The Words of the Selle Family

Forever Young

Angelika Selle
September 10, 2006

Dear Family, brothers and sisters,

Good morning,

You might wonder why I chose todayís topic for the sermon and, moreover, what the title "Forever Young" has to do with the quote in Matthew 15: 17-20 that says, "not what goes into the mouth defiles a man but what comes out of the mouth."

First of all, the theme for this month of September is "The Power of the Word." Thus this Bible verse. I hope that by the end of this sermon you will be able to see the connection.

Isnít it true that ever since the beginning of time, mankind and womankind have longed for and looked for ways to stay eternally young and youthful and never die? We are all familiar with the search for the "Fountain of Youth".

I looked it up in the encyclopedia, and it says:

The Fountain of Youth is a legendary spring that reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its watersÖ.
A long-standing myth is that Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he traveled to Florida in 1513, but the story did not start with him, nor was it unique to the New World. Tales of healing waters date to at least the time of the 3rd century Alexander Romance, and were popular right up to the European Age of Exploration. Ö
There are countless indirect sources for the myth as well. Immortality is a gift frequently sought in legend, and stories of things like the philosopher's stone, universal panaceas and the elixir of life are common throughout Eurasia and elsewhere. An additional hint may have been taken from the account of the Pool of Bethesda in the Gospel of John, in which Jesus heals a man at the pool in Jerusalem.
The philosopher's stone, in Latin philosophi lapis, is a legendary substance that supposedly could turn inexpensive metals into gold and/or create an elixir that would make humans younger, thus delaying death. It was a longtime "holy grail" of Western alchemy.

As we can see, there is great longing and desire to stay young and live forever. Today this craving continues, and people, especially women, do all kinds of things to stay young -- getting face and body lifts, exercising, going on diets, etc. But we all know that ultimately no one can change the law of nature that our bodies are meant to become dust. Therefore, focusing on the body is not the answer in the quest for staying young.

However, there is a way to stay eternally young. What is that? We can stay young in our spirit. Yet, to stay young in spirit is not automatic in this wounded, confused and burdened world. That is what I want to talk about today

Becoming "old" in spirit -- meaning dry, depressed, hopeless, joyless, and lifeless, etc. -- definitely has to do with mankind separating from God in the very beginning. Mankind has separated from the eternal Fountain of Youth -- the Creator Himself, God -- and has lost the know-how to live a happy, exciting life of love in spirit and body and then pass on to the next world, which is a continuation of this world. People who focus only on their bodies and worldly affairs and have no internal or spiritual life grow "old" (in the sense weíre using here) quickly, even though their bodies might look quite young.

Let me now go into some very concrete and practical points as to how we can remain forever young, especially as Christians, believers, people of God, who have not only been called but chosen to represent Him and complete His work here on earth.

So simply put, if we seek eternal youth in spirit, the first thing we need to do is to develop our spirit and reconnect with God. There is no life without God.

1.) Prayer/ Life of Faith

I am not talking about prayer as a ritual or "condition" or tradition. I am talking about a living conversation and personal relationship with God. Anyone can start that at any given time, just by beginning to talk to God. The founder of this movement (not a church) -- we are about establishing a culture of family and peace, not an organization -- as well as many other saints and great men and women of spirit are always champions of prayer. What is prayer? Opening our spirit and heart up to God. As Father Moon says: "Prayer is like breathing, spiritual breathing." In other words without the connection to God through prayer, we are not breathing, we are suffocated, and become and remain spiritually stagnant and dead.

Father Moon says that prayer is also a conversation between God, the parent, and myself, the child. That means that I recognize and acknowledge that God is my parent that there is a subject over me, a Father who loves me, and I the child, His son or daughter. People who have that kind of childlike heart toward God, no matter how accomplished they may be in the world, look young like a boy or girl in the presence of Godís holiness. They put their worldly agenda aside and ask God to fill them up and work through them and use them. For example, Mother Teresa, in spite of her wrinkles and bent-over body, was full of life and energy. Also, the Dalai Lama. There was an article in the Washington Times newspaper at the time he came here to the MCI Center in which he was asked by the reporter: "How do you prepare for your speeches?" He simply said: "All I do is empty myself. I donít know what I am going to say."

Father Moon talks to us about becoming "zero," so that God can dwell within us. Why? Because of the Fall, we are burdened with sinful ways of thinking, feeling and acting. That is what makes us "old": SIN. And emptying ourselves and making ourselves available to God and being self-less, is a short-cut to dropping the baggage and living like a child. The more we get rid of sin, the younger and healthier our spirits become. (See Chung Pyung Providence)

Having the heart of a child. Our son Dominic sometimes prays the most amazing prayers. Something like:

"Dear Father, thank you for your creation. Since you created it, we donít deserve it, you gave us so much. We will come to your side, Father, and try to become true saints and sons and daughters of God, so you can have joy and happiness again. We pray that all bad people can become good people, and that the poor can have a rich life."

This kind of heart is very much needed at this time of "After the Coming of Heaven" in which we are about to let Godís original nature come through each of us and invest ourselves to make His dream a reality.

2.). What makes and keeps us young in spirit?

The word of God. Reading, deliberating, speaking and practicing Godís word, the truth, cleanses our hearts, our ways of thinking and feeling and brings us closer to God, the Source of life, and thus keeps us young. So what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 15: 17-21 is that when we speak words we have to be mindful where our heart is. Words and thoughts are powerful, words of love and truth can bring life and liberation and purity, whereas words and thoughts of hate, anger, selfishness and greed bring about murder, slander, hopelessness and death.

Nathaniel Hawthorne used the Fountain of Life image in his short story "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" to demonstrate that positive thinking is a far better remedy than deluded journeys to Florida for mythical cures. Such positive thinking makes us look bright, hopeful and attractive, whereas negative thinking, selfish thinking makes people look dark, miserable and dull. There is another side to the word of God and the love of God as it is being shared with others. They have the power to touch peopleís consciences and transform lives for the better. Not my word or your words have that kind of owner. In the Christian churches, believers are deeply aware of the power of the word in their own lives, how it transforms them and takes them to another level. Like my Nigerian friend Adeyanju. She always has a song of Jesus on her lips and remembers Bible verses, so when her son died last year, he was shot in a parking lot, she was permeated with Christís love and could carry that heavy loss with even a smile on her face. When I entered her house, I saw the face of Jesus, the kindness, the warmth, the love. She looked young, and contented, not hopeless and in despair.

Christians and believers of all faiths know that the word of God needs to be shared to impact on peopleís lives, and we are not the judge of when and how it the word affects someone. We do have the responsibility, though, to share it with others and let them know.

Spread the good news, spread the gospel. Thatís exactly what Father and Mother Moon are doing as we speak, together even with their children and grandchildren. It is an opportune time for that. When Hyun Jin Nim, who came here for the event last Sunday, spoke the next morning, as he addressed us he expressed over and over how excited he is about the vision of his father, which is also Godís vision of breaking barriers, focusing on common ground (God) the Blessing of Marriage, etc. which he believes will rock America once we get it out there.

He said it is time for our movementís members, who have allowed God to bring His providence to this point thus far, to now rejuvenate ourselves, make that vision and dream of God our own and share it wherever we go in whatever shape or form we can. "It must be given, if itís to endure." When talking to Kate Tsubata two days ago, she mentioned that she and Josh Berndt realized that only when we go out there and begin to see how people live will we realize what we have and who we are. In the words of Mother Moon WE ARE HAPPY PEOPLE!

Who remembers the days when we used to lecture and present the Divine Principle every day? Our spirit changed and we changed (Burt Leavitt at the CARP center looked so young in spite of his graying hair) and people around us changed.

Or see Mrs. Eu, who is 70 years old and looks like a 50-year-old. The truth when shared will give you a spiritual face-lift -- and save lives in the process.

At this time in history after the coming of Heaven, where God can dwell with us for the first time, everything can be re-created through the application of truth and love. By the way, our Second Generation, when they get it very soon, I hope, and run with it, they will be able to rock this world like no one else. (Remember the story of my own parents, which I shared here last time)

Finally 3.)

What keeps us young in spirit? Simply true love! To give an example at the last ACLC conference in the Bahamas, Mrs. Jenkins told me that she saw a huge transformation in Mrs. Edwards, the wife of Rev. Jesse Edwards. Why? For the first time in 20 years, he danced with her. Reiko said that Tanya Edwards was in heaven and looked like a little girl. Thus, thereís no question that love, true love is the one most powerful tonic to keep anyone young, even an old grandpa or grandma. I see it in my own mother, who is 80 years old; the love of her granddaughter made her very young in spirit and as a result also look physically 20 years younger.

Being in love with our spouse makes us look young. Most importantly, what makes us truly young is when we operate out of our hearts rather than out of our minds. Thatís where the true fountain of youth lies, in my opinion. People of heart never tire, get old, bored, negative or hopeless. As believers, Christians, people of God we have to watch out not to become stagnant, complacent and settled in our ways, just performing our daily routine even in the churches and services. We have to be careful not to merely show an outward form of godliness, while we inwardly thirst for the true power of godliness. We need to be genuine or true in everything we do and put our sincerity and heart in it. That is exactly how God is our Creator. In His innermost being, He is heart and love, He is genuine and He is not an old man but forever young. God is therefore the number one Optimist when it comes to human salvation. So what about us?

Father Moon is demonstrating to us what it is like when you are in love with God and live by His principles and reflect His character. At his advanced age of 86, according to his son, Father Moon is still the # 1 teenager when it comes to being optimistic, energetic and excited. We all know that none of us can keep up with him. He and his wife break any mold of aging in spirit.

Therefore, we as Godís people as co-workers with the True Parents of humankind are asked to rise to the occasion, leave the history of pain and suffering behind and focus on the new God, the liberated God and the original world.

How do we do that? Not through observation or study, but through a relationship of love and heart. That is the quickest way to inherit or find in ourselves the same qualities that God has and exhibit them. By practicing love!!!

In conclusion:

We are meant to stay forever young from the beginning, only sin has brought us away from that. To recreate our spirit to be and to stay forever young, we need to get in touch with God our Creator in the most passionate and intimate way, by talking to Him frequently in the position of a child, starting fresh every day, leaving old things behind us, looking forward and not thinking too much, rather staying in His word and His love 24/7, reading it, thinking it, practicing it, very importantly experiencing it and most of all sharing it with others rather than keeping it to ourselves.

I would like to conclude with the first verse of the song:

May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

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