The Words of the Schanker Family

Foundation Day and Our Journey

Phillip Schanker
January 20, 2013
New Hope Family Church
Landover Hills, MD

What is Foundation Day, and how can I have any part in it? Not just participate in an event but really participate in the experience and meaning and connect it to myself and my life. It's not easy.

Why did you join the church? Many people joined because of the Messiah. I didn't. I'm glad I didn't. But I totally respect that joining for the Messiah is in understanding this is God's will and it encompasses all the other reasons I'm going to talk about. But I'm glad I didn't sit in a presentation and say, 1917, 1930? Oh, God, I have to do this. Which a lot of us felt and that was God's call and a compelling call.

But what are some of the other reasons that you felt compelled to be part of this community? Why did you join? A lot of us joined for love. We experienced love in the center, the community that we visited. The Principle. The truth of the Principle. Felt God's call. The ideal world is a big thing for a lot of us. Feeling the grace of God. That's not something to easily come by in our church; we feel the burden of responsibility and haven't always been aware of the grace.

Personally, I really struggled that the world wasn't fair. I felt, how come I was born in America and have all this opportunity? I asked my parents, my pastor, other people when I was young. Justice. Religious people have a sense that somewhere behind the world that there is absolute justice, an authority, where good reaps an eternal reward and evil reaps eternal consequences, that we're accountable for our actions. But the world doesn't manifest that right away, does it? The world is off its axis. That disturbed me.

One big aspect of Father's life, his 80-year foundation-building, his 12-year Cheon Il Guk period and the meaning of Foundation Day is about justice and about love. When we talk about an ideal world, then no justice, no peace. It's what oppressed peoples are crying out. Don't tell me to be peaceful if there isn't justice, righteousness, and that evil reaps its own consequences. I think Father lived his life to establish the basis for those things in a real and substantial way.

Meaning of Cheon Il Guk

When I look at 80 years of Father's life, very specifically for Father justice was about re-establishing God's ownership, the sovereignty of goodness. Jesus talked about that. Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God, the kingdom where goodness rules. The Korean word for heaven is "Cheon." The Korean word "Guk" means sovereignty, national sovereignty. Cheon Il Guk, one heavenly nation where goodness rules, where it's not about the external systems that punish or reward.

When you live righteously by your conscience, stand straight, as Father says living with no shadow, high noon, God is the sun in the center of the sky, goodness rules, and when you live by that principle you reap the natural reward of prosperity and growth and heart and development. And when you live outside that principle, it's not somebody else's price you're paying, it's your emotional struggle, your difficulty. And I truly believe your emotional struggle and your difficulty is the result of how you live. I believe that Father's been proclaiming that era.

I believe that starting from True Parents through blessed central families, if you watch your life, you can observe that reality. You're not paying historical prices. It's now about us figuring out what we have to do to become the people we are meant to be, and that we're more free in this coming era to do that, with less baggage and barriers, other than the baggage and barriers that we still have to work on.

Father's Life Course

Father lived 80 years of his life to pull God's ownership down onto the earth, first through his own mind and body, through absolute faith, love and obedience to God, to become a man that would unshakably be a true son to God, which Jesus embodied in his life. And then Father raised a woman, after lots of trials and lots of difficulties, and guided her in a course of absolute faith, love and obedience through unshakeable oneness, in attendance with God in the center. And then they expanded that through what we understand is eight specific stages that haven't been easy, haven't been perfect, but expanded through his own family and through blessed central families to bring heaven down to the earth, to bring God's ownership and control so that it's not outside the world, so that it's not in the shadows. Behind everything that's happening, in the background we know that there's absolute justice and that Father wants to bring that into the world. That's what he lived his life to do.

The second thing Father lived for is love. But love, to True Parents, is not just the emotional feeling and you try to be good and noble and care about people. Love has a specific order and principle and process. They had to create a framework and plant it in three generations so that people can experience four realms of love and heart, can feel as children their own value and identity from unconditional love pouring into through lives from united parents.

I know our lives aren't there. We didn't do it quite that way. None of us experienced that, but that's the path we're on, that our children can create a better framework for their children. After experiencing that children's love, to have sibling love to learn to be faithful, considerate, reliable, trustworthy, and to begin to care about another person at least as much as myself. To learn sometimes to put another person's needs before my own. Then conjugal love where we create something unique and exclusive that graduates us to unconditional parental love. In Father's mind, based upon the historical foundation of lineage -- unless that framework is solidly planted through three generations, people can't come back to and realize original human nature.

We pledge to create the four great realms of heart and three great kingships. We talk about creating the realm of the royal family. That doesn't mean we all follow a royal family. We all create that realm. So yes, we're not there yet. We have a ways to go. But Father lived 80 years of his life to solve the problem of an unrighteous world by creating the foundation for heaven to rule, for goodness to rule.

In the midst of this confused and dark world, starting from True Parents, that's what is being created. That is what this Cheon Il Guk era is all about.

Also, Father lived his life to create a framework to end the most painful suffering in the world, selfish love, abusive love, the things we do because of our pain and our insecurities and our inability to open, to create a framework for true love. True love means authentic. I know we're tired of the word "true." To rediscover our original capacity to love as God intended, for God to live in that love.

So, 80 years of Father's life, very specific. Forty years as an individual, 21 years to create a foundation for the world, then entering the era of True Parents, bequeathing it to his children. And although that was an up-and-down and challenging course, three sons stood up. Father had an idea that one of his sons, the youngest, would manage that internal process, and another of the sons would manage the process of creating that in the world. We're still in process.

Then after that 80-year course, Father turned and offered it all to God. We had a coronation ceremony for our Heavenly Parent to be the king, not of eternity and the cosmos, but of this human world.

Then, these last 12 years have been kind of crazy, kind of usual. What did Father do most during these last 12 years? What's the one activity he did more than anything else? Hoon Dok Hae -- 12, 14, 17 hours a day. Was that because Father was old and tired and liked to hear his own words? No, no. It's because the Word is the center of our tradition; not personality, not position, not someone's inspiration. We need to live by the standard of the truth. Jesus said that the Word is the judge for each of us in the last days. Jesus said, I didn't come to judge the world. I came to save the world. But every person who hears my Word and doesn't follow it will be judged -- not by any person, not by any law, but by the standard of the Word itself. We all are measured by that.

If you think that's harsh, remember grace. And don't ever be cynical about grace. "Oh, holy wine again; how many times have we drunk that stuff already?"

We learned about God who can't realize his ideal without you personally. And He knows better than you do who you are and what your potential is. And He is patient and long-suffering because He took responsibility from the very beginning. God loves you and me not because of who we are or what we do. It's about who He is, She is. And True Parents reflect that unchanging commitment.

Not a Goal, but a Journey

As we grow we start to realize it's less and less about some fixed goal and it's more about the journey. Perfection isn't some static state that we reach. It's even the wrong translation of the word. It's about the process, about the journey. In America you can often hear people saying, "I'm spiritual but not religious." Well, I think that's not just liberality. I think it's a growing awareness that rather than being controlled by external rules and systems and organizations and the feeling that we have to meet somebody else's expectations, it's understanding that behind the whole thing is an unconditional love. When you discover that, then all the junk that pisses you off starts to roll off like water off a duck's back.

Number one, Father focused on Hoon Dok Hae during these 12 years to establish the Word, and he asked every family to have give and take with that on a constant basis because it changes your perspective and solidifies and strengthens your capacity to deal with difficulties and challenges and love issues.

When I talk about love and justice I'm talking about God's sovereignty and the blessing tradition that Father lives to create. And part of Father's course is to get into all the corruption of sexuality and heal and restore it. That's what Father called the cross of love. And the end result is that Father became intimately aware of the holiness of sexuality, of the presence of God in holy sexuality. And holy sexuality doesn't begin when you get blessed or you start your marriage. It begins with the four realms of the heart and our own self-identity and confidence and living to be open and trusting and to build true intimate relationships, so in that freedom God can be present.

During these 12 years Father did a lot of things to solidify his 80-year foundation and offer it all to God, and announced this culmination for January 13, 2013. Besides establishing the Word, Father did a lot of things to create some semblance of a nation. All of his life he wanted one nation to honor the Principle, one nation to embody it as a foundation for the world. Couldn't get it done. We're not where we want to be. We're not where Father wanted us to be.

Father wasn't where Father wanted to be. So he became more urgent. Did you notice? More desperate, more crotchety, more cranky, more impossible. You should hear Hyung Jin Nim's testimonies about his dad for the last year and a half. He's pretty honest about being beaten up sometimes because of Father's urgency. Father could be 150 and still be ticked off and not want to leave the earth. He's a compulsive messiah. He's a heavenly micro-manager, who wants to keep messiah-ing all the time, every single time.

Father created the semblance of a nation by uniting Jews, Muslims, Christians and Unificationists and creating what he called the fourth Israel, and had them do profound conditions like Christians taking down their cross and loving the Jews; Jews coming to love the Muslims, etc. And Father guided clergy to fulfill all kinds of internal conditions to create the foundation for the dream of Cheon Il Guk.

And to plant the blessing, to recreate true love, Father bequeathed the family matching process to parents, giving all of True Parents' authority and foundation. And also created the Cheon Il Guk standard, a small group of the purest of our sons and daughters where Father could create a textbook of the standard prior to the fall.

Then for sovereignty there were a lot of coronations. I maintain it's not because Father has a crown fetish. These were profound and meaningful steps in pulling down God's authority, starting with Heavenly Father himself, opening up this era these last 12 years. And then healing the heart of Jesus. Were any of you there when Jews, Christians and Muslims and Unificationists gave a crown to Jesus? Remember we planned to do it in a hotel ballroom, safe from the outside world, and Father called up and said, "Not on your life! Public park, 10,000 people minimum. Make sure the media is there."

Historically the deepest pain in spirit world, Father said, is of the son who knew what he promised his father he would do, and in his pain said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do; it's not their fault, Father." His own pain, plus the pain of a father who couldn't prepare enough for his son, and asked his son, the one loving, devoted son -- talking about God and Jesus -- to be the sacrifice for the people who didn't give a crap about God. Were enemies of God. So Father placed a crown in Jerusalem on Jesus' head.

And then building the foundation of authority of the True Parents, from king and queen of all blessed families. You can analyze it and explain it, detail by detail, every single step. But those things, they kind of boggle my mind. Seven eights, eight sevens. So much symbolism. What it means is Father is, establishing a foundation. The Original Palace and settlement. An era where God can dwell, come down on earth.

A Historical Offering

On all of that foundation, what is Foundation Day? First and foremost, I believe, it's the ultimate offering of everything that Father accomplished in his life, to open up the foundation of a new era. So, our Mother is extremely concerned that every single continent pull together the testimonies of everything that was done and create beautiful historical records and make an offering of all of this foundation.

Let me talk about that for a moment. I've followed Father for 40 years, and before we talk about the logic of who he is based on the Principle and revealing the Fall and the dream he lived and the life he's lived, the simple fact that he taught me what it is to be a man. He taught me what it is to be a husband. He taught me why I'm on this earth. He gave me his dream. I love Father for his dream.

The normal process of life is young people are idealistic and dreamers, and as they get older the dream dies and they get practical and cautious and negotiating and careful. I love Father for his dream, for allowing me to remain young, allowing me to remain a visionary, allowing me to remain hopeful for the future.

I've got to be there because this is Father's whole life. If I joined for justice and I joined for love and I joined for ideal and peace then what did I do these last 40 years, and what does it all mean? I want to be part of that experience. I want to be there with the man who gave his life for me.

I think it's not easy to understand the meaning of Foundation Day. Number one, we didn't expect Father to depart so quickly. I'm not sad about that. Think about it. Ninety-three years, who lived larger than Father? Who lived out loud more than Father? Could he do anything more to clarify who he is, what he believes in? There's really nothing more that Father can do. I know he wasn't where he wanted to be, but Father is the man who all throughout his life pulled together whatever offering -- whether it was the crushed brain of his second son in a tragic accident, whatever condition -- Father pulled that together, offered it to God and built on it. And as I read the Scripture, that's what I see God doing all the time.

The Reason for Three Weddings

Secondly, Foundation Day is True Parents' wedding. Not one, not two -- three weddings for True Parents. Why? There are several reasons. Number one, 1960, in that blessing, Mother wasn't yet mature. She was 17. For specific reasons. She was young. They were surrounded by negativity and struggle. People weren't united. There were all kinds of difficulties. There wasn't the foundation of the lineage. That was the Marriage of the Lamb actually, which I'll explain in a second.

The second ceremony, in 2003 Father called the ceremony to open the gates of Cheon Il Guk, to open the gates of this 12-year period. That was with Mother having gone through many trials and tribulations, gone through the woman's era, become the person going out there, raised her heart and standard of oneness with Father and with God, and having been proclaimed as victorious to open the gate for all women. Also, there was now the foundation of a lineage. Three sons had stood up. God had his three kingships, meaning three generations of God, True Parents and True Children. There was, despite the trials and tribulations, a foundation of inheritance.

This third one, in 2013, is about the absolute opportunity for God to dwell in and experience through this man and woman all of the realms of heart, all of the intimacies and closeness and connection and qualities that he meant to participate in from the beginning. Have you noticed that Father in this last 12 years started talking about the God of Night and the God of Day? I believe that it's because when Father arrived at that place, he understood for the first time. Before Father was a grandfather, he never talked about three great kingships. Before Father experienced these things, he didn't teach them.

But suddenly in this Cheon Il Guk era Father is talking about a God who's in a sense disunited, mind and body. God before the creation, who dreamed the dream, who was absolute and complete in himself, that's the God of Night. But when that God acted to manifest in creation -- his body, so to speak -- that's the God of the Day. And when that creation, centered on people, didn't become what he dreamed, there was disunity. So Father's talking about bringing them together on that day, for God to fully embody in human beings, to experience what he intended to experience through us.

There's another reason for those three weddings. There are three great pains for God in terms of his ideal of realizing the true, loving family. The first was when a self-centered spiritual being invaded and falsified marriage. The second is when his children, having been thus defiled, came together in a false wedding, Adam and Eve. And the third is when the next Adam could never realize his marriage on the earth. So going the opposite way, healing these things, reversing these things, rebuilding these things, the marriage in 1960 was the Marriage of the Lamb. Who's the Lamb? Jesus is the Lamb. That represented a healing for Jesus' inability to realize the family.

True Parents' blessing in 2003 represented Adam and Eve. It was so special to see Father and Mother at that age in wedding gown and tux. It was cute. It represented Adam and Eve's original marriage. And this third one represents the healing of the spiritual invasion of the angel, who falsified marriage with Eve.

I'm not saying Father is supposed to be in the spiritual world. I don't need that kind of justification to explain how life works, or think it's all meant to be. I just don't think that way. But I think it's poignant that Father is in the spiritual world, representing the mystical God of Night, and Mother is on earth. It's like Jesus who ascended as the Lord and the Holy Spirit came down to earth to encourage and comfort and guide and bring the believers together. I think it's profound and important.

But maybe the most important thing about Foundation Day for you and me is that it's True Parents' invitation to all blessed families, current and future, to be reconciled to True Parents' lineage. It's our opportunity to be renewed.

And I want to say again, don't ever be cynical about grace. God will never, ever treat you any other way. He's never going to turn his back and say, that's it. It's the 473rd time you've screwed up; it's the last straw. I'm done with you; I'm going to go find somebody who I can rely on. Because he knows who you truly are.

And really, it's about you and I figuring out what we have to do. Sometimes parents say, this is the last time! I'm done with this if you mess up this time. No, God's trying anything he can do to get us up off our -- you know. It's all about that.

So, I want to participate in Foundation Day. Not an event. I don't want to prepare for an event, whether I go to Korea or here or there. I want to participate in the experience. So what can I bring? I don't have much to bring. I should be the embodiment of Divine Principle. That's what I'm supposed to do. I'm not there yet. But I can make a condition to study the Principle, and that's one of the things suggested. I should have my tribe, but I'm nowhere near that one. But I could bring somebody I love and their spouse to experience the blessing. Or I could distribute a book that testifies to my True Father. I could do whatever.

But you know what? A nation needs not only sovereignty and leadership -- it needs citizens. There's no Cheon Il Guk without people in it. And we are what Father has. That's it. So True Parents are inviting us because they don't want to be alone in Cheon Il Guk. And so always when they have the foundation, they create a condition of grace to reconcile us to them. For heaven's sake -- pray in Phillip Schanker's name? Are you kidding?! In other words, Father bequeathed his foundation so that I pray in the name of a blessed central family. In 1958 he said he would do that. He said, in the future you'll pray in the name of your own blessed family. But I'm not there yet internally. So Father knows he's used us and used America and used events to build this foundation. And so, the fact is that even though we're not fully the content of it, Father can justify that in front of God.

So, we're reconciled to Father again, so we should participate with whatever offering, in my view. And I'll be proud to stand there next to you, especially here in the Washington community, all that we've gone through. But I want to bring what I have, whatever offering I have, and participate on that day.

It's easy to have questions and concerns about all the struggles that have taken place, and how can there be a foundation and how can I be worthy? I want to remind you of something: 2,000 years ago when Jesus hung on the cross, he had nothing and nobody. But he said, "It is finished." He proclaimed. What silly words were those? But Father taught us that once a spiritual foundation is accomplished, it's inevitable for the result to come. Jacob got the name of victory, Israel, before he had embraced Esau. He got the name after he defeated the angel, made the spiritual victory.

Do you remember when we did a skit about Jacob and Esau, in front of True Parents? Kevin McCarthy, John Haydon. Father called us up to his room afterward and he said, "You guys made one mistake." We had included a boxing match between Kid Angel and Jacob. Father said, you should have had Kid Angel take off his championship belt and give it to Jacob. "You guys don't understand: once the spiritual victory is done, it's inevitable what will happen on earth."

Who could have dreamed when Jesus hung there on the cross alone that a billion people would follow him? Call him God, call him Son of God. Who would have dreamed that we would measure the dates around this man's life? So, before Father went in the hospital the last time, he prayed, and in his prayer he said, four times, "Everything is accomplished."

An Unparalleled Foundation on Earth

I submit to you that the foundation that True Father has on the earth is unparalleled to anyone in history. Now he had a little help -- he had airplanes and computers. Jesus didn't have that stuff. But it's not about who's better or worse. It's a team effort, right? To me there is no question that this standard, this teaching, the ideal of the three blessings, this beautiful vision of family, the intimate understanding of the holiness of sexuality, that this will impact the world.

But now it depends on us because that's the meaning of these 12 years. Father was desperate to create a foundation for the world to inherit his life and tradition. That's why he wants us there. And if you feel distant or unreconciled or unclear, Father wants to invite everybody there to be reconciled and renewed as the direct descendants of True Parents -- because we're not enough. And also, there have been other suggestions about ways of demonstrating sincerity through simple financial offering and conditions of bowing and things like that. I don't believe we're going to be checking -- what did you do? Are you worth it? I'm not your judge. True Parents aren't your judge. Our conscience and truth is our judge. So, it's kind of "come as you are," in my opinion.

If there's a situation that you're in that's difficult but you're trying to make it work, then come as a family. Or represent your family. Come with what you have and come as you are.

I'm going to finish with this. Last night when I shared some of these things with the young people, I was thinking about being part of this great global accomplishment of Father. There were several questions that reflected, "Well, it sounds like you're saying that nothing really is going to change on that day." Well, definitely I'm not looking for a cataclysmic event. But I do think Father will be empowered spiritually to act and to move.

I also believe that we will be able to act and move more freely, but I don't think miraculously our portions of responsibility will all be taken care of. I think we still have our work cut out for us. It gives us pause to think that the world has to learn this tradition through us, but when I hear the singing this morning, when I see the young people leading, I am inspired and hopeful. Right now my goal is, with all of the tragedy and challenge that we faced in the last year, to use this opportunity to make something healthy and better and to continue moving forward. I can see that's really happening here. 

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