September 5, 2010, Cheon Bok Gung, Yongsan Seoul Korea
Brothers and sisters, today I’d like to first share with you a little bit about the Jerusalem and Europe visits, and then I will move on into the main part of the sermon. We never planned to go to Jerusalem. As you know, for the Korean church right now, it is a very busy time. We’re now preparing for over sixteen thousand blessed couples to be blessed in October. So it is not the best time to be going on visits to other nations! But Father expressly ordered for us to be in Jerusalem. As you know, on July 8th, Father first did the proclamation of True Parents’ eternal word in Korea, and then on the 28th of July in America, so the third Israel and the second Israel, and then Father ordered to do it in the first Israel, in Jerusalem, to proclaim True Parents’ substantial word of God. So initially we were going to Europe, but we had to make an extra trip to Israel.
It was the first time for us in the Holy Land. As soon as we landed and entered into the Holy Land, we went immediately to the olive tree that True Parents designated as the site where Jesus prayed before he was crucified. It’s a thousand-year-old olive tree, and there are three nails in it—as some of you that have been there know—representing the three Abrahamic faiths, that True Parents actually put into the tree. And we could still find those nails that represent Judaism, Christianity and Islam, engrafting onto the olive tree. We were able to go there and give a prayer, and also to place True Parents’ picture within the tree. We also visited the place where Jesus is traditionally said to have prayed before his crucifixion. Then we moved on to the Dead Sea to see the place of the Essene community, the early community that was waiting for the return of the Christ and that created the very famous Dead Sea Scrolls and the Apocryphal literature that was retrieved from that incredible, historic area.
The next morning, we were able to have Hoon Dok Hae and some testimony time with our brothers and sisters in Israel, followed by quickly going to the Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall, where practicing Jews come and pray, really pray, for the restoration of their temple. Now on the Temple Mount, on top of that, where King Solomon built the original Temple’s foundation, is the famous al-Aqsa Mosque. We were able to go with our delegation to the al-Aqsa Mosque and meet the Grand Mufti there who was so kind to allow us to enter into the al-Aqsa Mosque and even underneath into the cave where non-Muslims are not allowed, and allowed us to pray there and share time with them.
Then, we were able meet the leaders of the Druze community, who are always playing a central role in peaceful relations between Muslims, Christians and Jews. They are a tradition that is an offspring of Islam, and they have about two hundred thousand followers in Jerusalem, but really are respected from all the communities. We were able to meet with the top leader there, Imam Tariff, and many of the priests there: a big Orthodox priest that came in attendance and some Islamic imams that came in attendance. We were able to share True Parents’ role as the Lord of the Second Advent who comes to fulfill the prophecies of the past. We were able to share this wonderful time and also to share the autobiography with Imam Tariff. Then we had to go and do the special ceremony to proclaim the substantial word of God and the era of the parents of heaven, earth, and humankind. And in the speech, Father was with us via internet live broadcast; True Parents were attending the entire service, and were very keenly watching the word being proclaimed.
The word that was being proclaimed was that True Parents are the Messiah, that they are the Lord of the Second Advent, that they come with that mission; and that Korea, the Fatherland to which the Lord of the Second Advent has been sent, is now the homeland and the sacred site of God. So it is a Holy Land as well. This was the main aspect of the proclamation.
We had the time also to stop at al-Jazzar Mosque where the prophet Mohammad, sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (may Allah honor him and grant him peace), his hair is within the sanctuary, and people come from all over the world to see his hair. We get to see True Parents in reality, let alone a hair! Do you understand the value of True Parents being with us? Let us give it up one time for True Parents with us here, in the flesh!
So we had a wonderful time there. Of course it was Ramadan and they were fasting. We met Imam Masih, the head of the al-Jazzar Mosque. And there is a very interesting picture where we are wrestling over a cell phone, and he is actually giving me back the cell phone, because during our meeting the phone rings and we pick up the phone and it is True Father on the other line! So I am sitting there with Imam: “Oh, Father, we are in the meeting with the Imam Masih!” So we hand the phone to Imam Masih. And Father gave him a special blessing from heaven. They said it was the first time that something ever happened like that. So Imam Masih is now a blessed man. And we wish him many fortunes and many blessings, many great blessings coming to him. (Applause) It’s a historic time.
We had the great honor of breaking fast with them. As you know, Muslims, during the day during Ramadan, don’t eat or drink—water or any type of beverage—during the whole day, and as the sun sets, they are able to eat. We had this feast and Imam Masih kept on feeding us until we almost burst! Just so much of this incredible hospitality that we felt from this man who is a real, incredible spiritual leader! He was going around making sure that everybody ate before he broke his fast. Such a wonderful example for that community!
Then we had to fly and make our way to Italy. We went to Italy, and we landed and immediately went to the Vatican. In 1965, before he started the American providence, True Father went on the world tour and designated holy sites all around the world. In 1965 he designated in front of the obelisk in the yard in the great arena, the front area of the Vatican before St. Peter’s Basilica, as the holy site. And there we gave offerings and prayer. And we were able to ascend into St. Peter’s all the way to the top, to the dome.
But one of the great experiences was the Sacred Stairs that we were able to visit at St. John Lateran Cathedral, where the steps of Jerusalem were moved some centuries ago by the Vatican from Jerusalem. These are the steps where Jesus went up to be judged by Pontius Pilot. They moved that staircase from Jerusalem to Vatican City and it is in the incredible Lateran Cathedral. It’s covered by a wooden staircase to protect the original stairs. You go up the stairs—the twenty-eight stairs—but you don’t go walking on your feet; you go on your knees in penance and in repentance and prayer. You walk on your knees! And it’s very painful. But when you look around and you focus, in the tunnel, on the image of the Christ hanging lifeless on the cross, you realize that this pain is nothing; it is nothing compared to what Christ had to endure for the sake of our spiritual salvation. So you really feel this incredible sense of communion. I remember Yeon-ah nim, Hyo-jin nim’s wife, who came with us, had a great spiritual experience there and she was tearing up, and pouring out tears. And we believe that Hyo-jin hyung was also in presence with her as we walked up those stairs in penance and in repentance, really focusing on the love of Christ. Such an incredible training that we were able to do with the Catholic practitioners there; such a beautiful, beautiful training!
Of course, every morning we would start with the manifestation of the principle. The principle not only heals our spirit, not only heals our mind, but also heals our body. It teaches us how to give and receive, and the four positions, and to unite and become one centered on the essence of God. So we do the Cheon-jin Chi-gong in the morning, the devotional practice, the kyungbaes (full bows), the meditation training etc. with the members. Every day, we were able to do that training. Such a wonderful time!
We visited the holy site, the holy rock, designated at the main headquarters workshop center and we shared some words with our Italian brothers and sisters from all over Italy who came and spent time with us there. At night, after the event, we were able to go to visit a family. We always love visiting families in any nation where we are. We choose by lottery and we go and visit the family. This family was such a beautiful family, the Natali family. I said to them when we were having dinner—we were having pizza, they ordered pizza—I said, “So, pizza was made in New York, yes?” And they said, “No, no, no! It was in Napoli! Napoli!” I said, “No, no, no, I am from New York, and I heard pizza was made in New York!” They got so angry: “Never, never—we’ll never admit to that! Pizza is from Napoli!” So we saw some of that Italian pride, very beautiful, and had a wonderful time. In the family visits we are able to remember the blessings of God. We always remember that we have to become blessed central families and not cursed central families—not where we are cursing each other. We are learning to bless each other, in the habit of blessing, blessing, blessing, right? And so we learn how to become grateful for each one of the family members. We had a wonderful time with them, such a beautiful family. The eldest son will be getting blessed this time in October! Let’s give him a great round of applause for a new beginning and a new start, now entering the second blessing of life!
We were then whisked away: we had to travel to France. Initially our plan wasn’t to go to France. We initially planned to go to Italy, and then Germany, and then England, although Father of course sent us to Jerusalem first. But while we were in Italy we heard that less than a couple of weeks ago, during a workshop, the bus that was going towards the workshop had an accident, and one of our young blessed children, a Unificationist, passed away on the spot. It was a bad accident and one of them passed away immediately. His name was Tony Yuen. And another sister, Tiffany, immediately went into a coma. She was helicoptered away to the hospital in Lille. My wife’s heart was moved during prayer. She said, “You know, we have to go and visit them.” So we changed our schedule in Italy, canceled one day in Italy, and went to France, really on the spur of the moment.
We went there and we were able to visit Jacky Yuen’s family—this is Tony Yuen’s family. We went there expecting they would be tremendously depressed and overwhelmed. Of course; it is painful! But we were so happy to see that they had already created an altar for Tony Yuen, that they already had the candle lit for their son, and were praying for him. We saw that and said, “You know, if it wasn’t for the Unification faith that they have, they could never—not understanding the spirit world—do this: overcome and still be in the presence of Tony, be with him and live with him as part of their family.” The young people in this family, the children, were absolutely fantastic. They are very involved in the community—leaders, really, up-and-coming leaders, in the young people’s community. Such an exemplary family, such a hard-working family of faith!
One thing about Jacky, the dad: he is very sincere about sharing his faith. He goes out to witness. He works all day at a factory—he works in a Christian Bernard I believe. He goes out and he works, and then he goes witnessing, every day. He loves to share the word of God; he loves to share True Parents. He has this kind of an exemplary faith. We were so inspired to see his family, and to see their love transcending the boundaries of earth and heaven, and really giving honor to their son. We heard that they love McDonald’s so we had a great McDonald’s meal.
Then we were whisked to the Eiffel tower where True Father designated the France holy site in 1965. We went there and gave a brief prayer. And then we were on the plane to Lille, a smaller city in France, where Tiffany was in a coma. Quite a remarkable situation. This young sister was also a leader within the community. In the accident, Tony Yuen immediately ascended to the spirit world, but Tiffany went into a coma. The doctor said that she had no chance, that she would literally be a vegetable for the rest of her life. But—incredible!—the hand of God worked. The parents testify that they had a peace in their heart: they knew that God would bring her out. And within three days—the doctor had said she would never get up again!—within three days, God’s hand moved. He worked a miracle and she is now up and around, and when we met her she was talking; she was doing fine. Let’s give it up one time for the almighty God! Hananim, kamsahamnida (Thank You, Heavenly Father)! Yes, that is our God! And such a wonderful sister! She is going to make a full recovery and the doctors are really just so amazed.
I told the parents, “You and Tony’s family are now one family. You can’t be separated. God brought you together. When your daughter’s all healed, you must go visit his family, console his family, be with his family, have McDonald’s with his family—and Tony!—and become one family. So they made that promise to me.
It was such a wonderful time in France—just a couple of hours in France actually. Then we had to run and fly to Germany. In 1965, on the 29th of July, True Father designated a tree as the holy ground in Germany, during the world tour, and we could see how big the tree has gotten and also how many Unificationists have now emerged and are really standing up for their faith. They were having a beautiful seminar with about two hundred young people, young Unificationists studying the principle and also doing different kind of projects, exercises, and challenges. We were very moved by the workshop center because in that center in Germany we saw an incredible array of statues that were made by one of the senior members of the German church. He made the whole providential picture, from Adam and Eve to Abraham, to Moses, to Isaac, all the way to Jesus, and then finalizing in this incredible pagoda-type fountain area where True Parents are there as the Lord of the Second Advent. Also some of the True Children are there, and some of the early disciples are there as well. We were so amazed. We saw that and were so inspired. We even felt inspired to develop it in our Korean churches, as this brother has developed it in Germany.
Every morning we started with training, with dedication and practice, rotating the principle. We were also able to go to Wartburg, which is the place where Martin Luther, when he was chastised by the Catholic Church, ran away and had safe haven; at Wartburg Castle. And this is where he translated the New Testament within two months from Latin into German. The Protestant Reformation began from this historical area and this place where he translated the Bible, the New Testament, so that all people could read it for themselves.
After that we were able to go visit the Buchenwald concentration camp. This is one of the camps organized by Nazi Germany, where fifty-six thousand people were murdered and killed. We could hear the spirits of their souls; we could hear them crying; we could hear them shouting for liberation! We could hear their pain in this place. Now beautiful flowers are blooming from the ground, but still, that doesn’t hide the incredible torment and incredible hell, the living hell that was this concentration camp. We saw the place where there were executions. The Jewish people were brought in there, being told that it was just a doctor visit and that they were having a checkup. The floor was painted red so that the blood could be washed away more easily and hidden so none of the other Jewish people who were passing by would know that it was an execution chamber. They were brought into this room and were asked to face the wall to measure their height, and they were shot in the head—executed without them even knowing.
There is a photo of a mountain of corpses that the concentration camp was trying to get rid of. They created furnaces, their own cremation centers, because there were so many bodies being killed, such was the rate of bodies being killed, that they could not get rid of them; they could not burn them quickly enough at the outside crematories. So they created their own crematory. And they would stuff not only one body in there, but forcibly stuff three bodies in these small, little places and cremate them. This is the terror, the terrible history of atheism, when it loses sight and becomes centered on a megalomaniac like Hitler. We were able to give a prayer there.
And we went and were able to meet the German brothers and sisters, were able to share about some of that experience, but also to share times of hope and that we have to return to prayer, come back to prayer; that prayer is at the center of our lives, and that it was in that relationship (with God) where True Parents were able to make the world foundation. So we focus and return back to prayer. We were able to go meet the Makkonen family, which is a wonderful family from Finland and Austria. The husband is from Finland and the wife is from Austria. Such a wonderful family! But they still have a very tough marriage and blessing—many difficulties they had to go through and, still, they had a lot of pain within that marriage. But in the meeting we were able to see a lot of healing come to pass. Even their children, in the practices we did with them, were moved to tears. Their son, sitting on the side, was moved by seeing his parents move to the next level in their faith life and practice life together. This is their wonderful family.
Then we had to move to the UK. In Hyde Park, they have the holy site there. There was a young man named Kenko—Kenko san—an incredible young man who grew up as a blessed child, Unificationist, but his parents were always busy witnessing. He had Japanese parents who sacrificed tremendously for the church, and he grew up alone with his grandmother, never understanding why he could never see his parents. He said he was filled with resentment, filled with a lot of hate. But when he was a young person, one of his friends said, “Let’s go to a workshop.” And he went, I believe, at the age of sixteen, and he heard the principle for the first time. Because his parents were so busy, they had never shared the principle with him, never taught him the principle—which is the unfortunate fate of many blessed children. We must always remember as parents: no matter how busy we are, we must teach we must teach the children the principle; they must learn the faith! This young man went and he heard the principle. And he realized why his parents were giving for the sake of the world, sacrificing for the sake of the world. And he had a change in his life, he said. He said, from that point, on he not only was a member, he became an evangelist! He started witnessing! And as a young person, in high school—he was a terrible student, his grades weren’t good—all of sudden he was a straight-A student. And then he started witnessing to his high school friend. While he was in high school he had his first spiritual son! Amazing young fellow! In high school he was able to witness to this man, Yuen, and he became a blessed couple. He was actually there at the event as well, and at the morning service as well.
This young man went on to come out of one of the greatest engineering schools in the UK, went on to be an i-banker. He is a professional now, getting his PHD while also earning a great professional living, but at the same time contributing to the church—not just as a church-going member, not just as a donating member, but as a witnesser! He is going out and witnessing to his professional friends, bringing people to the faith. This young man is an incredible example of Unificationist faith. Let’s give it up one time for Kenko san. Incredible young man! He grew up in America and in the UK… What an incredible fellow! We need many, many more young Unificationists like this man. Incredible, incredible young man!
We had time to then spend with our brothers and sisters in Europe. I cannot remember which building this was, too many buildings I was in. We had a wonderful time, again remembering the importance of prayer, going over prayer in our life with our brothers and sisters from the UK. And then we had the chance to meet the wonderful Robertson Family. The father is suffering from multiple sclerosis so his body is in paralysis but he can move his head and he can speak. What a fine fellow of faith! What an incredible man of faith! In this situation he could be complaining about the church, complaining about everything, complaining about how his life is terrible, that God left him. Exactly the opposite! Consoling everybody; praising God, praising the True Parents, praising brothers and sisters that are there, giving thanks to them. What an incredible man of faith, a living testament of the power of the principle applied in our life. His wife as well, when I first saw her I thought she looked like a saint. She is a sister from Austria. They have a wonderful son, Gilchris. Just an incredible family that we had the privilege of not only being with but also praying with and also just experiencing God’s presence there so much. Let’s give it up one time for the Robertson family in the UK. They are probably watching us. They watch us, they say, every week, so they are watching us today!
We then had a wonderful chance to have an interreligious council at the House of Commons with Lord King who was able to acquire a room for us for free. We had about two hundred delegates from politics; of course, religious leaders, Iman Sajid; we had an Oxford professor, Dr. Ramsey who is also a Muslim; we had Dr. Braybrooke who is a priest, an Anglican priest, who is one of the great people of interfaith in Europe. So, very prominent leaders were present there. So many people were there. I had a brief time to share words and, of course, we went up there and we did not just talk about interfaith. We talked about the reason why Father would even start anything of interfaith: it is because he comes as the messiah and the Lord at the Second Advent. That is the mission of True Parents. That is who he is. We were able to share that with all the leaders there. Simon Cooper, who is the National Leader of the UC in Great Britain, said he was so refreshed. He said at these events we never used to proclaim Father as the Messiah, we’d always hide that point. But since we are doing it out in the open, he was so happy. And of course there is no wacky reaction, they already know anyways! So he said he felt so refreshed: “Thank God we are being more open! We are coming out of the closet with our faith, so to speak, and being honest in what we believe!” Let’s give it up one time for all these brothers and sisters now proclaiming True Parents, proclaiming who True Parents really are.
And then, as we left, we had nice interviews with The Sun and Forbes magazine. From Forbes magazine there was a wonderful interviewer that I met when he did an interview with me from the BBC. He was from the BBC, but he left the BBC about six months ago, and now is becoming an Anglican priest. He just stopped by to say hi! What an incredible visit. Such a great guy, just a friend! We just hit it off from the very beginning. Such a wonderful young man! Then we were able to come back to Korea.
You know, one of the things that I really felt on this tour was the incredible nature of Islam. Around the world, more than Christianity now, (Islam is growing). Islam is the fastest growing religion in the UK. It is also the fastest growing faith in America; it is the fastest growing religion in the world. And by 2050 Islam will be the biggest religion in the world, presently with over a billion Muslims, praying five times a day, every day—giving that kind of incredible prayer life! This time around, praying with the sheikh, imams, and being able to go (to the mosques), I really felt the incredible faith and devotion of Islam. You know, I saw that many, many European leaders were worried about this, they were worried about Islam. Many of them were saying, “Islam is growing too quickly!”—In France it is 20% of the population—”Islam is growing so rapidly! What can we do? It is going to take over Europe, take over our European constitution!” But we have to understand this from a principled perspective. When, in the course of the Providence of Restoration, when Christianity became corrupt and forgot the mission of Jesus, when it forgot God, God sent Islam for Christianity to remember who God was. So Islam was sent by God to bring Christianity back to God and away from the path towards secularity which it was falling into. Islam’s message is very clear: La ilaha ill Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasul (Allah), “There is only one God, and Muhammad is His prophet.” Islam’s message is crystal clear: You only worship one God, there is only one God worthy of praise, there is only one God worthy to be bowed down before, and that is who you worship. Islam is incredible. We felt the real, incredible clarity of Islam.
In France, Jean-Francois, the National leader, told me that in France, you cannot mention the name of God in public without being persecuted. He said that he met a congressman and while in the meeting he said to the congressman the word “interreligious”—he didn’t even say “God,” he said “interreligious”—and the congressman was so upset: “You keep your religion at home, not in here!”—so angry. “Why do you bring out the word ‘interreligious’ here in the public?” If the nations become that secular, where “God” cannot even be spoken, God will bless Islam. It is the will of God that Islam then spreads in that nation. Why? Because Muslims will not compromise their belief in God. They will not be intimidated by any state or any nation that says you cannot talk about God. They will declare God, they will talk about God, they will be vocal about God—as the center of their life and the center of the entire universe. In that realm, we have to not only be grateful to Islam, we have to be even more faithful than Islam! Let’s give it up one time for our brothers and sisters who are doing very important work in Europe!
In Islam there is the notion that human beings are the servants of God; they are slaves to God. The prophet Mohammad, sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (may Allah honor him and grant him peace), is the slave of God. He is not a son of God; there can be no son of God. You are not sons and daughters of God; you cannot be so. You are slaves of God. In Islam, they explain: you must be a slave to something in your life. Think about it. You have to be a slave to something in your life! You are either a slave to money, a slave to your career, a slave to education, a slave to knowledge, a slave to power—you have to be a slave to something in your life! You might as well be a slave to the God and the Creator of all of heaven and earth; might as well bow down before Him, and only through Him receive your life’s purpose.
So you see, Islam is very, very clear. I remember one sister saying, “We of course understand God as Lord, but now we see God in the parent-child relationship. So this is the great difference between us and how Christians see God and also how Muslims see God.” I told her, “Don’t forget that the parent-child relationship is a very rich relationship. It is a very manifold, multifaceted relationship.” I told her, I am the son of True Parents, the direct son of True parents. I have a parent-child relationship with him (Father) but, at the same time, I am also his servant. When he asks me and orders me to do something, I have to obey it with absolute obedience like a servant, not like a son that can say, “Oh Dad, I don’t agree with you here! I don’t really want to do the blessing that’s coming up this time. It’s really stressful and you know you are going to have to understand. I simply disagree with you!” I cannot do that! That doesn’t exist in the parent-child relationship—it is not like in the west where we only see it in this realm. It has within it the servant relationship to God. That’s the whole teaching of absolute faith and love and obedience: that we have the obedience to God almighty. And this is a wonderful facet of Islam that reminds us that the relationship of parent and child is manifold, multifaceted; that even within this relationship, we must submit to the power of God and allow Him to work in our lives, not believing that we can do everything on our own.
One of the things that I learned when I was at the Divinity School at Harvard, from my professors, was the real nature of interfaith. Two of my professors who were Buddhologists but also Christians explained to me that when people do interfaith and they gather these different religious people and all these religious people say, “Oh yes, you are right and we all believe the same thing,” and, “Yes, it’s wonderful: Peace be! Shalom! God is great! We just believe the same thing! We are all the same!” When they do this, this is a huge disservice to interfaith. This is not interfaith, they would tell me. They told me real inter-religious activity requires the different religions to understand the similarities as well as the differences between the different religions, so that they may understand where the conflict zones may stem from. They can understand, through those differences, the pinpoint areas where conflict can arise, and become more aware of those differences. Only when different traditions can do that in a state of agreeing to understand, disagreeing with theological views but still working toward interfaith—this is when real interfaith is done.
We’ve done interfaith, of course, as a Unification movement, for twenty years. One of the key ingredients of interfaith is that if a religious faith involves itself within interfaith, it has to have a strong identity of its own faith. Without a strong identity of its own faith, it will fall into what is known as religious relativism. It will believe that just gathering the faiths together is the purpose of that work, and they will never be in a position to lead those faiths to the next era.
And when we look at how we have done interfaith over the last twenty years, have we strengthened our faith? Through the interfaith work, have we strengthened our identity as Unificationists? Have we become more serious in our practice? Or have we become more watered-down? Has our faith become lessened, our prayers less, in the church? Was church-going less? We saw the results, of course: a lot of that became diminished, became weakened as we started trying to just embrace other faiths without having a strong sense of our own faith. This is the key to interfaith: If we truly want to contribute the Unification principled perspective, which is an incredible perspective, towards the world’s religions, then we must have a strong sense of faith and a very strong sense of practicing our faith. This is one of the things that was a serious challenge in any of the interfaith activities that we did, but now in any of the focuses that we do with interfaith, we always declare clearly what we believe, clearly what True Parents’ role is. And from that prospective we explain why interfaith is so important for the Unification tradition.
When we spent time with the European leaders explaining this and discussing this with them, I told them, “Look! You want to be able to move people of incredible faith, like Muslims, like imams, people who practice daily, daily, daily! They will never be inspired when they see Unificationists who can just memorize the Principle or give lectures about the principle. They are going to see how much we are practicing about God, how much we are centering ourselves on God. They pray five times a day, every day. They are going to see how many times we are praying. They are going to see how many times we center ourselves on God. Are we just Sunday church-goers? They will never respect that; they will never respect the principle. They will never respect anybody who speaks on a Sunday-faith level.” The only way people of serious faith will be moved and be led is by people of even greater faith. They cannot be moved by less faithful people, people who lead more secular lives. They will not be moved. People of great faith will not be moved by these kinds of people.
This is the reason why it is so important for Unificationists to find once again that early-time faith, that faith from when we were in the early movement, that strong sense of faith, that strong sense of presence with God, praying constantly with God, being one with God constantly. To make that condition, while we were in France and other European nations, we made a new condition that we are practicing now with the European church leaders and, as I came back here, with the hoonsa nims in Korea. In order to understand the seriousness of Islam and to communicate with them on a deep level and also to influence and even guide Muslims, we must be practicing an even stronger faith. Thus, instead of five-times-a-day prayer we’ve now made a condition where we actualize the eight stages of perfection; where we divide the day into eight sections and pray eight times a day, going from individual all the way to the level of God; to segment the day and offer the entire day to God.
This is not a petty competition with Muslims who practice five times a day, but it is respecting the type of practice that they do and also actualizing the type of prayer life that we should have in our own lives. Remember, Muslims—one billion, not only the imams, not only the religious leaders or the pastors, the normal members as well—every day are orienting themselves to Mecca and to God, five times a day. There is no other religious phenomenon like that on the planet. It is an incredible testament to the seriousness of the faith of Islam. If we are going to move Islam, and if Christianity is going to accept the Lord of the Second Advent, then it is only by more serious faith that people of very strong faith will come to respect not only our teaching but also how we live and center ourselves on God. Thus we created the new eight-times-a-day-prayer special condition that our European leaders are now doing as we speak and now, as we come back to Korea, we are doing with our hoonsa nims, to train.
Brothers and sisters, let’s all rise and I want to just go briefly through the series of small bits and pieces of this very short prayer that we do eight times a day so that all of you can understand what kind of pattern we are doing it in. And if you want to include yourself in the special training, then please see your pastor and our hoonsa nims for the times and also the prayer practices.
First we start with manifesting the principle: give and receive action, four position foundation, “May I inherit the true love of God!” Then we give a bow. We do a full kyungbae (full bow), and we come back up. Then we offer glory, first, to God. So that is, “Hananim weonkwon seungnim og mansei.” We do og mansei for God, og mansei for True Parents and then og mansei for Cheon Il Guk. “Og mansei!” We go back down and do another bow. We come back up and we center our heart and we pray along the eight stages of prayer. That is, we pray for God first; we then pray for the second stage, which is the spirit world and the cosmos; we then pray for the third stage, which is, we pray for the world; the fourth stage, we pray for the nations to come to God; we pray for the societies, the tribes and the families to come to God; and the last stage is we pray for our individual life to be for the purpose of God’s Kingdom and God’s Will: “Not my kingdom and my will, but Thy Kingdom and Thy Will, for You and only You, let us live!” We pray like that.
We end the prayer and then we come together and we open our hands like a Hoon Dok Hae book. We open our hands like a Hoon Dok Hae book and we recite the eight Family Pledges of the Kajeong Mengsei in the original language, in Korean. We do it in Korean. So we also learn Korean, and also learn the deep meaning in those Pledges. After we recite the eight Pledges, we come back and manifest the principle one more time: give and receive action, four position foundation, “May I inherit the True Love of God and glorify Heaven till my ascension to the Spiritual World. Aju.” That is the prayer that we are doing eight times a day—of course starting from 2:30 morning training. That’s still the same, but eight times a day throughout the day. If you want to participate with our European leaders and our ministers, hoonsa nims, here, and with myself, if you want to participate, please see Michael and also our hoonsa nims.
Let’s finish with a final prayer as we end this service. Please join me in prayer.
Hyung-jin nim’s final prayer:
Heavenly Father, Lord and Creator of the universe, we thank You Father so much that we can be in Your presence this day, that we can glorify You and lift You up on high today. Father, we pray that we are not here just for the sake of “my own kingdom and my own will” but Father we pray that we are gathered here to truly be Unificationists who can unite the religions and the nations and the world. Father we pray that we may now step up our faith life, not only be Sunday Unificationists, but, Father, now we can go to the next level of faith, we can go to a faith that inspires Muslims and Buddhists and Christians—serious people of faith—to understand the truth of the divine principle and the truth of the revelation that You have given to True Parents, our lord and our savior. Father we thank You so much because this day You bless us in a whole new way. Father, You remind us that the world is changing, that secularism is being challenged by faithful people from all over different religions of the world. But Father, let us be those who can truly guide the world into unity, guide the world into peace, into Your heart. And let us be those people who not only talk the principle, who not only can preach or lecture the principle, but practice it every day, starting from our daily prayers and our training and our meditation practice, every single day.
Father, we pray that we can have that kind of faith life and out from that can spring the great compassion to save lives, to save people, to witness and share True Parents’ word to this world. We thank You so much. We pray that You may move the world to unity, You may move the nations, that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that the Lord has come. Father, we thank you so much, that all the tribes and societies and families may come to Your blessing; that they may live in a blessed life, not for themselves but for Your Kingdom, and Father, they may ascend to the spiritual world in glory with the Seunghwa ascension. We thank You so much! Use us individually with all our talents and potentials for Your Kingdom and Your Will alone. Father, guide us on that straight path, make us center ourselves on You constantly, and let us be the ones that can unify this world. We pray these things with gratitude and with honor. We offer this and lift You up and we thank the True Parents who have liberated Your pain! We pray these things as central blessed families, in the names of our own names. Aju.