The Words of Hyung Jin Moon From 2010
It was part preaching, part pilgrimage and part diplomacy to religious opinion leaders. Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, President of the Unification Church International, rallied with church members in Italy, France, Germany and the United Kingdom in the last week of August, sharing the breaking news of the Messiah's advent and inviting Unificationists of all ages to meet and greet him for the first time.
Accompanied at every step of the way by his wife, his sister in law [Yeon Ah Choi Moon], and a number of other Unificationists, Rev. Moon, the youngest son of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, 90, visited families in their homes, prayed at the Vatican, spoke in town halls and at the British Parliament. His goal was to share his message with Unification Church members, speak to public officials, and to learn more about the religious heritage of Western Europe.
Rev. Moon is the international president of the Unification Church and the Family Federation for World Peace and has been designated by his father, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, as the person to carry on his religious work.
Rev. Moon began his tour in Rome on Aug. 24, 2010 and later visited Paris, where he said he was shocked to hear from church members that "in France you cannot talk about God in public, you have to keep your religion at home." Rev. Moon observed that "There are many people in Europe who are not happy with secularism and modernism, but while Christians have allowed God to be excluded from public life, Muslims are very assertive about their faith and their prayer life. They recognize clearly that Jesus was a man, not God; and they are very clear that they will not let anyone walk on them because of their faith. This is also what Christians and Unificationists should be doing. Muslims want to see if they can respect us; how serious is our faith? In much of Europe, Christianity was fading when God sent Islam in the seventh century."
Hyung Jin Moon was born in 1979 in New York and is the seventh and youngest son of Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. He and his wife Yeon Ah Lee live in Seoul, Korea and conduct a number of religious services in both Korean and English each weekend at the recently-opened Unification Temple. The temple features a prayer room that includes four paintings honoring four great saints or founders of religion: Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and Confucius. This was Hyung Jin Moons' first visit to Europe, prior to which he participated in a Universal Peace Federation Middle East Peace Initiative program in Jerusalem and addressed a "Rally for Substantial Peace," which followed similar events held in Seoul and New York in July.
Rev. Moon received his B.A. from Harvard University and an M.A. from Harvard Divinity School; and when studying at the Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions, he met the leader of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, the Venerable Bub Jang, and pursued an interest in Buddhism, which he studied and practiced in earnest. He has also met and shared with the Dali Lama. He later explained that after growing up in the West in a Christian environment, he wished to understand more about the Eastern spiritual tradition. He also has demonstrated skill in martial arts, which he has practiced since he was very young.
In his sermons Rev. Moon often quoted extensively from various scriptures, and in Germany mentioned that he wished to study further the world's religious scriptures in their original language, in order to deeply understand the spirituality behind each religion.
On August 29, 2010, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon spoke on the power of prayer and expressed appreciation for the spirituality of other world religions at a meeting of 1,200 Unification Church members in Limburg Town Hall, Germany. He told his audience in Limburg that at Harvard he had studied all the major religions and also newer religions, including Mormonism, Bahai, Soka Gakkai and Unificationism. He said the information on Unificationism had been very fair and positive, including Father's meeting with Jesus (Unificationists refer to Reverend Sun Myung Moon as "Father," and his wife, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon, as "Mother,") his being tortured and put in prison, and his current working with heads of state; it had been so positive, unlike anything he'd ever seen before (outside of Unification Church publications).
He said that while members might think their numbers were small, God had been good in bringing them to this point. No other religion in history had spread to a world level while the founder was alive, whether he was Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, or, more recently, the founders of the Bahai and Mormon faiths: the success of the Unification Church was "unseen in history."
The younger Rev. Hyung Jin Moon had wondered what the real power behind his father's success was. He was sure it was due to the power of his prayer life and he suggested that his audience study Jesus' teaching on prayer. Matthew, Chapter 6 records Jesus giving The Lord's Prayer, and Rev. Moon suggested that he was not simply teaching his disciples a prayer to recite by routine, but was giving his disciples a pattern or formula for prayer.
After asking everyone to say the prayer with him, Rev. Moon noted that it started with "Hallowed be Thy Name," then "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done." We needed to first praise God, then pray that His will be done. A relationship with God was a gift and could only be effective on God's terms. After we have started this way, we could pray for "our daily bread" and to be forgiven and able to forgive others, and not to be led into evil, he explained.
He also taught his listeners that people often thought of God as a vending machine, to be kicked a couple of times if the candy didn't come, but that didn't work. And, he asserted, Father Sun Myung Moon's heart and teaching went even further: after praise, he prayed for the world, nations, others, before self.
He had once been in an airplane in the middle of a violent storm and started praying "save me, save me", but then he remembered he had recently given a sermon on prayer, and that this was not the right way to pray! He started praising God, and the fear went away. We needed to pray not for what we wished but to trust God. Our lives would change if we came before God in the way He expected.
He had wanted to find the core of Unificationist teaching, to encapsulate the Unificationist faith in one sentence. People of the Muslim faith, for example, have asserted simply, "There is one God and Mohammed is His prophet".
He realized that while the Divine Principle contained complex theology, the goal of Unificationism was simple: "to inherit the True Love of God". But what was True Love? Jesus had talked of laying down one's life for a friend; Buddha talked of complete surrender, total focus on God. He had talked to other Unificationists, but had not found anything that totally satisfied him as to what distinguished Unificationism.
Then one night he dreamt of his father. The Christian Apostle's Creed asserts that Jesus descended into hell and then ascended into Heaven. A Christian sees Jesus with his spiritual eyes, and proclaims that Jesus died and went to hell for him, or her. In his dream, he saw that on each of the six occasions that Rev. Sun Myung Moon had been imprisoned, he also experienced hell in the spirit, yet had still pleaded that he suffer in the place of others. He realized deep inside that his father was indeed the Messiah, the Savior.
"We need to inherit the heart of a parent that would die and die again for the child; that was the heart that Rev. Sun Myung Moon had demonstrated in his life," Rev. Moon said, adding that we needed to see him with our spiritual eyes: "True Parents are not the living God, but have inherited the True Love of God, and have the value of God's True Love." He concluded by emphasizing that everything started with our spiritual life.
The talk was preceded by two small bands and a choir. Videos testified to the younger Rev. Moon's spiritual life and to remarkable developments of the Unification Movement in Korea. Rev. Moon was introduced by German Unification Church President Dieter Schmidt, a medical doctor. After his talk, Rev. Moon quickly met and took a photo with each family as a memento.
The day before, Rev. Moon with his wife and party visited Wartburg Castle, a place of pilgrimage for believers both within and outside Germany due to its significance in German history and in the development of Christianity. It is particularly associated with St. Elisabeth of Hungary and is also the place where Martin Luther was imprisoned and where he translated the New Testament into German. At Rev. Moon's request, the group also visited and prayed at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.
Prior to visiting Germany, Rev. Moon and his party followed a similar program in Rome, where they visited St. Peter's (climbing to the top of the dome), St. Paul's, St. John's, passed by many of the archeological sites and, in the manner of penitents, climbed the steps of the Holy Stairs church on their knees.
He also made a trip to France to visit the family of a Church member who recently had been killed in a bus accident on the way home from an international workshop, and to visit another member who had been in the crash and was still in hospital. Rev. Moon left Germany for the United Kingdom, where he pursued a similar program in London.
The most obvious purpose of Rev. Moon's visiting Europe was to meet with Unification Church members; however, as Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), he met with UPF "Ambassadors for Peace," in London in the Houses of Parliament.
It was clear he also wanted to deepen his appreciation of Europe's spiritual history, his visits to historical sites being more in the nature of a pilgrimage than mere sightseeing. Hans Campman, Dutch Unification Church president, said he seemed to want to connect with the main historical points: Italy, home of Roman Catholicism, Germany, home of Protestantism, and Britain, the country from which the Pilgrim Fathers took the message of Christ to the New World.