September 12, 2010, Cheon Bok Gung, Yongsan Seoul Korea
But before we go into that, let’s first start with Romans, chapter 6 verse 5. Let’s read this together, “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” Aju!
These are the words of Saint Paul and he is of course reflecting on the Christian faith and becoming one with Christ in his death and also when he returns, when Christ returns, that we will certainly be united, we will become one with Christ and his mission and his purpose etc.. We will come together with him.
Now this is very important because for the Christian faith, the fundamental purpose of the Christian faith is awaiting the Lord to come; that the Lord will return and that when he returns we will serve him and build his kingdom. This is really the purpose of the Christian faith. It is to unite with Christ when he returns.
In Islam, we know that Islam also sees that Jesus is the Messiah and that he will also return.Very interestingly enough in the Hadith tradition when Jesus returns he will break the cross, he will shatter it, he will take it down.You may have heard about a messianic man who takes down crosses that we know of! So the Islamic tradition also sees the One who is to return.
Of course in the Hindu traditions we see the Kalki Avatar. In the Buddhist tradition we see the Maitreya Buddha. In the Confucian tradition we see the True Man, the Righteous One who will return and guide everybody back to benevolence and ethics etc…
And of course, we as Unificationists know who that individual is. We know who the returning Lord is. We know who the Lord of the Second Advent is. It is no surprise to us but it is of course a surprise to the world. But we want to give it up one time for our True Parents of Heaven and Earth. Let’s give up for them, our True Parents! (Applause)
And this time we are by True Parents’ blessing and order, we are traveling across the different nations and meeting the churches, the members there and also the leaders of the churches etc… At first when True Father told me, ordered me to go on a world tour, I didn’t actually know why I had to go. Maybe of course to visit the members, to be with the members, also to be with our leaders there who are trying to develop the church in churches in their respective nations.
But I realize especially this time that we are not going only for the purpose of meeting the members and meeting the leaders and trying to help them with church growth and building their foundation in those respective nations, but we are visiting the spirits in the spirit world as well. This is what I realize very strongly this time. Especially our four great saints who are Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, and the Prophet Muhammad (“Salla Allahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam”), (May blessing and peace of Allah be upon him)
And when we go to these different lands, we have sought the lands and the homelands of our saints. We have gone last time to Nepal and to the Buddha’s birthplace, Lumbini. We have seen where he grew up and also offered devotions there and prayers there for Buddha so that he can also work in returning resurrection on this earth. This time in going to Jerusalem and in various European states, we were able to visit Bethlehem of course the place where Jesus grew up in and of course we were able to go to the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed before he was taken by the Roman guards. So we were also able to offer prayers and devotion to Jesus; to be with him in his land as well.
In November we will be going to the Arab world and goint to visit the homeland and the region in which the Prophet Muhammad did his various religious works and many of the incredible things that he was able to accomplish. In December we will be visiting Qufu which is the homeland of Confucius, and we will be able to offer devotions and also prayers there at the holy land of the birth place of Confucius.
But for me the question was, “Is there a connection of these things to the fatherland, to True Father’s recent declaration of the substantial word of God, and the recent Seung Hwa ascension festival that True Parents have been doing for about the last year?” I realized this time very strongly that True Parents are the ones who are bringing all the heavenly fortune to the fatherland of Korea. They are the only ones who are bringing the world’s blessings to Korea.
True Father has declared that Korea is the homeland and the fatherland of God. He declared this in the declaration of the Substantial Word of God and this was done on the 8th of July, the 20th of July in Korea, in New York and again in Jerusalem, the first, second and third Israels. This kind of proclamation was made!
For us this may be something that we hear quite often, but for people in Jerusalem to think of Korea as a fatherland is outrageous. It doesn’t make any sense. For them it is Jerusalem! That is the holy land, that is the chosen land that God has imbued with His spiritual presence. So even the fact of proclaiming that Korea, the small little peanut nation in the pacific rim is the Holy Land of God, this is incredible! It’s so hard to believe! But we were able to proclaim this in Jerusalem.
True Father has also allowed something that he has never allowed before, which was doing the Seung Hwa ascension ceremonies for the great leaders who are not Unificationists, that helped True Parents while they were alive like Alexander Haig or the previous president of Indonesia. But he has also allowed us to do the Seung Hwa ceremonies for the soldiers who lost their lives, who died fighting for the freedom of the fatherland, the Korean Peninsula, the people who are the heroes who sacrificed themselves to liberate and save this country.
And this of course is very, very revolutionary! Father has only allowed Seung Hwa ceremonies to Unificationists who had faith, who lived a life of faith and offered glory back to heaven their whole life and as they pass they are blessed with the Seung Hwa ceremony and the eternal life and resurrection, etc…
But it is the first time that he has allowed us to offer this for tens of thousands of soldiers who have lost their life while fighting for this holy land. We know from True Parents’ declaration that the holy land of God is Korea. This is a very big responsibility here for Korea.
But the next question is then, “What is the holiest day that God would celebrate?” Obviously as Unificationists we know what the holiest day of God would be during the year. It is the day that our True Parents come into the world – because they both come on the same day, the same lunar day- and it is they who are able to liberate the historical misery, the pain, the resentment, the anxiety, even the anger of God by seeing his children continually not able to inherit his true love and inherit selfish love. So then if God is most happy on that day, most joyous on that day then also all the saints in the spirit world rejoice on that day.
And I realize that this is why True Parents were sending me on the world tour. As we go on the world tour we are bringing back the holy lands to Korea. All the spiritual power, fortune and blessing that the holy lands have are now pouring down spiritually into Korea. When I realize this, I realize also that the four great saints want to bless True Parents, want to work with True Parents and want to glorify True Parents in a substantial way.
And if we imagine that it is True Parents’ birthday- that is the month of February in the solar calendar- and that the whole nation of Korea is coming to receive True Parents’ blessing, to offer grace, offer devotion and sincerity but also to receive blessing from True Parents. Would this not be amazing if not only the nation of Korea but also the world would come! Think about how amazing that would be.
When it becomes December everybody knows that it is the birth time of Christ or that everybody is reflective about the coming of Christ into the world. When it is April all Buddhists are aware of the birth of the Buddha etc… And it is said that the messiah would come and would unite the twelve tribes of Israel, to make them united. That the Messiah in other traditions will come and judge the world and that he will create the new world; that goodness and evil will be separated and that the good will be allowed to go into the Kingdom of Heaven. We know this from various traditions.
But what if the Messiah came, was able to unite the homeland and also bring the blessings of the world to this nation and from this nation spread the blessings of the world back to the homeland? Last year during True Parents’ day True Parents ordered that there be six days of celebration following the first day of the lunar year to True Parents’ birthday, which would be symbolic for the seven time periods of creation. And now, as you remember from last year, we celebrate with True Parents at Cheong Pyeong on the first day, and then the week of festivities begin; there are sports and there are all these different types of festivities.
But this year we are planning to connect the world tour with True Parents’ birthday festivities. All the earth and the stones that we are bringing back from the holy lands -we will cleanse and we will make sure they are clean- they are prepared into a sand. And that these four holy sands gathered from different parts of the world, different sacred sites from all over the world, will be held by the representatives of the respective faiths and they will be poured into a huge bowl of holy salt that will be able to be mixed up and become one holy land, one holy land!!
Then all our members across the world, not only our members but our Peace Ambassadors who have up til now been having a relationship with us can now come to True Parents’ birthday, can now offer their devotion, can offer their thanks, can offer their glory, can offer their bows to True Parents and also receive this holy land.
Peace Ambassadors, all people of the fatherland, and nations; we want to create it so it is an open event, so everybody can come and celebrate True Parents’ birthday on that day. And they will receive a special case or little glass that they can fill with this holy salt and bring it back to their home to purify their house and to spread it in the four directions to bless and have the presence of the four great saints there with them protecting their family and their home and their nation.
If you go to the temple on Buddha’s birthday you can receive the great blessing of the Buddha. If you go to church on Christmas and pray with Jesus, you can receive Jesus’ grace and blessing. But on True Parents’ day you receive the blessing of God and True Parents as well as the world’s blessings. From all the corners of the world you receive the lands of the four great saints and you connect them to your own land and your own house and become purified and your house even becoming like a holy land.
And on this day we are also planning to have festivities and performances and prayer and meditation and dance and music all from those respective traditions; almost like a world religions’ festival that’s coming together on True Parents’ birthday!
And at the same time prayer lanterns and prayer flags will be lifted up for world peace and praying for the peace of the nations. At the same time we will also be offering the nation-level Seunghwa ceremony, that remembers and blesses all the spirits who lost their lives fighting for this nation of Korea, the soldiers who fought and died protecting this land.
And on who’s birthday is all this incredible national, world level, spirit world level and cosmic level blessing and fortune coming to the people of this land? It is only on the day of our True Parents of Heaven and Earth! Let’s give it up one time for True Parents and their day! Because there will be nothing like this in the world! (applause)
So as I returned from the Europe tour, I spoke with Father about this World Peace and Unification Ceremony and the Heavenly Blessing Ceremony. Father was very delighted, very pleased, that this will be a perfect fit for our festivities during that time. And doing the world tour, I realized, “Ah! This is the reason why True Parents sent me to do the world tour!” Not only to meet and encourage our members; not only to stay with the churches etc. but also to remember the Saints, the four great Saints that we are visiting as we visit these various countries!
I also realized, that’s the reason why True Parents have allowed us to do the Seung Hwa ceremonies for the deceased soldiers who lost their lives, American, Thailand, Korean soldiers who lost their lives, fighting for the freedom of this nation, and all the four great Saints now with the true purpose of wanting to glorify True Parents and the land that they have declared as a land of God.
You see, only our theology can handle this, because True Parents have blessed the four Saints; they have canonized them as Saints in the Unification tradition. They are not only leaders of other religions, they are our Saints that we revere, and that we respect, uphold and protect.
But If you look at other theologies, then you realize this cannot be done in other faiths. Christians don’t acknowledge the Prophet Muhammad (“Salla Allahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam”), Islam does not recognize the Buddha as a prophet of God. Only the Unification Church and True Parents can bring the Saints together and bless the nations from the Parents’ perspective. Let’s give it up one time for our True Parents, because this is an incredible thing! (Applause)
You see, this is exactly what the prayer room at Cheon Bok Gung is all about. This is why we have the four great Saints there! I realized, “My God! The world tour is not just helping our churches externally. It is also about connecting to the spirit world and with our four great Saints that are here with us all the time”.
Brothers and sisters, now is the time for the UC to get to the world stage, to be recognized and to do something that no one else can do. As a tradition we have gone through too many things, our True Parents have gone through too much and our God has suffered too much. Now is the time to show what the Unification Church brings, that it brings this incredible unity that is unseen, that all the religions can come together to also give praise and thanks to True Parents on that day, and at the same time people of the nations and the world can also receive the blessing for their individual lives and families on that day.
When we see the Unification Movement coming out into the more and more public arena, not only doing our internal ceremonies, but now reaching out into the national sphere and being able to move the nation one person at a time, we can see that now we are moving into the next stage. In February it’s going to be our first year anniversary of the entrance into the Cheon Bok Gung and this is exactly the same time when the World Peace and Unification Heavenly Blessing Festival will be taking place.
We will have accomplished visiting all the sacred sites by December. So by that time all the lands will already be gathered. We are already offering devotions and prayer, not only in those nations, but while the lands are gathered here before we participate in the ceremony. Brothers and sisters, it is so important then for us as Cheon Bok Gung members, as people that come to Cheon Bok Gung and are in this incredible presence, to get back to the basics of our faith.
We are doing a national tour and also visiting churches nationally every week, and we are reminding them that we must get back to our basic prayers. We have to get back to the basics of faith, back to prayer. As you know Muslims are really amazing in their faith towards God and proclaiming God. We had an incredible time with amazing Muslims this time in Jerusalem. They pray five times a day, every day, without fail! This is a practice that over one billion Muslims around the world do every day! They are not just believers, church goers or Sunday faith believers. They are practitioners of their faith every single day. They bow down before God, humble themselves and worship only God, “La ilaha illallah Muhammadun Rasul Allah!” They bow down before Him every day as a form of their practice and devotion to God.
This kind of incredible practitioners cannot be moved, cannot be lead by people of weaker faith or less practice. They can only be moved by people who practice even more, who even practice loving God, centering themselves on God, bowing down before God, really offering their life to God, even more than this kind of practitioners. So it is up to us as Unificationists not only to gather the religious traditions and the leaders of those faiths but also to lead them to God and True Parents. And we do that not by the words that we preach but by the practice that we do, being practitioners of the Unification tradition, being practicing Unificationists.
Brothers and sisters at this time we have a big Blessing coming up in October, the 10/10 Blessing. We need everybody’s help to create great victory here on that day and to return glory back to God and True Parents that day. But that’s not all, because after that we are going to be preparing for the great True Parents’ Day festivities and for all the world religions’ teams that will be coming from across the world to celebrate with us on that day and all the nations’ people that will be also invited to the Cheon Bok Gung.
So in order to do that, we have to get back to our basic prayer life. We have to get back to giving devotion and living our life with prayer and devotion. Right now a couple of our leaders in Europe including our France National Leader couple Jean Francois and Isako-san are joining us with an eight-times-a-day prayer condition every single day. We are not trying to have a competition with Islam but by doing the practice every day we understand the heart of Muslims that pray every single day. We have now a greater respect for them, a greater appreciation for their practice and vice-versa they have a greater appreciation for our daily practice as well.
If our brothers and sisters from the Cheon Bok Gung membership also want to join in the eight-times-a-day prayer please see our hoonsa-nims. Our Mocksa-nim Michael Brazil can connect you with the hoonsa-nims. They will tell you the times in which our congregation is praying every single day eight times a day.
And we must remember that as we pray, as Unificationists, we don’t just pray for ourself. This is not how Unificationists pray. As Unificationists we pray on the eight stages. We first pray for God, that’s the first stage. We first lift up God, comfort God, we lift his Holy Name up; that’s what we do first, we pray for God.
The second thing we do, is the universal stage, just praying for the spirit world, for our ancestors, our four great Saints, our brothers and sisters that are up there with us, moving with us; we pray for them as well, acknowledge and remember them.
We also pray for the world at the third stage. We pray for the nations, the societies, the tribes. We pray for the families.
Then we reach the individual stage, where we are praying for our own lives. But when we pray for our own lives, we remember, that we ask God to use our life not for ‘my kingdom and my will’ to be done and ‘my’ purpose to be done but we ask God to use us for his purpose and ‘Thy kingdom and Thy will’. When we do this we start changing; our entire life begins to change and as we do this not once a day or once a week, we do this eight times a day at various times a day, focusing ourself every single day, then our life begins to change. We don’t become perfect, we don’t become flawless, no! But we start training and disciplining our mind and we become more centered every single day.
So brothers and sisters, it is now time for us at Cheon Bok Gung to start gathering the devotion, gathering the prayers, so that we can have great victory, not only in October, but also on True Parents’ Day, where we can show before the world the whole new level that the Unification Church is moving to, where all the nations’ blessings will now be coming into the fatherland and touching all the nations’ people and then of course going back out into the world.
Brothers and sisters, let’s all stand up at this point and let’s offer our prayers together as we finish up and close our sermon. Let’s lift our hands up and touch the face of God and wipe away his tears and let’s offer our prayers:
“Heavenly Father, we thank You so much for this day. Father, we thank You today, because You alone are great and You alone we worship, because Father You created the heavens and the earth and You created us. Father, we thank You so much; it is because of your grace and your love that we can even breathe at his time. It is because of You, that we can experience this moment and Father we thank You and want to uplift your name and remember the greatness of your love and your compassion and your mercy for us. Thank You so much!
Father, we also want to uplift and uphold the Heavenly True Parents, your earthly representative, Father, who has also liberated your heart and your mind from pain and anxiety and all the past failures of humankind. But Father now You are free, your mental anguish has been released and now You can be free, when you look at your children, know and have confidence that now True Parents’ words are spreading to the world and really uniting the world through our central blessed families.
Father, we pray also for the world, that we may come to unity. We pray for the nations, that as the scripture says, all the nations will bow down and every tongue will confess that the Lord is You. Father, we pray also for the societies, Father, the tribes and the families, that they may become central blessed families and offer their lives to Heaven and uphold your name. We thank You so much and we pray that You use us and Father use us in a great way. Use us beyond our mind’s capabilities and our expectations for ourselves. Father, use us for your purpose and your kingdom alone.
We thank You so much and we want to offer all these prayers also at the same time in humility recognizing that we are not perfect, but Father we need forgiveness and also we need to forgive other people who hurt us in our life. We thank You so much and we pray these things with a grateful heart, and Father, an excitement, that now we can glorify True Parents before the entire world, that we can glorify them and all the four great saints will help us and Father, truly allow them to bless the entire nation and the entire world.
We thank You so much. Build up our faith, let us start our prayer life again, and Father, let us train and train and practice and practice until our dying day. We want to offer all glory to You. We pray these things in our own names as central blessed families, we pray. Aju! Aju!