Headquarters Church, Main Sanctuary
August 4, 2010
This was Hyung Jin Nim’s third public address to members on his World Tour (first in Nepal, second in Thailand). It lasted about 1.5 hours and was by far the sermon that seemed to connect all the dots. While addressing the difficult issues he and we all struggle with, he did so with the power of simple logic rooted in the heart of love for God and his Father. At times, it was as if heaven opened and we were brought into a new and higher understanding of what it means to be a filial son. For this reason, the entire sermon is paraphrased and included in the report to True Parents. This is not a literal transcription; it is reproduced from notes taken during the service.
It is a glorious morning. Let‘s give a round of applause to our Heavenly Father for creating such a beautiful day.
We are living at a time when Christ has returned. Imagine yourself living on earth when Jesus lived here 2,000 years ago. Imagine if you were able to attend him directly. Just imagine.
But Jesus was a man. He was not God the Creator, as Christian theology makes him out to be. And Jesus could forgive sins. That was unimaginable at that time. People thought, ‗Only God can forgive sins.‘ However, Jesus said he could forgive sins — and he did. How misunderstood Jesus was. And yet his faith and love for God never wavered.
I was born into the Unification Church – I did not convert. Most of you joined the church from a Christian background. I didn‘t do that. Therefore, I hardly knew anything about Christianity. I did not know their world view, or their theology.
Because of this I could not understand what was so valuable about Father‘s teachings. Why was the Divine Principle so great? I didn‘t know. The Principle seemed so logical and natural; I could not understand why it was so powerful.
Ten years ago when my brother passed into the spiritual world, I was deeply saddened and kind of depressed. I was attending a Jesuit school at the time (many of my teachers have remained my close friends).
But I started asking many questions. What is life? What is the meaning of life? Why is God so cruel? Why did He take my brother from me? My brother is better than I am, so why didn‘t God take me instead?
Father told us to study hard in order to restore the world. Young Jin was such a good student, he always got “A”s. I didn‘t. If God was going to take anyone, He should have taken me.
I was not a good student, not as good as Young Jin. Sometimes I even hid from my teachers. Once I hid from the teacher and she could not find me. She could not even imagine where I was hiding. When we met years later, she asked where I was hiding on that day and I told her I was in the ceiling above the bathroom. We laughed.
But with the passing of Young Jin I was struggling with the meaning of life and death. We read this morning at HDH, that “we all grow old.” Yes, everyone will eventually die. Then what is the meaning to life?
When I studied at Harvard, my focus was on East Asian philosophy. During this time I studied the concept of filial piety from the teachings of Confucius. The Western concept is so shallow in comparison. We think of filial piety as obeying our parents. That‘s correct but not deep enough.
In Confucian thought, filial piety has three levels:
|1.Care for parents (this is generally understood in the West)|
|2.Do not shame your parents (your lifestyle should not bring shame on your parents or your family)|
|3.A filial son should glorify his parents. You should not only care for and not shame your parents, you should honor and glorify them.|
|The parent-child relationship is central to Father‘s teaching. It is the core of the universe. Therefore, it helps us if we understand the deep meaning to the notion of filial piety from an Eastern point of view.
As I was struggling with the meaning of life and death and who my father was, I asked myself and members, ―What is True Love.”People told me, “Living for the sake of others” or, “Overcoming Satan.” or, “Giving and giving and forgetting what you gave.” But how is this different than what Buddha or the prophet Mohammad taught? Is it any different than Jesus‘ teaching?
I wrestled with this question very much and wanted to know what was different in Father‘s teachings? What is True Love and how was that any different than the teaching in other religions?
Ultimately, I could not answer my own question.
Then I had a dream of True Father. I had heard about Father‘s six imprisonments. I even saw the site of the helicopter crash. Everything was in ashes. Eleven tons of metal came crashing down and yet all 16 people escaped unharmed. My own children were in the helicopter!In my dream I saw Father tortured in prison. But not only was his physical body being tortured, but his spirit descended into the deepest parts of hell. He threw his spirit into hell, to the demons in hell, in order to save the people in hell. I was shocked! I never expected this. I just looked at the physical side of Father‘s suffering.
|In the Bible we read that when Jesus died, he descended into hell for three days and rose from the dead. He did this for the spiritual salvation of the people in hell. Father did this too, not once, but seven times. He descended into hell and resurrected seven times. This love was beyond anything that I had ever studied.
It was a love that would die and die and die again so that the children can be free to go to the Kingdom of Heaven. Father gave his life again and again, for the sake of his children, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren – so that the lineage of God could be established at all eight stages of resurrection.
Suddenly my Father was no longer just my Father. I am not just the physical son of True Parents and I could no longer look at Father with just my physical eyes.
When I was growing up, I could not understand my Father. Why did he not take me to McDonalds (actually he did), or why he never took me to the toy store, or came to see my school play.
Through this dream I understood that my Father gave his heart, mind and soul to save me, a sinner like me. He was not just my physical Father; he was my Savior. He was the Lord who returned to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ. Through him my life, my love and my lineage can be engrafted back to God. It is so good to be here in the House of Believers.
Like Paul, we who are True Parents‘ children and testify to them, will be persecuted for this declaration. But Father didn‘t tell me, I had to discover this myself. True Father‘s love is not just an expression of social service; it is much deeper than that. It is a love that gives and gives and gives, forgets what it has given and seeks to give even more.
Jesus brought that kind of love 2,000 years ago to this earth and it changed the course of human history. He died and resurrected one time. However, Father died seven deaths and resurrected seven times. For the sake of the world, True Parents died and died over and over again. This is Father‘s messianic mission: to die again and again and again and be resurrected.
When I understood this, I repented so much. “Father, I never knew you.” It was from this heart of repentance, feeling shameful before heaven and earth, that I offered 21,000 bows of penance.
One time I asked Father, “I am a blessed child, aren‘t I?” Father said, “Yes.” Then I asked, “This means I have no original sin, right?”Again Father said, “Yes.” My next question was, “This means I‘m going to heaven, doesn‘t it?” Father surprised me by saying, “No.” I didn‘t get it. I‘m a blessed child, I don‘t have original sin, but I‘m not going to heaven. What? Why?Then I realized that although I don‘t have original sin, there are three other types of sin that I do have. I have inherited sin, I have collective sin, and I have individual sin. This was so important for me, like this. If I think, ‘I don‘t have sin,‘ then naturally I could think, ‘I don‘t need a savior, or a messiah.‘ Can you see the problem, the danger in thinking this way?
|Well, then what sin did I have? I did not smoke, drink, take drugs or have a girl friend. But I was still a sinner. What sin did I have? I had the sin of arrogance, called hubris.1 This is a great sin, more dangerous than smoking, drinking, etc. This was the sin that started the fall of man!
Lucifer became arrogant. ‘I don‘t have sin,’ he must have said to himself and this led him to conclude, “Therefore, I don‘t need God.” His next step was, “I can do anything I want to do” and he took himself outside of God‘s principle, God‘s commandment.
In True Love there is no sin. There is no evil. But it does not mean we can do whatever we want. We cannot be unfaithful to our spouses; we cannot be deceitful to others. In True Love the Principle still exists. So if we sin in front of True Love, then we cannot come near God, because in True Love there is absolute purity. We are repelled away by our own sin and cannot stand near the source of Original Goodness. Then what should we do?
In this case, we must ask for forgiveness. Bow down and repent and ask to be forgiven. In doing this, we recognize that we need a savior. “I need True Parents. They are my Saviors.” They can forgive me; they can guide me. And yes, then can chastise me. But even this is an expression of their love, because it allows me to come back to them.
So after I realized that my Father was the Messiah, I first sent a repentance letter to him. Later I came to see him weeping and repenting and bowed before him. I found the real Christ before me! I said to him, “I‘m so sorry, so sorry, I never knew who you were.” I realized I sinned because I only saw Father and my Father. I only saw him with my physical eyes – not as my Lord, my Savior.
In my dream, it was like the transfiguration of Jesus, True Father‘s face was shining like ten thousand suns. My heart afterwards was full of repentance, “I never knew thee.” But now that I know thee; I can witness to thee.
Father is not just a peace activist, he is, but he is so much more. Our True Parents are the original parents of heaven and earth. They are the ones through whom we can be forgiven of our sins and given a new true love, life and lineage. They are our Saviors. Their position is eternal… forever!
Brothers and sisters, the Divine Principle is a little complicated: creation, fall, the parallels of history, and second coming. Would you like to know how to teach the Principle in one sentence? It is very simple: inherit the True Love of God. That‘s it, that‘s the whole Principle in one sentence. It goes like this:
Creation = Inherit the True Love of God.
Fall = Don‘t inherit the True Love of God; inherit the false love of SatanRestoration = Find the one who has inherited the True Love of God
|1 An excess of ambition, pride, etc., ultimately causing the transgressor’s ruin.|
|We are called to inherit God‘s divinity, not to be God but to be like God; to inherit God‘s great love. How can we do this? How can we adopt God‘s heart? We must do the work of God. God has been working tirelessly throughout history to restore humankind. So if we bring people back so they can inherit the true love of God, we are doing the work of God. This is witnessing. It is saving people. Through this we are proclaiming and praising our True Parents; we are connecting to them.
Understanding Father in Jesus‘ messianic role helps us understand Father‘s mission. Jesus did not come to bring peace. He said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Mt. 10:34.Understanding Father from this perspective means he is not just a peacemaker. Father comes to cut away our false life, false love and false lineage, and connect us to the true love, life and lineage of God. In doing this, Father even liberates God; he frees God.
Jesus taught us the Lord‘s Prayer. But this is not just a mantra. It is not just something we memorize and repeat. It is a model prayer that teaches us how to build our own relationship with God. It teaches us the right attitude and priorities.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
First, our attitude in prayer is to praise God. We need to give God glory.
Here Jesus teaches us that God‘s name is holy and sacred. This means that the relationship between God and us, which is a parent-child relationship, is also hallowed and sacrosanct.
Recently I was traveling in an airplane and the plane was going through a violent rain storm and thunder cloud. The plane was being tossed around, as if it were going from heaven to earth and back again. I looked around and everyone on the plane was praying. I was praying, too: “God, please save me, I‘m too young to die.” But praying this way, just for myself, I felt fear. I prayed because I was concerned about my own life and was afraid to die.
Then I remembered that this is not the way to pray. I gave a sermon on prayer a few weeks ago and I taught then that this is not the way we should pray. Then I changed my prayer. I said, “God, you are great! You created the heavens and the earth… this small rain cloud is nothing for you.” And when I changed my prayer, I noticed the fear went away.
We must always honor and revere God and God‘s name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.After acknowledging God as a holy, we must pray for His will to be done. Don‘t start by praying for your own will to be done, “God, give me this, give me that…” No, pray first for God‘s will and His kingdom. Not my will but Thy will be done.
|Give us this day our daily bread,
Here we can pray for ourselves, for our own needs. But you don‘t need to make this very big. Keep this part small because God already knows what you need, He knows your needs maybe more than you know yourself. So keep this part small.
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,
I have sinned; I am a sinner. Acknowledge your sins, your transgressions. Don‘t hide them. When you do, God will forgive you; He is your father.
Then as we forgive those who trespass against us, we are saying, “Let me resemble you, Heavenly Father, let me also forgive others as you have forgiven me.”
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Here we are asking God to help us to lead a life of deliverance, to rescue us from moral corruption. We are saying we do not want to follow the greedy, selfish ways of the world. We don‘t even want to be tempted by them. We want our lives to be for the sake of others, more than for ourselves. And, importantly, we need God‘s help to do this.
See brothers and sisters, how great our True Parents are. Father‘s teachings can bring the Lord‘s Prayer to a higher dimension. It teaches us how to pray and shows us the right attitude before God, our Heavenly Parent.
Can you name the eight stages of resurrection? They areindividual, family, tribe, society, nation, world, cosmos and God. Good. Now, can you name them backwards? It goes like this: God, cosmos, world, nation, society, tribe, family and finally the individual. This is how we should pray. This is the order of our prayer. We should start with God and end with ourselves.
But that can be kind of long. You have to pray for seven things before you can pray for yourself. Would you like know a shortcut? First pray for God and then pray for True Parents. When you pray for True Parents, you are praying for all the other stages already, including yourself. Just pray for God, our Heavenly Father, and then pray for our True Parents.
Heavenly Father and our True Parents love the Philippines and the Filipino members so much. You have done so much for heaven‘s providence.
Thank you so much.
Let us pray.