The Words of In Jin Moon from 2009
The following is a transcription of Rev. In Jin Moon’s speech to over 1,500 people who gathered to hear her speak at the Manhattan Center in New York City on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009.
Good morning, brothers and sisters. Please have a seat. I’m delighted to be with you this morning on this beautiful Easter Sunday. And thank you for coming into the city to worship with me here at the Manhattan Center. We’re truly delighted to have you.
Ever since the year 325, Easter has been observed on the first Sunday after the vernal, or spring, equinox, when the sun crosses the equator, and Christians have come together to remember this day of resurrection. For a lot of the younger people in the audience, Easter is one of those days that we look forward to because Easter means Easter bunnies, chocolate eggs, and arts and crafts. I am no different. I remember spending many days in preparation for the great event, making arts and crafts, decorating eggs with different dyes and crayons with my children.
I remember my husband always putting on a rabbit-ear headband to get into the spirit. Before I sent him off to hide these special, precious eggs that the children would discover all around our house, I would make a big puffball of cotton for him and stick it on his butt. That’s when he knew that it was time to go: He had only 30 minutes to hide those precious eggs.
While I was keeping the kids busy in the kitchen, making cookies, doing paintings about what Easter means, or making beautiful renditions of the bunny, my husband would be going around the property like a Ninja. He’d go behind the house, making sure no children were in sight, and then run to the front, hiding the eggs in the bushes. Then we’d see him disappear into the garage, or the annex, as we called it, to hide some eggs there.
I remember that he was so satisfied with himself when he came back undetected and undiscovered. Then we would the give the children the go-ahead: “It’s time for the Easter egg hunt!” The five screaming little munchkins would disappear all around the house, from the second floor on down to the basement, all around the property, into the bushes. Off they went. We would be waiting for their little squeals of delight when they discovered the eggs. We as parents would just be in the house, waiting for those baskets to come back. For the little kids, that was what Easter was all about.
But of course when we grow older, we understand the real significance of what Easter is. It’s really a day of resurrection. But the day of resurrection was preceded three days earlier by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That has got to be the most heart-breaking, most painful aspect of our human history, that week prior to the crucifixion when Jesus faced his trial and experienced his own disciples’ denial, especially Peter’s. Jesus actually foretold that Peter would deny him. And there was the heartbreak and pain that one of his disciples, Judas, sold him for a chunk of change. Can you imagine what the son of God must have been feeling at that time?
I want to share with you how my father feels when he thinks about Jesus and that sad moment. Nothing is more heartbreaking than to hear the words of Jesus Christ in his prayer at Gethsemane. I think a lot of the believers understand the prayer as a sign of weakness on Jesus’ part, especially when Jesus asked his Heavenly Father if this cup could pass. But Jesus was the son of God. If Jesus came to die and he realized that this was his divine mission, then wouldn’t he have ushered in his death as a courageous son of God? But Jesus asked this question not out of weakness but because he realized he wouldn’t have any more time to fulfill what he had come to do.
Even in the eleventh hour, even when the disciples that he took with him to pray at Gethsemane fell asleep, Jesus came back after the first prayer and asked them, “Can’t you just stay awake for an hour?” And he went back to pray. And then he came back and realized that they were heavy-lidded again. Then he prayed again, and when he came back the third time and saw that they were still sleeping, Jesus realized that the time had come and that he would be facing his physical death.
His crucifixion was an incredible tragedy for humankind. But of course we know that three days later, through the resurrection, Jesus had a spiritual victory. Jesus could stand in the position of a spiritual father. We also hear in the Bible about the emergence of the Holy Spirit, in the second chapter of Acts, where we see a true mother figure come into being. Together with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit became the spiritual true parent. For over 2,000 years they have worked hard to bring unbelievers into the realm of love and into the understanding of who Jesus Christ really was.
What about the physical victory that Jesus longed so much to substantiate? That is why he uttered the prayer asking God if he could have a little bit more time. We know now that Jesus did not have time before he was crucified. Yes, there was great victory in the spiritual salvation, in the resurrection. But still quite a few works needed to be done. Jesus knew that he came not to die but to fulfill God’s original purpose of creation. What is that original purpose of creation? It’s to create an ideal family.
The Bible alludes to the fact that Christ would have to come again. For thousands of years, people have been waiting for the Second Coming of Christ. Then what happened? In 1920 a young Korean boy was born; when he turned 16 and knelt to pray on Easter Sunday morning, Jesus appeared before him and asked my father, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, “Please fulfill my mission, please fulfill God’s original purpose of creation, please build the ideal family. I am only a spiritual victor in that I am the spiritual true parent, but I need you to fulfill my mission and establish the physical true parents, substantiating God’s dream has of an ideal family.”
I know many of you in the audience might be around the age of 16. I ask you the question, if Jesus Christ appeared before you this morning and said, “Can you please fulfill my mission?” what kind of an answer would you give? Maybe you would think, “Well, I really wanted to get my driver’s license. I have a driver’s ed class to go to, and then I have to practice driving so that I can get that permit.” Or maybe some of you would think, “I promised my friends I was going to spend some time with them at the mall. I’m really not sure, Jesus Christ, if this is for me. I don’t really see how going to the mall and saving the world have anything to do with each other.” Or maybe some of you might fall down and cry because you saw Jesus, you heard Jesus, you experienced Jesus.
From what I know, that experience of the 16-year-old boy whom I call my father was an incredibly profound one. It changed his life forever. From the moment that he said, unwilling at first, “Yes, I will try my best; I will fulfill your mission,” that poor boy has never, ever wavered.
Just recently, on January 31, we had the honor of celebrating my father’s birthday. I’ve never seen my father so happy for so long. I feel that he was so happy spending time with you because he could feel your spirit, he could feel the love the American members have for him. I think in his mind he was hoping, “Just as I was changed on that Easter Sunday, I’m hoping my American children can go on with the same devotion, the same determination, and the same commitment that I’ve kept throughout my whole life.”
As a daughter looking at this father, who’s 90 years old, sometimes it’s a very interesting experience for me. He can still out-speak anyone. Just recently in Las Vegas he spoke for 11 and a half hours. Those poor leaders couldn’t even take a bathroom break; they had to sit there listening. I was watching them, wondering what was going through their minds right then. He can out-dance anyone. I remember my kids coming to me after being at Hoon Dok Hae at the 90th birthday celebration. They said, “Ooh, Mom, Grandfather really can move.” And especially when he put in his two twists, my kids were like, “I had no idea!” I said, “You know what? Maybe that’s why you’re such great dancers. You didn’t know you got it from grandfather, did you?”
He can stay awake longer than anyone. Even many teenagers cannot outlast this man. Not only is he physically such an incredible specimen of a human being, but I have never seen anyone so obsessed with a singular dream and purpose, totally driven to make it into a reality.
Father has said over the years that what is most central in the universe is the parent -- child relationship because that is why God created the universe. God wanted to experience what it would be like to be a parent, to be a mom and a dad. I know that regardless of what we might think when we’re young, “Oh, I never want to be blessed, I never want to be married, I’m going to be independent and do my own thing,” when the biological clock starts ticking, we start thinking about those little pink and blue things in the baby department. We start wanting a family; we start wanting to experience what it would be like to love something as yours.
This was the desire out of which our universe was created, and this was the dream that God had in wanting to establish Adam and Eve as his first physical manifestation on earth, to carry on his lineage. But then we know what happened, right? Adam and Eve messed up. They made a mistake, and human history had to pay a great price before we could welcome the son of God, Jesus Christ.
I’ve often thought about why people had such a hard time understanding Jesus. Even the Bible speaks of Jesus as a self-proclaimed messiah. He was badly misunderstood. He was questioned. The issue of illegitimacy surrounded him his whole life. When you read the Divine Principle, you realize that this misunderstanding should have been cleared up by John the Baptist. He was the Elijah returning to proclaim to the world that Jesus was the messiah.
John the Baptist came from a prominent family. His father was Zechariah; his mother was Elizabeth. He was a second cousin to Jesus Christ because Elizabeth and Mary were cousins. The Bible refers to him as a very educated man, quite prominent and devout. But parts of the Bible refer to Jesus as having a very difficult childhood, a very hard life.
When you look at these two cousins, you have to wonder, how could John the Baptist say he didn’t know Jesus? They were cousins. How could he not know? If Heavenly Father blessed John the Baptist to be such a prominent figure, could it have been that maybe because of his own prominence and position, there was something in him that made him struggle about whether he should hand everything over to Jesus, to this second cousin with a question of illegitimacy around him?
I am sure that John the Baptist struggled with this issue. When we read the Bible, we know that ultimately because John the Baptist could not proclaim Jesus as the son of God, this sowed disunity among the people and helped lead to his crucifixion.
I think about how often my father has said to me that Christianity was prepared in the same way to receive the messiah and to proclaim him to the world, and how often he has said that had Christianity united with him, the world would already be a peaceful world. But we know that Christianity had a hard time uniting with my father, and, therefore, he had to go out into the wilderness, build his own church, raise his own disciples, come to America…
At first he was embraced because the message of true love is so beautiful. It’s undeniable; it’s what I call simple elegance. I remember in the 1970s my father was given the keys to every state of the United States, and people were joining our church, several hundred a week. The centers weren’t big enough.
Then what happened? People were afraid that this Oriental man was exercising too much influence over young Americans. Then we saw a backlash, saw the persecution start, saw ourselves being labeled as Moonies, being belittled as weird, being categorized as cultish. How many times did I see the newspapers refer to Rev. Sun Myung Moon as the self-proclaimed messiah? Just as the Bible refers to Jesus as the self-proclaimed messiah.
I did not know English when I first came. In American culture, I was a chink, a Moonie. I remember one incident at middle school. Sometimes girls can be really nasty to each other, much more nasty than boys. I remember a group of four or five girls who followed me around in the hallways, saying, “Isn’t your father Reverend Moon? Aren’t you a Moonie? Aren’t you a cult? You’re a Moonie. Your father thinks he’s the messiah.” I turned around and said, “Do you even know what Moonie means? In my language, in Korean, it means a design.(Moo-neui) is like a design on something. So you can call me Moonie as much as you want, but the way I’m understanding it is that you’re calling me a beautiful design of this school. And I have a design on you that one day you’re going to say it lovingly.”
When I talked to these girls, they were literally a choir, saying “Moonie, Moonie.” I thought, “Okay, the only thing I can do is clap along, at least turn it into a performance.” One boy was watching this whole thing. He was what you would call the hot kid on the block, the jock that every girl wanted to be with. Having gone out with every girl in the school, this guy found it intriguing that this Oriental girl was fighting back; I was making fun of them just as much as they were making fun of me. He came to my side and said, “Ladies, ladies, you are much more beautiful when you’re smiling.” Then he took my hand, and we walked down the hall together. I looked back and saw these not-so-nice girls with their jaws dropping, “Oh, my God, the jock of the school is walking down the hall with a Moonie!” He said to me, “In Jin, let me apologize for their immature behavior. I’m so ashamed I belong to this school.” We became great friends, even to this day.
That’s what a John the Baptist is. At that moment, he was my John the Baptist. If the real John the Baptist had been there for Jesus, he would not have been crucified, and we would not be celebrating the spiritual resurrection of Jesus Christ. I’ve often wished that my father had a true John the Baptist, somebody who’s prominent in our society, somebody who runs maybe a mega-church. Maybe God would bless that person so that he or she could stand in the position of John the Baptist to share with the world, “Guys, the Second Coming has already come. It might not be in the shape or form you want it, but he’s here.” Maybe some people are waiting for a Jesus to return that looks like Ben [Ben Lorentzen, one of the performers]! Doesn’t he look like Jesus?
Maybe they weren’t expecting a robust, funny, engaging, and compelling man like my father. But my father came. And you know what? Despite all the persecution and the difficulties, he just kept on going, one step at a time. He had a huge dream, but he took things one step at a time.
It was a glorious day in 1960 when the world could witness the Marriage of the Lamb. He found the True Mother; they were wed in holy matrimony and thus could substantiate the beginning of the dream that our Heavenly Parent wanted to realize in the body of Jesus. Jesus’ mission is still carried on to this day with our True Parents.
True Parents didn’t come just to tell you, “Look how great we are. We are the first man and the first woman to stand before you as perfected Adam and perfected Eve, and you guys cannot become great people yourselves.” No. True Parents are saying, “Just as we have become True Parents, you can become true parents, too.” We can graft onto this true olive branch and share in this lineage of our Heavenly Parent and in so doing become one family under God.
Brothers and sisters, this is an incredible time. Just as the egg symbolizes life and the potential of what it can be, this Easter Sunday morning symbolizes our life and the potential that we have in our hands to determine what kind of people we want to be. I’m hoping that as Americans, not only should we stand as loving couples, loving families, and loving children, but as proud and loving Americans we can share a little bit of our blessing with the rest of the world in service, through mission work.
My father has built so many hospitals and schools all around the world, hoping to teach people and nurture them so they can become great. How wonderful it would be if we could give a little bit of ourselves in the different categories that we happen to be really good at, that we can be passionate about, and in so doing, as representatives of this great country, go out into the world and share the good news.
Jesus brought us the good news, but you know what? True Parents brought us the breaking news. It’s breaking news time, brothers and sisters. This breaking news is a message of hope, a message of love. It is an invitation to live our lives filled with gratitude and happiness, in celebration and appreciation of each other, not being the kind of religious people who judge but instead the kind of religious people who have an incredible capacity to love, who can raise up not only beautiful children but inspire our young people to become a generation worthy of the name Generation Peace.
Our children need not die at school. Just last week somebody came into a civic center and killed 15 people. Another person killed three policemen. We have numerous school shootings all around the country. Our children need not die just because they want a chance to study and get better. Our children need not be afraid of going to Palestine or Israel, walking the streets in fear of suicide bombers.
We as parents need to do our mission of creating and encouraging ideal and loving families, really showing our children how we can live in a multicultural, multi-religious society with respect and honor. We don’t want to just coexist with each other, like the bumper sticker that you see all over the place says. Instead of different religions and cultures merely coexisting and putting up with each other, how incredible would it be if we could actually love each other!
Yesterday I was watching the news. Some commentators were saying how this is the worst economic crisis in the history of America. They were throwing out dire warnings. One of them said, “The economy is really bad, and the only things that are doing well in society are the churches, the bars, and the movie theaters.” This person talked about how the church is thriving because people are looking for meaning. When somebody like Madoff runs off with billions of dollars of his clients’ money and these people who were once the pillars of high society are standing out in the cold with nothing, I’m sure they must be looking for meaning in their lives.
Why bars? Because people want to feel connected to each other. They want to find some kind of commiseration together over a bottle. And why the movie theaters? People want relief, so they go to forget.
But I was thinking, maybe this severe economic crisis is a way God is helping all of us ask the very simple and very profound questions about the meaning of life. Maybe God wants us to go back to church. Maybe God wants us to come back home. And instead of just asking what is the meaning of life, maybe people will actually realize that the answer is within and they can find empowerment in the church.
For those people who are looking for connectedness in bars, maybe they can come home to church and realize they can do it much better here; instead of just commiserating, they can actually learn to love. And maybe instead of going to movie theaters to forget, maybe they can come back home to church and worship together so that they can truly celebrate the life that they’ve been given.
When I call this ministry Lovin’ Life Ministries, it means that it’s not about Rev. In Jin Moon. This is about you and me, all of us in this room, and all of our lives that combine in this incredible tapestry called the human experience, the tapestry of the children of God. I’m hoping that as we move forward and get to know each other a little better each Sunday, we can realize how beautiful everybody is, how much we can learn from each other, and how much we must be grateful that we have this opportunity to build and live in an ideal family that Jesus never had a chance to do.
Let us not be heavy-lidded, brothers and sisters. Let us not be asleep like those disciples at Gethsemane. Let us open up our eyes and realize that we’re living in a providential time, that we’re living in a time when the Second Coming, our True Parents, walks with us, encouraging all of us to become true parents.
On this beautiful Easter morning I’m hoping that we can all remember our dear brother Jesus, that we can remember our True Parents and remind ourselves that we are a phenomenal movement. We are the most successful movement, while the founder is still alive.
I’m hoping you’ll invite me to your 90th birthday party. I would like to see you bogeying with the moves that my children were so gung-ho about when they saw their grandfather.
I’m hoping that as we move forward and pass on into the next life, we can reap the rewards of a life well lived, that we can be with our ancestors and they can be happy for us, that we can be with our brother Jesus up in heaven and we can be happy for him.
Brothers and sisters, let’s open up our eyes on this Easter morning. I would like to leave you with a quote from a famous British novelist, Graham Greene. He is remembered as saying, “The door is always open for the future to come in.” The door is open on this Easter Sunday morning, brothers and sisters, and the future is what we make it. So I’m hoping that we can make it a loving one, a respectful one, and a celebrating one. So welcome to Lovin’ Life Ministries, and see you next week.