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In Jin Nim 24 01 10

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At Loving Life Ministries, New York

At Loving Life Ministries, New York

Published in: Spiritual

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  • 1. Rev. In Jin Moon, Lovin Life Ministries Sermon, January 24, 2010 Rev. In Jin Moon, Lovin Life Ministries Sermon, January 24, 2010 Good morning, brothers and sisters. It’s so good to see you again. I wanted to start off this Sunday with a year in review, and not just because the video crew did such a phenomenal job of giving us little snapshots into what we’ve accomplished. Also it allows me a chance to thank the congregation for the lovely 40-some weeks of our time together. Lovin’ Life started out as a little dream in my mind, but to have it realized here at the Manhattan Center and to have it experienced each and every weekend together with our brothers and sisters from the Tristate area is really a dream come true. I want to thank all of you for being such wonderful participants and for being the jewels, if you will, that allow this Lovin’ Life Ministry to exist. So, can we give a round of applause to each other? This morning, when I was reflecting about what I would like to share with the congregation, I was reminded again that this incredible thing called belief in someone is really the reason why miracles happen. When I first introduced the concept of Lovin’ Life Ministries to the district leaders and the people on my team, the look that I got back said a million words in one split second. All those question marks! “Why New York? Why Midtown? Why Manhattan Center? It’s too far a commute! How do we get all of our communities excited about coming?” All these different questions came at me all at once.
  • 2. I expected that. In the weeks and months that followed, my team and I had to work together to make everyone see that something like this could be wonderful for our community and necessary in order to reinvigorate the Second Generation, as well as the Third and Fourth Generations that are to come. When I speak about my parents, I often use the possessive “my father; my mother,” because I want you to feel the same way I do. I want you to think of our True Parents as your father, as your mother, as people who belong to you, people with whom you can have an intimate conversation, an intimate relationship. In my deepest moments in conversation with our Heavenly Parent, I call him my father and my mother. I encourage all of you to do the same because it’s important to take ownership of the relationship that we have with the divine, as well as with our True Parents. In this hall, when we celebrate who we are, that we are the sons and daughters of our Heavenly Parent and our True Parents, it’s an invitation to own up to it, to be confident about it, and to let everybody know, “I am proud to be my father’s daughter; I am proud to be my mother’s daughter.” Because I am proud, if I can dream of a place where we as a community can come together and not just suffer together—just what Chris Alan sang about so beautifully—not just commiserate together, but to really celebrate life together in the joyous company of each other and in celebration of each other’s beautiful families, beautiful relationships, beautiful accomplishments, then this is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. When there was doubt and fear cast upon this dream of Lovin’ Life Ministries, I took that as a wonderful invitation to do greater work. Whenever God puts an obstacle in our path, it’s an invitation to just work harder and not give up, to just try a little bit extra. Let’s go that extra mile to overcome the mountain and see what’s waiting for us and to give ourselves a platform to have a voice in this world. Our movement is speaking the true words of our Heavenly Parent and our True Parents; it’s speaking the words that are ushering in the breaking news. People should hear what we have to say because what we have to say is the hope for the future. What we have to say is a good thing: It’s something that should be shared with everybody in America. When we visually and audibly look back and see the year in review, we can realize that what seemed like small steps and insignificant victories day by day are part of a whole picture, something that we were able to do for America. All of you sitting here at Manhattan Center, coming each and every weekend to celebrate life and love together as a beautiful community, are giving life to all the different states in America. And not just in America. You are giving life to many European countries that are following everything we’re doing every week. You are the instruments through which many brothers and sisters in the East and in South America can be reinvigorated in their faith and come to realize again how precious our True Parents are. As difficult as it was to get Lovin’ Life Ministries started, once we got going, there was no turning back. That’s the incredible thing about heart. When he was four years old, I once asked
  • 3. my youngest son, just out of curiosity, “What is love, Paxton?” And he gave me the most profound answer, which I contemplate and reflect on from time to time. He said, “Love is what makes the heart move.” I truly believe that. Regardless of how tough a week I’ve had here at headquarters, the minute I come into this hall and partake of this spirit of our community, I see the love that makes the heart move. Love is alive in this room, and it makes our hearts move. This is the secret ingredient that can change the world. I have seen it over and over again. It’s love that makes the heart move, and it’s the revolution of heart that can change the world. Just the other day a friend of mine sent me a YouTube video clip of a dog that was born without its two front legs. It was actually thrown away as a worthless creature and was scheduled to be put to death. But one woman believed that this dog had a purpose in its life and that maybe she could be the angel of love that could make this dog into an instrument of goodwill for the world. The extraordinary thing is that she took the dog home, as almost her own child, and began to love and nurture it. At the same time, she taught it different tricks. She actually taught the dog how to walk. The dog does not have two front paws, but with the help of this woman’s persistence, guidance, and love, it learned to walk like a human being. It’s a profoundly intriguing sight for anybody to behold a dog standing on its hind legs and walking bipedal, like a human being. It’s almost like animation made flesh. When you see that, you cannot help but be moved that something that was cast aside as worthless and condemned to death could come back and be an ambassador of goodwill because of the love this angel had. She simply decided to do good, convinced that this creature was made by our Heavenly Father and that there was a reason for it to be born without two of its legs. What she saw through the eyes of love is not what the dog didn’t have. When we look at our own children, or when we gaze upon the people we love, we don’t look at what they don’t have; we look at what they do have and what they can be. That’s the magic of love. Instead of this angelic woman looking at the dog missing two front paws, she saw what the dog could be if she gave it enough care and raised it up to be a goodwill ambassador. This dog is hitting the talk show circuit and all the late-night television shows. The dog is a miracle, a living testament to the power of love and of believing in something. By just believing in something, you’re giving birth to the opportunity of what can be. You’re giving birth to the dream, to the endless options and possibilities that exist if we just open up our spiritual eyes and start to look at each other with the eyes of love, with the eyes of seeing what we have and what we can be instead of seeing what we do not have. It’s not just about this dog. You can see this time and time again. There are countless stories of goodwill ambassadors, angelic men and women who, for example, give their lives to public school education, deciding that they will pick the most violent and most difficult schools to teach at. Hollywood has made movies about these men and women who came in alone but with the eyes of love realized that the only thing that they needed to do was to practice love and to believe that these struggling (and some would call them worthless) children could be transformed into
  • 4. students who can look forward to Ivy League educations, fantastic careers, and successful lives. It’s these teachers who make the difference. It’s not just the teachers; it’s the mothers and the fathers. It’s you in the audience who look at these beautiful specimens called our children, gifts from God. We look at them, and we treasure them, and we love them. But when we gaze into their eyes, we’re not gazing into what they don’t have. We’re gazing into what they do have, who they are, and what they can be. Here at Lovin’ Life Ministries we are reminded as parents to take stock of these beautiful gifts that God had given us. Instead of just seeing them as some human beings or physical bodies to be fed and taken care of, how wonderful if we as parents can nourish them not just physically but also spiritually and emotionally with our love, so that all areas of growth are taken care of. We’re not just physical beings here. We’re very much spiritual beings as well. We are also emotional creatures in that we need to feel love in order to be inspired. Wherever I go, I often am responding to parents who look to me as the senior pastor to help their child. Then I will usually look back at them and say, “The first step in taking care of your child is to be the parent,” meaning taking ownership. Instead of just looking for different people to help, they need to take stock and say, “This is our situation; this is a loving child of mine. How can I develop a loving, empowering, and supportive relationship with this child and make this child into somebody truly extraordinary in the future?” Let’s take the time to share in that quality time, no matter how busy we are. We adults can always make excuses, right? It’s much more fun to have a cup of coffee with our best friend than to talk with our teenage daughter who’s maybe going through some difficult things. Or it might be easier to leave the house and go grocery shopping when maybe our son needs some care because he’s not doing well at school. It’s not always easy to own up to the fact that God put our children in our care; it’s easier to shift the responsibility onto someone else. But if we can truly own up to the fact that we have an incredible opportunity as parents, at least for the first 18 years of our children’s lives, to leave lasting imprints of love and care, of support and guidance, we will find that it’s really the greatest gift. I always like to remind my husband and myself that many times the greatest blessing comes with the greatest responsibility. So when God gives us these greatest gifts called children, it comes with great responsibility. When I think about all the advantages that our children have growing up in an international community, I cannot help but be inspired and excited because here we have a chance to teach our children the importance of honoring our grandparents and of respecting our parents. We should not call our parents by their first names. We should respectfully call our parents, “Dear Mother, Dear Father,” and we should respectfully honor our siblings. If we have an older sister, we should honor her as an elder. And if we have a younger sister, we should honor her as well and try to encourage one another in a loving relationship. The vertical aspect, the Eastern aspect of honor, tradition, and respect is something that our children should learn and should practice. At the same time there is beauty in the Western tradition: the importance of a father communicating and having a conversation with his son, the
  • 5. importance of a mother having that conversation and quality time with the son and vice versa for the daughter, the importance of a husband and wife respecting each other and respecting the environment that they’re bringing up their children in—meaning that we should not invade our children’s air space with the bickering of our voices. We should respect our children as God’s children. We should respect each other as God’s sons and daughters as well. If we understand the proper context of the Eastern and the Western traditions at play in our own community, we realize that we can build something brand new here. We can build a heavenly culture, a heavenly tradition in which elders and parents are honored. My dear Second Generation, and the Third Generation, too, we must honor our parents. It is through the sacrifice of our parents and the First Generation that we exist and that we have the opportunity and the blessing to call ourselves blessed children. Where does that come from? It comes from our parents. No matter how difficult the dealings of each family might be, we must always honor and always respect our parents. That goes for those of us in the True Family, too. The True Family is still a work in progress. We are working toward building an ideal family, and as we deal with the day- to-day problems, we need to remind ourselves that the most important thing in our lives is our Heavenly Parent, up in heaven, and our True Parents, who are with us. If we can be proud and confident in our lives, then we have our True Parents to thank. If we have such a phenomenal movement that is composed of international representatives from all over the world such that we can look upon our church as one family under God, we have our True Parents to thank. As we go forward, what we need to think about is how we are going to treat each other. Right now we’re engaged in overcoming obstacles that need to be ironed out as we transition into the next millennium and into building this thing called the Generation of Peace. This is a time when our Heavenly Parent and our True Parents are asking all of us to be exercisers and appliers of true love. Yesterday when I spent some time with 160 leaders from around the country, one of the things that I stressed to them is the importance of practicing true love in our daily lives. It all starts with our True Parents. As the True Parents of humanity, they truly loved and gave everything that they had to the First Generation, to the early membership of our movement, to the leadership of our movement. I don’t know how many times the True Children were told over and over again: “I am sacrificing you in order to love the Cain children. I am sacrificing you to love the leadership of the movement. I am educating them and spending time and raising them up to be great leaders so that they can represent God, our Heavenly Parent, and True Parents well. And if they truly understand the purpose of their position in the history of the providence, then they will realize that as those who received the most complete love from our True Parents, they should likewise be the exerciser of that true love themselves and apply that true love to the True Children. And that allows the True Children to grow up and to exercise true love again by raising up and loving the First Generation’s children, or the Second, Third, and Fourth Generations.”
  • 6. This is how the power of true love becomes manifested and substantiated in the body of our American movement and the worldwide movement. It’s Principle 101. But you know what? Sometimes the simplest principles are the most difficult to carry out. In these different relationships where we exercise true love, where we honor each other, where we support and empower each other, there is no room for doubt. There is no room for fear. There is no room for jealousy. The only room we need to have for ourselves is love: the power of love, including the way we can exercise it and the way we can experience it each and every day of our lives. In that way we become like incredible weavers. In weaving, there’s a thread that goes up and a thread that goes down. The thing about human character is that we like to go up, but we don’t like to go down. But the simple principle of weaving a beautiful fabric, a beautiful tapestry, is the movement of up and down on this beautiful thing called the Principle, which is like a grid. How we move up and down is by exercising true love in our daily lives. Sometimes when you want to make a long stroke, you have to go deeper and cross over a couple of grids, not just one, before you can come up again. It’s the natural process of life. It’s like inhaling and exhaling. No matter how great we are, if we’re constantly inhaling, we will turn blue and cease to exist. Or if we’re constantly exhaling, just giving and giving and giving and not taking in, not replenishing, not being healthy human beings, we will have very little left to give. When we look at the four seasons, we realize that the universe revolves in cycles. We as human beings operate in a certain cyclical manner as well. Just as there is night and day, when we breathe, we exhale and we inhale. When we have relationships upon this grid that we call the Principle, there are times when our thread rises high, and there are times when our thread dives deep below in preparation for the next glorious color, to enhance and to grace this beautiful tapestry called our movement. Brothers and sisters, when we think about what we are as a movement and who we are in context with our Heavenly Parent and our True Parents, we realize that, first of all, we are divine beings. But second of all, we have a responsibility to illuminate the world with the divinity that exists within us. It’s our responsibility to share our beauty with the rest of the world. I’ve been asking the Second Generation, What are your passions? What can you be passionate about in your life? It might be a call to ministry. It might be a call to break open a box of acrylics or oil paints and brushes and to grace a canvas with a beautiful painting that exists in your mind. Or it might be a call to sit at the piano for a good many hours to hone your skills so you can one day play for our congregation here on the stage at Lovin’ Life. It’s important to be excited, to be passionate, and to be loving life because that’s what makes us feel alive. We need to feel alive in the spirit of our Heavenly Parent, in the spirit of our True Parents, and in the spirit of the divinity that we hold within us, waiting to come out and waiting to be expressed. There are some people in this world who like to say, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” But when you gaze upon the old dog with the eyes of true love, you can teach the old dog new
  • 7. tricks. If the First Generation was excited and invigorated about meeting our Heavenly Parent and True Parents a long time ago, you can teach an old dog new tricks in that they can be re- inspired. When the First Generation gets inspired by understanding their sacrifice as laying the foundation to reap a huge harvest in their children, their grandchildren, and the brothers and sisters around the world, then they realize that everything that they have gone through is really a preparation for what’s to come. They went through the harsh winters, through the difficulties of the leaves falling from the branches. But we have to understand that our Heavenly Parent has always loved us and continues to love us; spring is right around the corner, waiting to shine upon our community. In the Bible, Matthew 9:28–29 has a conversation of Jesus Christ and a blind man. Jesus asks him, “Do you have faith? Do you believe that I am able to do what I am able to do?” The blind man replies, “Yes, Lord.” It’s interesting what Jesus asks the blind man. He doesn’t say, “Do you believe in miracles?” He doesn’t say, “Do you think that your belief in me will heal you?” What Jesus Christ says is, “Do you believe that I can do this?” What our True Parents are asking our movement is the same thing. Does the movement believe that True Parents are True Parents? Do the brothers and sisters of the American movement believe that our True Parents came to usher in a world of peace, to bring up a Generation of Peace, to help build ideal families for each of them? Do we believe? Our True Parents are asking us whether we believe that they are able to do what they are able to do. It’s a profound question that we should think about in light of the trials and tribulations that our movement had to bear last year. I’m sure that just as many great victories will be won this year; great victories come with difficulties and suffering, too. This is a time when we need to be asking ourselves exactly what Jesus was asking the blind man. It’s interesting that the blind man is a metaphor for people who do not see: for the people who have not opened up their spiritual eyes to realize who Jesus Christ really is, for the people who have not opened up their spiritual eyes to see who True Parents are, namely, that they are God’s servants and God’s chosen teachers for all of us. It is only through uniting with them, through acknowledging them with our faith, that we can say, “Yes, Jesus, I believe that you are able to do what you are able to do. Yes, True Parents, I believe that you are able to do what you are able to do.” That firm conviction and that firm acknowledgement of who they are and what they are capable of allows for the foundation of faith that enables us to experience, reap, and harvest the foundation of substance. So the blind man’s eyes were opened when he acknowledged Jesus as God’s chosen representative and he believed that Jesus was able to do what he was able to do. It was upon that firm conviction and that belief that God could exercise his power of love and his power to work in mysterious ways, healing the blind man’s eyes. Likewise, in this time of confusion, we must not be blind. We must open up our spiritual eyes, our heartistic eyes, and realize who our True Parents are, why they are here, and why it is so important that we stay connected in oneness to the pure heart that our True Parents are calling for in the motto of this year.
  • 8. Let us remain vigilant in our hearts and understand why True Parents are here and why they must be the ones with whom we must be unified in spirit, in heart, and in all that we do. The power of love, which turned a worthless, condemned dog into a goodwill ambassador traveling all around the world, can turn those students who are marked as worthless to society into men and women who will become future politicians, future ministers, and future great teachers of the world. Many times when we’re thinking about loving our children, we understand that as not putting the children to work. I’ve seen time and again as I visited different families that walking into the kitchen is usually a great litmus test of how the family works. When you walk into a functioning and efficiently run household where the parents are respected, where the children are cared for, where the brothers and sisters are truly loved, what you see in the kitchen is maybe a dad peeling some potatoes, maybe a mom manning the stove, maybe a daughter cleaning the dishes, and maybe the son taking out the garbage or setting the table. It’s a concerted effort. I see in a lot of homes that it’s only the mother in the kitchen. The child never goes in, never does any work, never learns to clean the dishes properly, never learns to put away the plates in their proper place, never learns to take out the garbage without the mother asking. It’s these simple little mundane things that we do as a family that need to be taught. In an Asian family, when you first come into the household, the daughter-in-law usually heads for the kitchen and usually remains there, so while the family eats, the daughter-in-law makes sure that everything is prepared, taken care of, and cleaned up. I don’t think that’s the heavenly way. But there is something beautiful in understanding that the first thing you want to do for your in-laws is to serve them. How wonderful if we introduce a bit of the Western tradition there! So when we see a new sister-in-law heading toward the kitchen, maybe a younger brother could say, “Let me help you.” Or the father and mother could say, “Let’s prepare the meal together,” and it would be a beautiful experience. We have something phenomenal in this thing called the Unification movement. Not only are you beautiful on the inside, but you’re beautiful on the outside as well. If we can encourage our children to be beautiful both internally and externally as they navigate their lives, and if we can be that constant source of love and of a belief system that helps them believe in themselves, there is no limit to what our children and our community can accomplish. The only limit is the one that exists in our minds. I’ve seen that time and time again. When I first attended a Russia–America Association piano concert, I walked in and saw phenomenal pianists playing. I looked at them and immediately said, “Oh, I don’t think my kids could do that.” But the minute I changed my thinking and said, “If they can do it, why not mine? Of course my children can do it.” Then I believed that they could do it, which allowed them to believe that they could do it. So it’s the belief of the parents that gives the belief to the children. As a movement, let’s believe in all the possibilities that we can accomplish this year. We were talking about one example of a megachurch that started out with a congregation of 600, grew to 15,000, and now is looking toward 30,000. I’m sure a lot of people back then said to themselves,
  • 9. “Impossible!” But by utilizing the CDs and video equipment that they had, they could touch 15,000 people. Think about the Manhattan Center. This was prepared by our True Parents and our Heavenly Parent. We have everything we need here to touch America. So I asked the national leaders, state leaders, and district leaders to continue to support our efforts here at Lovin’ Life because, although we may be in New York, through the Manhattan Center’s facilities and the equipment available here at our fingertips, we can touch all of America. Not just America, but we can touch the world. When we ask ourselves how we should be toward each other, I would have to say, let’s start by believing in ourselves. Let’s start by believing in each other. Many of us are looking for the signs of the divine, hunting for angels in our daily life. The angels that we’ve been hunting for might be sitting right next to you or right behind you. We are Heavenly Father’s gift to each other, so the only thing we need to do is to dream, to dream about the possibilities of how we can share the breaking news with America and the world and how we can effectuate a change, starting with ourselves, just by believing in ourselves and believing in each other. Then this goodwill, this good power of true love, will start becoming contagious and will affect everybody. Before we know it, we can be celebrating life and loving life each and every day of our lives. I believe that that is why we are here; I believe that this is the reason why we breathe. But more than that, we have the opportunity to not just breathe but to love and to experience love. We have the chance to make the world hear our voices, to hear the news that our True Parents are here. What could be more beautiful, brothers and sisters? We have a lot of work to do in this coming year, but a lot of exciting things are happening. So take heart and know that our True Parents and our Heavenly Parent love you and love America. Please face each day with the belief in yourself that you are here for a divine purpose and for a divine reason, that you and I are here to illuminate the beauty of who we are and share it with the world. So God bless. Have a wonderful Sunday and a lovely week.