The Words of In Jin Moon from 2009
The following is a transcription of Rev. In Jin Moon’s sermon at Lovin' Life Ministries held at the Manhattan Center in New York City on April 19, 2009.
Good morning, brothers and sisters. And good morning to New Jerusalem and West Rock and all the other boroughs that are joining with us this morning via broadcast. I’m delighted to see all of you here at Lovin’ Life ministries. I woke up this morning and looked out my window. The forecast for the weekend was a bit of cloudy skies, and perhaps a little bit of rain. But I realized that our Heavenly Parent gave us a beautiful day, and I hope your drive into the city was a beautiful one.
I was just thinking about my parents this morning and especially my mother because April happens to be her favorite month. For my mom, April signifies many different things, but most importantly it signifies a new beginning, a time when we can come out of the coldness and the darkness of the winter months and look forward to the lovely spring blossoms, the beautiful flowers, and all the little creatures coming out of the woodwork.
For me, it has always meant a time when I can re-evaluate and reassess what I would like to do for the remainder of the year. What are my goals or the things I would like to accomplish? So it’s truly meaningful for me to share this time with you.
I’m sure you listened to the words of the Bible and the words of my father [from the readings]. My father has always greatly loved this country of America. Generally, America is seen as a land of opportunity, but for my father it was a land where he was going to raise up young people to really, truly love God, a place where he could build the ideal kingdom with the great American brothers and sisters.
I still remember flying in. I believe it was December 23, 1973, when my siblings and I flew on Korean Airlines in the hope of seeing our parents in America. We landed in Hawaii, spent some time there, then went to Seattle, Washington. And then we were riding to New York City, where we would see our parents. I was only eight years old, and I remember being wide awake and being so amazed by the skyscrapers and all the different colors of hair people had. Such diversity: big, fat, small! You name it, America had it.
One of the first things that my parents did was say, “We want you to taste America.” The first place my father and mother took us was to McDonald’s. I know that McDonald’s is not getting such a good rap because of what people call cholesterol sticks and too much hamburger, but back then it was something really neat. For a lot of my siblings, of course, we’d had beef, but we’d never had cheese before. I still remember biting into a Big Mac, biting into something gooey and a bit smelly. But when it worked its way down, it was absolutely divine. After the first bite, you just could not help but gobble the whole burger up, and, before you knew it, you wanted more.
I remember my older brother, even when he was 11 years old, was very robust and strong. In our first visit to McDonald’s, he said, “Dad, can I have three more? My parents watched him in delight, but there was also a look of almost horror on my mother’s face watching him down this Big Mac. That was our first taste of America.
Then my father and mother said, “Kids, we have to give you a tour of how incredible this country is because this country was truly prepared by God.” My father took us to Washington, D.C., and said, “Let me show you why.” He showed us that the Congress was convened in prayer and that there was even a prayer room in the Capitol building where senators and congressmen can go to offer a prayer when they are overburdened with the issues of the day. Their time there can be a time of cleansing, a time of healing and rejuvenation as they remember the country’s heritage, which is really God.
Father said to look at the dollar bills, even. We couldn’t read English at that point but Father pointed out that “In God We Trust” was on all the bills of American money. He said, “See, even in the things like money, there is God here. There is God in every aspect of this country.”
I remember him telling us many great stories about the courage and the faith of the Pilgrims who came to this country. They escaped England to find the freedom to worship. They didn’t want to be persecuted just for believing in something that they wanted to believe in. They left England for Holland and stayed there for a while, but then the New World attracted them greatly. The New World was the land referred to as the land of opportunity. The first Mayflower inhabitants came to this country with the desire to worship God. My father said that this as the basis of the colonists’ desire. That was the true desire of God when he saw this country. God wanted this country to be a Christian nation. God wanted his people to revel in his Word and to substantiate his Word, to live a good life, build great families, and raise wonderful children.
What was the first thing our Pilgrim Fathers did when they came? The first structure they built was a church. We all know that they arrived in November 1620, in the winter. One of the things that my father loved to point out was that when they were crossing the seas, many strong storms came (one even knocked down a huge mast), but the people persevered in their faith. They persevered in their belief that they were going to do God’s will, and here they came.
My father said that the interesting thing about the Mayflower is that the colonists stored grain in the hold of the ship, but no one touched it. And even as the inhabitants settled, and so many of them died (over half of them died that first winter) they never touched that grain because they believed in the promise of spring. They believed that it was going to carry them forward. So even as they were dying, they saved the grain with the belief in the spring that would come because they wanted to plant and reap a harvest the next fall. My father and mother continually told us these stories, and they have become a part of who we are.
As we were going to school, my father said, “Your job is to love America more than the American people. How do you actually love somebody? You have to speak their language.” He encouraged us to get the finest education, to really understand the English language so that we could truly love the American people.
That message has stayed with me throughout the years. Now that I’m in my 40s and have five lovely children and am blessed with a husband who is not afraid to support me from the background, I realize my father’s wisdom in asking us to deeply study the language. If you really think about it, love is about understanding. You feel loved when your wife understands you. And children feel loved when they feel their parents understand them.
The difficult thing about interracial marriages and intergenerational gaps is that many cultures speak their own language and each generation speaks its own language. It’s almost as if we don’t have a common language. But my father has been saying that the common language for all of humanity is true love. How do you really love somebody? You have to understand them.
Maybe a lot of the First Generation in the audience might be thinking, “Interesting service; loud music!” But you know what? The kids are thinking, “Louder, louder, harder!” It is in this language of true love that you can say, “I am going to understand. I am going to love it because my children love it.” Maybe this is the younger generation’s way of saying, “Mom and Dad, this might not be your cup of tea, but thank you for coming with me. I’m so happy you’re here.”
My father is 90 years old and I’m in my 40s. We could stick a couple of generations in between us. If I really wanted to, I might say to myself, “Why is my father like this? Why is he so obsessed with God, obsessed with the language of true love, obsessed with the singular mission of wanting to create ideal families on earth?” But you know what? When I take a step back and realize that he was born in 1920, born in a different generation, but is a man who is probably the greatest proponent of women’s leadership, the greatest cheerleader for women in the world to become great, it’s just unbelievable.
Coming from an Asian culture, where virtuous women are seen as quiet, servile, and behind the scenes, here is this 90-year-old man from an ancient generation, saying, “Daughter, you have to get the best education, you have to speak the best English, you have to love the American people more than your own, and you have to serve them with all that you can provide.” I think my dad and mom are really hip and really cool people.
Worshipping here together at the Manhattan Center is a wonderful opportunity to remind ourselves how truly blessed we are. Sometimes in the busy schedule of the day, I forget how much I really have, and I forget sometimes how incredibly precious this country is for God. I was reading the Gospel of Luke, which is interesting in that the theme of repentance and forgiveness runs throughout. I was reading Luke 4:31 to 5:16, the story about Jesus and the fishermen at the Sea of Galilee. I thought about this as I was reading it aloud and then in my mind visualized what this episode might have been like in human history.
Here I see Jesus coming to the Sea of Galilee, seeing two boats, and seeing fishermen getting ready to put their nets away for the day. Jesus goes up to Simon Peter and says, “Prepare this boat. I want to take it out.” How would Simon Peter have reacted to Jesus, who was viewed as a carpenter and not known to be a fabulous fisherman, coming upon these sturdy, hardy, weather-beaten fishermen and saying, “Let me show you. I want to go catch some fish.”
I’ll bet that in the back of Simon Peter’s mind, he must have been thinking, “What is this dude talking about? It’s the end of a long and arduous day. I’m putting away my nets. Why does he want me to prepare a boat to go out?” He actually voiced his struggle, saying, “Jesus, we were out there all day long and we didn’t catch anything. But I will do as you ask me.” He resolved his struggle in the correct way, saying, “Lord, I will obey you.”
The interesting thing about this story is that Jesus says, “Let’s fish in deeper waters.” Maybe the fishermen were not catching fish because they were afraid to go into the deeper, the mysterious, the fearful waters. Maybe they stayed closer to shore. Maybe they were hoping to see the fish in shallow waters. Yet Jesus said, “Let’s go to the deeper waters.” For me these words deeper waters have a lot of meaning. It’s a wonderful metaphor to think about because deeper water doesn’t just mean water. It means all things in life that are deeper, more profound, more mysterious, more powerful.
Because Simon Peter obeyed Jesus and went into the deeper waters, he caught more fish than he could handle. His boat couldn’t hold all the fish; he had to ask his friends to come and bring another boat. Even when the other boat came, they were both laden with so much fish that they began to sink. Then Simon Peter said, “Lord, forgive me, I’m a sinner.” He realized that through obedience to the Lord or obedience to God’s will he was given an unexpected blessing, more blessing than he was ready for, more blessing than his nets could hold. Then what happened? The onlookers, the sons of Zebedee, John and James, saw the miracle of faith, came to their knees, and left everything to become Jesus’ disciples.
When I think about these chapters in Luke, considering America and its providential role, what comes to mind is that America is an incredibly prepared country. It is a blessed country in terms of external things. We have the best education, the best entertainers, the best schools to make us whatever we want to become. But what my father came to America to preach was to remind the people that America was forgetting God, our Heavenly Parent.
He often told us children that when he first came to New York City and stood in front of the Empire State Building, he could not help but be overcome with tears. Tears were streaming down his face, and he just could not stop crying. Somebody asked him, “Father, why are you crying? Are you okay?” He replied, “This is a country prepared by God. This is a city prepared by God. The external greatness is so apparent, but where is the internal greatness of the American people?” He saw young people using drugs right around the corner. He saw prostitutes walking down 42nd Street, hoping to turn a trick. He saw young people literally lost, not knowing who they were, where they came from, or what their purpose in life was. These were the tears my father shed.
When I think about this quote, I’m thinking that my father was so sad for America because it had become such a shallow country. Without God, everything loses meaning; without God, the only things we want to strive in our life for is power, knowledge, and wealth. If these are the driving forces that gave rise to these great monuments that we call the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building, or the other incredible monuments that this city has, then they’re worthless because they have no purpose.
When we find time together, my kids and I like to watch a DVD. I home-school my kids, so there’s no TV in the house, which means they do a lot of reading. But when we do pick a movie night, we pick a movie that everybody wants to see. When my eldest son came home from Scotland, one day he said, “Mother, there’s this incredibly funny movie. I like this actor and Gwyneth Paltrow is in it. It’s called Shallow Hal.” Have some of you seen it? He gave us a brief explanation of what the movie is about, and we thought, okay, let’s watch it.
It’s basically about a main character who is so shallow that he wants to date only the beautiful women of the world. But he’s so shallow that he’s not satisfied even with a beautiful woman; he always finds something wrong with the woman. Maybe she’s incredibly beautiful, but she chews gum and she talks funny. Or another is wonderful, engaging, and articulate but she has a very strange toe. These are the examples the movie gives.
One day he comes upon a motivational speaker named Tony Robbins, who I’m sure some of you know about. He casts some kind of spell over this guy (Hal), and from then on he can see only the inner beauty of people. So here he is, the serial dater, if you will, introducing his dates to his friends, and the friends just don’t get it. They’re seeing the women externally, but he’s seeing the women internally for who they are. As far as he’s concerned, she’s marvelous, she’s glorious. But to other people maybe she’s a bit heavy or might have warts; she might not be that beautiful.
Watching this movie as a family and talking about the movie together, we said, “Maybe many Americans see their country’s external greatness, but we need to see America through God’s eyes. We need to see America with eyes seeing inner beauty and see if there’s anything beautiful to look at.”
In Korean, the word for America, Mi-guk, literally translates as “beautiful country.” This is a beautiful country. But in which way are we going to be beautiful? Just externally? Just in the incredible things we can build, incredible discoveries we can make? What about in the truly beautiful way, the inner-beauty way of understanding each other’s culture, recognizing how incredibly important each and every human being is, realizing that we were born here for a purpose, born to be wonderful sons and daughters of God?
When I hear the quote, “fish in deeper waters,” I’m very much reminded of my father because most of you know that he loves to fish. He spent endless days in Gloucester, Massachusetts, during my summer vacations. I would have the opportunity to spend a whole summer with him. It’s probably the most precious memory I have of my father because if he was not on the boat, he was off around the world and I never saw him. But on the boat I had the honor and privilege to take care of him.
God gave me a special blessing. I’m the only daughter in the family who doesn’t get seasick. Quite a few of my brothers get seasick, too. I was naturally picked, if you will, to accompany my father to the ocean every day at the break of dawn. At 4:30 he would round up all the members, and we’d go out to sea. The first few days, it is absolutely beautiful. But if you do it day in and day out, it’s really difficult.
In my father’s customary style, we went out at 4:30 and didn’t come back until after 10 pm or 11. Or sometimes my father would say that we were going to sleep on the ocean that night, and we didn’t even get to come home. The next day at 4:30, it would start all over again.
I remember my father deeply meditating. At first I thought he might be sleeping because I remember poking him in the side to see if he was awake. He’s like, “Uuummph, In Jin!” I would say, “Appa, I just wanted to check if you’re awake. Do you need something?” He would reply, “In Jin, I was meditating. Go down and prepare something for the other people.” He would sit in his chair for hours. I would prepare some food. Since I was the only sister who didn’t get seasick, you know what that meant? Designated cook. Designated cleaner. I had a wonderful helper named Spiro. Both of us spent the whole summer together, not just taking care of my father and learning all his fishing tricks, but also learning how to cook.
I remember preparing different meals and lovingly taking the food to my father. He would always ask me, “Did the other people get food, too?” I would say, “Appa, you ask me that all the time. You know I prepared food for them.” Then he said, “Okay, put this down and you go take care of the crew.” I always felt so loved by this man. Even before he took his first bite, he was thinking about the crew, making sure they were okay. He wanted me to serve. He wanted me to be his ambassador in serving the other people on the boat. He said, “Because you are my daughter, you should be the first to prepare the food and the last to clean up.” He taught me that from a very early age.
He was out every day, even when 20-foot waves blocked the sky and there was lightning and thunder. I remember one day the Coast Guard posted warnings and said that all the boats needed to come back in, but my father said, “No, no, just a couple of more hours.” Then we got a tuna on the line. I remember my father out there fighting that tuna with 20-foot waves crashing on both sides of the boat. I’m peering out, wondering what was happening. I was so scared and wondered if we were going to make it home.
The boat shook so badly and aggressively that everything in the cupboards was falling out, sliding side to side. The big fishermen were being bounced around like ping-pong balls. Here I was, holding onto the couch, petrified with fear. It was at that moment that something came over me, like a voice speaking to me, saying, “Do not be afraid of the deep waters. Do not be afraid. Believe. Believe.”
It might have been a dream; I might have hallucinating in my fear. Who knows? The only thing I know is that I heard what I heard. Then an incredible serenity and calmness came over me, almost like an out-of-body experience, where I saw the ship being thrown around and my father outside, holding onto the line, and had a feeling that everything was going to be okay. I said to myself, “Why did I ever doubt my father? Even if I were to go, I would go in style, with my father.” Why was I ever afraid when I had my father right there before me? Maybe I needed to have a little more faith that we could stay out a couple of hours longer and head back.
Head back we did, and, when I got home, that was the first time I kissed the ground. It was so good to stand on the dock. I ran to my mother and literally bowled her over. She exclaimed, “In Jin, what’s going on?” I said, “Omma, I’m so happy to see you.” She had no idea why this 12-year-old girl was screeching down the dock, literally running her over. I remember her saying, “I love you, too.” This is a special memory for me.
There were many lessons like this that I learned in the course of the summer. Whenever I hear fishing stories from somebody else or even when I read the Bible, all these memories surface in my mind, and I’m taken back to that very instant when I was literally hanging on for dear life, this little girl in the middle of the ocean, with her father still intent on catching that fish.
I said to my husband, “Since my father loves fishing so much, and because he loves me so much, I am convinced that the reason we’ve been blessed together is because your nickname is Fish-eye.” That must be the reason Father blessed me to this man. With those huge eyes of love that remind me and my siblings of a fish, here is this beautiful person who’s going to be staring at me for the rest of my life and forever onward. It’s no wonder that his favorite food is seafood. Every Valentine’s Day when we try to schedule a romantic dinner, it’s got to be seafood. I don’t know how many times we’ve talked together, saying, “There are other types of protein in the world besides fish. Would you like to try some red meat this year? Try some game?” But he loves seafood.
Here we are, a movement that’s more than three decades old in this country. I think a lot of us with children are wondering, did we really make a difference? Many times I ask myself that question: Did we really make a difference as a movement. In an incredible way, we did. The company my father founded a couple of decades ago called True World Foods is a seafood company. When he initiated that project, nobody knew what sushi was or what eating raw fish was about. I remember going to school, hearing somebody mention sushi and the kids would say, “Yuck. You eat raw fish? That’s disgusting.” I remember hearing those words growing up.
But this company now services more than 90 percent of the best seafood restaurants in this country. I think my father single-handedly got the world to love sushi. So if you’re asking yourself the question, did we make a difference? Absolutely! We’ve been feeding America for the last couple of decades. Not only is my father preaching the beauty within, but he is also emphasizing the holistic living approach, taking care of our bodies because we are divine beings. We are vessels that God can work through.
So just as we take time every Sunday to worship together, to clear our conscience, to love the Lord, and to come together as a community, my father encourages holistic living. We have one of the most influential pharmaceutical companies in Korea that produces Il Hwa ginseng, introducing ginseng to the American public. We are introducing fish as an alternative to red meat and white meat because it’s healthier. My father has been taking care of America, even if we didn’t realize it. All these things he and True Mother have done have allowed the American people to eat more fish, to become more healthy. Maybe to do less cooking preparation because the true wonderful characteristic of each ingredient should be savored and appreciated. The great thing about going to a nice restaurant and enjoying fine cuisine is that you can taste the saffron, but maybe not so much that it overpowers the other flavors in the food. It’s that magical blending of herbs that makes it truly divine.
I think about America being called a melting pot for so many years. Now it’s being called a salad bowl. Here is this great country where different races, religions, and cultures come together and are melded into one American tradition, one American consciousness. All of us who are born in this country have the idea that we are American, whether we are mellow yellow, or red or black. It doesn’t matter. We all think of ourselves as American.
I remember my father asking us children the question, if America is the melting pot, doesn’t the pot need heat to melt these things together? What is this heat going to be? This heat is God. It’s the power of true love that turns America into an incredible melting pot. If we reach back to the consciousness of our Pilgrim Fathers, and we tap into their courage and belief that they could create a world of Christian brothers and sisters, then America can become great once again.
The most important thing that America was built on was belief in the Lord. My father says, “Look at the difference between North and South America. North America was built on the concept of the Lord. The people came seeking freedom to worship. South America was cultivated because people were looking for gold. Now compare North and South America. The disparity is quite profound, isn’t it?” The difference, my father says, is because North America was founded with the concept of God. America was conceived on the basis of God. It was this belief that carried on the dream of building this incredible country and made it into a reality.
You hear these three words over and over in many different sectors of the world today: You have to conceive and believe; then you can achieve. America conceived a dream. It was founded on that conception of a dream. It was carried forward in the belief of our Pilgrim Fathers. Now we have to make America into a great country and achieve that dream. So, brothers and sisters, I feel in this second Sunday that we’re sharing together that it is a wonderful opportunity to remind ourselves how incredibly blessed we are, what an incredibly vast future is waiting for us.
Just as we strive to become a great nation, just as we strive to go higher and higher and higher and achieve many incredible things, we must always return to God and remember that if you want to create a tall building, you have to dig deeper. The height that you see must be equivalent to the depth that you don’t see. Emily Dickinson wrote in her poem “Aspiration”:
We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies.
Brothers and sisters, we must not forget how incredibly gifted and how precious each and every one of us is. Each and every one of us was prepared by God to do incredible things. But at this time, when God is asking America to awaken and tap into the spirit of the Pilgrim Fathers, we will realize our greatness. In that way, following God’s plan for America, we will touch the skies. But no matter how high we go, we must always remember that we are based in the deep waters, in the mystery of our Lord, in the compassion of our Heavenly Father, and in the belief in our God, our True Parents above.
So brothers and sisters, this is going to be a wonderful Sunday, and I pray that many, many blessings will grace your families. Please appreciate each other. Just as I look forward to learning so much from you, I hope we can work together to make America into that incredible country that God always dreamed it could be.
In the spirit of the whole Obama campaign that revolutionized America and the world, in the thought that an African American can be elected to the White House, that impossibility became a possibility and then a reality. Martin Luther King dreamed the impossible, and through his belief and his hard work in the civil rights movement we have a president in the White House who represents the slaves of this country.
In the Last Days, the first will be last and the last will be first. So, brothers and sisters, incredible things are happening. The providence is moving very quickly. We need to come together and remind ourselves what an incredible time this is. Please join with me in celebrating America, in celebrating our lives, in celebrating the dream, and in celebrating the belief of our Founding Fathers. Let’s re-determine ourselves to achieve that dream and truly make America great once more.
31: And he went down to Caper'na-um, a city of Galilee. And he was
teaching them on the sabbath;
32: and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority.
33: And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice,
34: "Ah! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God."
35: But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm.
36: And they were all amazed and said to one another, "What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out."
37: And reports of him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
38: And he arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they besought him for her.
39: And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her; and immediately she rose and served them.
40: Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.
41: And demons also came out of many, crying, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
42: And when it was day he departed and went into a lonely place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them;
43: but he said to them, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose."
44: And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
1: While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennes'aret.
2: And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.
3: Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4: And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
5: And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets."
6: And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking,
7: they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
8: But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
9: For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken;
10: and so also were James and John, sons of Zeb'edee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men."
11: And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
12: While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and besought him, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean."
13: And he stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him.
14: And he charged him to tell no one; but "go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to the people."
15: But so much the more the report went abroad concerning him; and great multitudes gathered to hear and to be healed of their infirmities.
16: But he withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.