju.”
What I want to suggest to you today is that what Christ is doing here is not simply telling you to memorize and recite this prayer. Of course, that type of meditation is a very powerful form of understanding the insights in this prayer. But what I want to suggest to you today is that Christ is actually teaching you the method in which to pray. He describes it differently in Luke, so we know he’s really talking about the method in which we should pray.
Notice that when we usually pray, if we look at our prayer life, it is “God, today I have a big meeting. I need you to be with me.” “God, I’m about to speak before 100 people, 1,000 people. God, I need you to give me strength today.” “God, bless me on this plane trip so it doesn’t go down.” You will notice that we pray in this way in our normal life. “God, please do something for that child.” You know how it is if you’re a parent. We will end up praying in this way.
But Jesus is reminding us that we must first remember who we are praying to and what kind of relationship we are in. We come before God not on our terms. We come before the Almighty on his terms. So when Jesus calls us to pray, he says, “This is how you should pray. The first thing you should say is, ‘My father in heaven, hallowed by thy name.’” What does that mean? That means to praise God first. It means to raise and lift up his name, the Holy of Holies, the great almighty, the provider, the comforter. Lift up the name of God first.
Remember when you pray to start by praising God’s greatness. He is great; he is the creator of the universe; he has created the sun, the stars, the moon, the mountains and the oceans, and the fish in the sea. Remember that God is greater than anything. Just recently I flew from Seoul in Korea down to Pusan, which is at the tip of Korea. In Korea we have a monsoon season, so we have some heavy rain. Bad rain. Nothing like New York rain. This is heavy monsoon rain.
I remember descending to Pusan. We had to go through a huge lightning cloud. And if you’ve ever been on a plane when you have to go through a big lightning cloud, you know that there is some praying going on in that plane. Somebody is praying on that plane. When we started shaking—and I mean we were going up and down between heaven and earth, and everybody’s stomachs were all over—in that environment we were scared. People were screaming. We could hear people say, “Oh, my God!” especially when the plane plunged like a roller coaster, trying to hold everything down.
Immediately I could see myself praying, “Oh, God, protect us this day. God, let me arrive safely. I’m going there for you. God, get me down.” If we’re reflective in our prayer life, we’ll notice that we actually pray like this quite often.
But I realized when I was unwittingly speaking those words in my mind’s heart that I was filled with fear and with dread: “This thing is going to go down. There’s lightning all around us. We’re in a flying tin can.” Twenty thousand feet up, I could immediately feel so much fear.
But I remembered, “Wait a minute. Last week I gave a sermon on prayer. I should be praying the way I preached it.” So I changed my prayer heart, my meditative heart. I said, “God, you are great. God, you are almighty. You created the sun and the moon and the sky. You created all of the mountains and oceans and fish in the sea. You created the universe and cosmos in all their glory. God, this little lightning storm is nothing for you.”
When I started lifting up God’s name, as Christ calls us to do, when I remembered, “Hallowed be thy name,” not my name or my works, immediately all the fear just melted away and I was filled with joy, gratitude, and thanksgiving. As it says in Scripture, “When you enter into God’s presence, come in with praise and thanksgiving”: “God, I am grateful to be on this plane. I know it’s going up and down, but you created everything. You are great. You are our provider. You are our comfort. You are there through thick and thin. God, you are merciful.”
When I meditated on such things, then immediately the whole nature of my prayer, the relationship in which the prayer was being given, began to change. When we pray and then ask Christ, “Why don’t you answer my prayers?” Jesus reminds us in the first line of the Lord’s Prayer, “Well, are you praying the right way? Are you praying in the relationship that God has set up, or are you praying on your terms?”
Christ goes on to remind us in the second line, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” He reminds us that many times we focus on “My will be done, my kingdom come. God, help me with my business; help me with my kids; help me with my school; help me with my test. God, my kingdom, my will. Help me with my will so I can live my life.”
What Christ is asking us to do is to first remember the greatest of the great. Remember the hallowed name of God. Then secondly, remember it is “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done,” before your kingdom and your will be done. I want to suggest to you that when you pray like this, you have a totally different experience in prayer. You no longer are trying to set up the type of relationship that many call the cosmic vending machine: “God, give me what I want. I put the coin in; I kicked it a couple of times. Why don’t I have my items?” That is not the relationship that God set up in the beginning. That is not what we understand from True Parents.
Always remember: “God, before my will and my kingdom, let thy kingdom come, let thy will be done. In my business, in my workplace, or in my life in my family, let it be for thee, thy kingdom, and thy will.” When we start praying like this, our relationship begins to change.
Jesus then goes on to say, “Give us today our daily bread.” “Then,” he says, “you can ask for the things that you need during the day.” But Jesus has already reminded us that God knows what we need. What he’s saying is, don’t spend all day there. God already knows what we need.
He then goes on to say, “Ask for forgiveness each day.” Every time we pray, let’s ask for forgiveness; each day we commit sin. Even from a Principle perspective, we know there are different types of sin: original, inherited, communal, and individual sin. We commit those all the time. And remember that before God we are imperfect; remember also that we must not only ask for forgiveness but also forgive others in our lives. We are to work to resemble God’s nature.
Then in the last phrase Jesus reminds us, “Deliver us from evil. God, direct my life and direct my pathway so it does not go toward evil. Let it be for the salvific work, your work of deliverance. Let my life be for thee.” When we pray like this, I want to suggest, our relationship in prayer will completely change.
I believe that True Father has always prayed like this. In fact, when we look at True Father’s words on prayer—and he has extensive meditations and speeches on prayer—he agrees with Christ that we must praise God first. At the same time, he says that we must console the heart of God: Praise God and also console him in his pain for the different failures of human history. True Father also agrees with Christ that we must always pray for God’s providence, his will, and his kingdom.
Then for the third step, Father says, “But before you pray for yourself, you should always pray for the world. Pray for your nation. Pray for your society, your tribe, and families first. Then pray for your children and your spouse, and pray for yourself at the end.”
I want to suggest that this is an absolutely revolutionary way to pray. People may say, “If you pray all those things, you can’t say short prayers. How long does my prayer have to be?” Christ answered that question in Matthew 6. He says, “Don’t go babbling on like the unbelievers.” It’s not the length of our prayer that moves the heart of God. Neither is it the poetic quality of the prayer. It is the quality of the heart, the heartistic nature that moves the heart of God, that resonates with the Almighty’s heart.
In different times of our life, we have to focus on different elements of that prayer. In times of crisis, for example in North and South Korea, we have focused primarily on praying for the nation because there is conflict and tension. In other parts of the world we may have to focus our prayer on that particular area. At other times we may have to pray for the world if there is some kind of worldwide crisis.
But True Parents remind us that it is the pattern of humility before the heart of God in prayer that gets God’s attention and allows God to do great things in our life. I want to remind you all that the works done by Father and Mother Moon spring from this type of spiritual foundation. It is from the spiritual relationship they have with God that they have been guided to work in social activities, in politics, in business, in sports, in cultural festivals, and so forth. All of that stems from the messianic mission they hold, from the relationship they have with God, their life of deep contemplation, prayer, and meditation. That heart, I want to suggest, is what we have to have, what we should hold as we approach the 2:00 Plenary Session today.
Brothers and sisters, it is always important to examine ourselves as to how we are doing the most fundamental things in our daily life. The most fundamental thing in our life of faith is prayer, so we need then to always be able to reflect on how we are praying. I believe that if we do truly pray to God in a way that is fitting in that relationship, if we can see and pray with the heart of God for the nation, world, and so forth, if we can see from God’s viewpoint, as we have heard about in the Divine Principle, then I believe that God can do miracles—not because he’s showing off his power but because it comes naturally from the father who sees the children and knows what brings joy to them.
So brothers and sisters, today I’d like to suggest that when we pray we come back to this type of prayer, come back to center our hearts and minds, and prepare ourselves in that way for the Opening Plenary. Please join me in prayer.
Heavenly Father, you are wonderful, and you are great. Father, you created the heavens and the earth, the entire cosmos, all of space and time. Father, you are the masterful artist of all that we can know. Today we want to bring glory to your name. We want to lift up your name on high, for that is what you deserve.
Father, we also want to remember that in our lives we may not meditate on only my will or my kingdom but that we always must put first your kingdom and your will. When we do that, we know that you will work in a powerful way through each and every one of our lives. As True Parents have always guided us and lived their lives, we want to pray for the world. We want to pray for the children whom you have lost, that they may return to you.
Dear God, we want to pray for the nations that are in strife and conflict. We want to always extend our heart of compassion in greater ways and at greater levels, Father. We want to always be able to meditate and expand our heartistic boundary to become as boundless as your heart.
We also want to pray for the great societies and nations of which we are a part. We pray for all the families there, that you may center them, bring blessing upon them, and draw them close to you with your love and compassion.
We pray also that you may use us in mighty ways, as we recognize that you have given each one of us qualities that resemble you. You have bestowed upon us as your individual truth incarnations greatness that resembles your greatness. Father, let this not be a temptation into arrogance, but let it always be a call toward our humility before you.
Our Heavenly Parent, let us always remember that we are imperfect beings, that we live through this life also in need of forgiveness. We ask your forgiveness this day, and we also pray that in our lives we may forgive those who have hurt us, that we may resemble your divine nature in that realm.
Father, we pray that you may lead us not into the various temptations of this world but that you may always deliver us. Bring us toward your salvific light. Bring us into your glorious presence. Let our life be a testament to your glory. And, Father, although we may not walk around in shining, glowing robes in our daily lives, let thy light shine.
We pray in gratitude and in thanksgiving. We offer all these things as we now wait for the next few hours in prayer and meditation, and also in sharing a feast. We pray that we may prepare ourselves for meeting once again the True Parents of Heaven and Earth this afternoon. Father, open our hearts and prepare our heartistic resonance so that we can communicate and feel your presence with us today.
We thank you so much, dear God. Once again, we pray all these things in the grateful hearts of all the central blessed families, all the saints and sages, all the great prophets of the past, and in our own names we report this before you and True Parents of Heaven and Earth. Amen and Aju.