The Words of In Jin Moon from 2009
Good morning, brothers and sisters. How are you this Sunday morning? Did everybody have a wonderful week? Adults and children alike, I’m assuming that you all had a lovely Halloween, yes?
Here at Lovin’ Life Ministries we have different young adult ministries going on. Yesterday we had a big Halloween party at Belvedere. A lot of kids got together with some of the adults, and my husband was terribly happy to put on his costume to be part of the festivities. For those of you who know my husband, he’s a die-hard Trekkie. Halloween is a wonderful opportunity for him to play Captain Kirk. So he put on his Captain Kirk costume and took two of my boys: one as a gladiator and one as a witch, I think. Off they went to the party, and I heard they had a fantastic time.
He was so pleased because after the awards ceremony for the scariest costume, Jaga, the Young Adult minister at the WestRock community, gave my husband a Trekkie greeting, which is basically using a certain gesture and saying, “Live long and prosper.” So when he came back, it was the first thing he said to me: “Live long and prosper.” I’ve never seen him so happy. He’s always trying to take me to these Star Trek conferences when they come to town, but Halloween is a perfect excuse for him to just have a grand old time and play Captain Kirk.
I asked him, “Did you meet a lot of lovely aliens?” He came home very, very happy. It was just wonderful to see the whole family spending time together; especially the children seem to have had a wonderful time with their brothers and sisters out in WestRock, so I was terribly pleased.
This morning when I got up and was meditating about what I could share with my brothers and sisters here, a thought came to mind, something that my father said to his children time and time again. He used to tell us that there are three most important times in a person’s life: when the person is born, when the person gets married, and when the person departs to join together with our Heavenly Parent. He has always taught his children that we come naked into this world and we leave naked to the next world. The life that we have given to us is God’s gift to us. He has given us the opportunity to leave something beautiful for future generations. My father has time and time again reminded us that our life is really a gift from our Heavenly Parent, an opportunity to create beauty, to experience love, and to leave something behind that’s beautiful.
To a mother there’s nothing more beautiful than children, and, from my father and mother’s point of view, there was nothing more beautiful to them than us, their children. So they’ve encouraged us from time to time to not just look at life as something that’s just haphazard, that should be lived selfishly, or lived without any thought. My father very much encouraged us to really appreciate each and every day, and to realize that everything that is put upon us in terms of blessing, in terms of our talents, in terms of what we can do with our lives -- meaning having careers or being blessed to sing like our performers here, or any of these external qualities -- these are the accoutrements that make life interesting, intriguing, and stimulating. At the core, we are all divine beings. The incredible thing about our lives is we have our eternal Heavenly Parent, and to know that we are his and her eternal sons and daughters has got to be the greatest gift.
Our lives are so precious and really need to be taken care of. One of the things my father used to always say, and what I shared with you earlier in the Scripture reading, is that if you want to live a good life, you must speak with your innermost self. He understands very well that every word spoken is a vehicle of emotion. Words have incredible power, the incredible quality to nurture, to make something transcendent. But words also have the power to abuse, to really hurt, and to incapacitate a person. My parents always encouraged us to think about how and what you are saying.
When my father is asking all of us to speak with our innermost self, what he is asking us to do is to tap into the divine within us and really be connected to this true love circuitry. It’s like we are light-bulbs being plugged into the heavenly circuitry of true love. As long as we are plugged into this incredible, eternal, absolute, unique power of true love, then we can become incredible divine beings that illuminate the world around us with love, caring, compassion, and a huge embrace.
If all of us can tap into what is divine, and we realize that the words that we speak to one another can be vehicles of emotion that can empower, support, and engage each other in this wonderful thing called true love circuitry, then that’s a great beginning for a great day and a great beginning for a great month, and, before you know it, a great beginning for a great life.
When my father talks about speaking with your innermost self, he is reminding all of us that we are sons and daughters of God and we have infinite goodness, infinite divinity, and this divinity comes from our father and mother up in heaven, our Heavenly Parent. What could be more beautiful?
When we explore the Indian religion of Jainism, which I shared about earlier also in the Scripture readings, we realize that it teaches that birth doesn’t guarantee greatness. Every human being wants to become a great person, a great man or woman of God. But this reading reminds us that birth is just the beginning, the starting point. It’s really the daily cultivation of virtues that allows a person to become great. Here in that Scripture reading, it reminds us that it’s the pearl in the oyster that possesses greatness. Each person sitting in this room is like a beautiful pearl. We all came from an oyster that had two shells, did we not? The shells are the father and mother that take care of us, nurture us, and feed us.
A grain of sand is what starts provoking and stimulating the oyster to create a pearl. Making a pearl takes an incredible amount of time, and maybe it’s highly irritating for the two shells, too, right? Anyone who has children knows that they start out as a beautiful bundle of joy, but very soon they enter the terrible two’s, when they start asserting the self, learning the word no, and everything is a “No.” But with love, care, and guidance, they can grow into beautiful sons and daughters of God, beautiful men and women of God. We know that this growth period takes time, just as it takes time for something like a pearl to be created.
Have any of you visited Disneyland or Sea World? You can go to a place where there’s a basket of oysters in their shells. You can pick a particular oyster to see if it has a beautiful pearl or not? Usually the prize pearl is the blue pearl. I’ve been fascinated by the fact that people who are searching for the most beautiful oyster, the most beautiful exterior, rarely get a blue pearl. Because I was like a surrogate mother for my younger siblings and I also have five children of my own, I’ve been a great client of Sea World and Disneyland. But from my experience of visiting these oyster baskets over the years, I realized that it’s not the most beautiful oyster that yields the most brilliant blue pearls. It’s usually the oyster that looks quite awful, that has what looks like fur. The external shell doesn’t look as pristine as other oysters in the basket, and some are downright ugly.
Many people don’t want to choose the ugly oyster, but are still hoping for the blue pearl. But in my experience it’s usually the ugliest oyster that has a really incredible blue pearl. That is a wonderful reminder for me that it really doesn’t matter what the exterior of a person is. I think a lot of young people going out with their friends don’t want to hang out together with their family, right? Because your parents are not cool looking enough for you. They don’t look like Antonio Banderas or Nicole Kidman? You want to hang out with the young and beautiful people and stay away from your parents.
But the pearls, you and all of us, must not forget where we come from. We come from these two shells, our father and mother. If we truly think we are awesome, we have them to thank. We have our Heavenly Parent to thank.
This passage from Jainism is a reminder that life is a process. It takes a great deal of time. When you are in the mode of cultivating something like a garden, you know that it’s going to take a lot of love and dedication. I remember having dinner with Joe, one of the guitarists here, and he was saying that he practices three hours a day as a bare minimum. It is that kind of diligence and personal investment, that kind of cultivation of our individual talent, that allows us to be the brilliant artist that each and every one of us were meant to be.
Joe just happens to be a great guitar player, but maybe some of you are brilliant academics, or brilliant writers, or incredible doctors, or the most intuitive professors. These are the gifts that our Heavenly Parent gave to us. Within the context of our lives it’s really our honor and privilege to have this opportunity to cultivate ourselves so we can leave something beautiful for others and share something that belongs only to us with the rest of the world. I think there’s nothing more beautiful than that.
When we go to the Holy Bible, I Corinthians 8:1 - 3, it reminds us that our lives should be built on love; when building our lives, when constructing each family, or our careers, or our various relationships, the most important ingredient has got to be love. I love reading this passage in Corinthians because it’s a wonderful reminder for me to be humble and to realize that in the face of our Heavenly Parent there is no need to puff ourselves up. Knowledge puffs up, but it’s love that builds up a person.
Many times, especially for those of us working here in New York City where everything is fast paced and is about the bottom line and getting things done on time, sometimes we degenerate into perfunctory creatures that go about our day on a routine scheduling. Many times we forget who we are. We forget that these careers and professions, or this knowledge that gives us a feeling of incredible power, almost like being masters of the universe, is really nothing but an extension of what was already given to us by God, our Heavenly Parent.
If we don’t realize that what we are -- meaning a professional identity -- is different from who we are internally, inside, as the eternal sons and daughters of God, then sometimes we can feel lost. I usually say that you can see a lot in a word. When you look at the word lost as an acronym, you see that the word can signify L, lonely, almost like an orphan, O. Then S, seeking, somebody who’s seeking something. What is everybody seeking at the end of the day? Everybody wants to come home at the end of the day, and there is nothing greater than the feeling of coming home. The thing about home is that’s where there is implicit trust, T, in the relationships that you share with your parents, your siblings, and your spouse.
When we are lost in this modern, fast-paced world, forgetting who we are, not realizing maybe we don’t have our circuitry plugged into this wonderful thing called God, then sometimes we go about our daily lives like lonely orphans, searching for truth, searching for trust, searching for comfort. But when we remember who we are and remember that God is our Heavenly Parent, then nothing can make us feel like we are alone. We realize that we’re part of something bigger than who we are. We are not mere individuals or dust in the wind, as the group Kansas liked to sing. We are excellent beings put upon this earth to leave something beautiful and worthwhile behind.
On October 14 my parents officiated at the blessing of over 40,000 couples all around the world. The incredible thing about the blessing is that it’s a gift from our Heavenly Father to finally allow humanity to graft onto this thing called a heavenly olive branch. For the first time in history, we have a father and a mother, a man and a woman, representing True Parents. Unlike Jesus and Christianity, giving us only the model of a male figure, now we have a model of a male and female figure. But more beautiful than that, we have the model of the True Parents, a model of how we can raise and educate great kids.
As a mother myself, not a day goes by when I do not think about leaving something beautiful behind. If I was born naked and I will leave this world naked, what beauty, what goodness, am I going to leave behind? As a mother, I feel that the most important gift that I can give to humanity is to raise great kids, to raise wonderful children who see God as their Heavenly Parent, wonderful children who are so aware of who they are as sons and daughters of God, incredible children who want to live a life of altruism, for the sake of others, “just because.” Not because they want a reward up in heaven or to eschew punishment in hell, but just because they want to be good people who understand the profundity of the word compassion.
When the Dalai Lama visited Manhattan Center a couple of weeks ago, he defined his religion as kindness. He said, “Kindness is my religion.” Implicit in the word compassion is the call to stand against anything violent. There is a philosophy of nonviolence in that word compassion. When a child begins to see the whole world as his family, it’s no longer the Jews against the Christians; it’s no longer the Muslims against the Christians. We realize that we are part and parcel of one family that belongs to God.
Just as when you look at a brilliant rainbow and see all the different colors included, all the different religions are just different expressions of the divine. Instead of hating each other for our differences, how wonderful it would be if we remind ourselves of our common denominator that is God, our Heavenly Parent. How wonderful it would be if we can raise a generation of beautiful sons and daughters, beautiful men and women of God, who do not look at their lives as only an invitation for suffering and pain but realize that life is about the celebration of something beautiful, something loving, something really profound.
How wonderful it would be to realize that we come naked into this world, we leave naked out of this world, but we can do something beautiful while we have the great gift of our lives. How wonderful it would be if we can inspire the young people to not waste their lives, which are the most precious gifts; every breath they take is a gift from God, so let’s make it count. How wonderful it would be if we can inspire the young people to be not just externally excellent, not just brilliant businessmen, brilliant doctors, but to look beyond the dollar, beyond tenure, beyond to something that’s eternal and to be internally excellent human beings as well. Then the peace that we’ve so longed for in our lives is just around the corner.
At the close of every day, I like to take five or ten minutes to reflect on Luke 1:47, “How I rejoice in my God, my savior.” It reminds me that it’s not the right man, the right woman, the right job, the right career, the right profession, the right house, or the right car that truly makes one happy. It’s in the decision that we make each and every day as mature human beings to live our lives rejoicing in God as our savior. Once we make that choice to remind ourselves who we are and to carry out that decision in our daily life, and we start with God, then everything else will follow.
In addition to different Scripture passages that have become some of my favorites, I like to read a little bit of poetry, too. One of my favorite poets is a Sufi poet named Rumi. I want to leave you today with what he has said. He said to some of his brothers and sisters,
“Do not just read stories. Do not just look and take in what others have done before you or what others will do after you.”
He encouraged his followers to unfold their own myth.
What he is saying is that we have an incredible gift that came from our Heavenly Father that is just waiting to be shared. Our story is waiting to be told. It’s our job to start to slowly unfold our own stories, to allow the greatness, the divine greatness to come out from all of us. The profound understanding that’s speaking with our innermost self is really a call to live our life as a living prayer.
Just as when we become parents and we long for intimate conversations with our children, that’s what God longs for from all of us. Prayer is not just a recitation of a ritual or a memorized Scripture reading. A prayer is a spiritual communication, conversation, communion with our Heavenly Parent. It’s an invitation for God to have us come and talk to him. So converse with God, not just sitting before the altar and praying, but converse with him in everything that you do. Converse with him as you’re driving to work, as you’re putting your children to bed. Let’s make God a part of our lives. In so doing, we realize that we are truly one family after all.
Please have a wonderful Sunday and a lovely week, and God bless
1: Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that "all of us possess knowledge." "Knowledge" puffs up, but love builds up.
2: If any one imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.
3: But if one loves God, one is known by him.
4: Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one."
5: For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth -- as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords" --
6: yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7: However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through being hitherto accustomed to idols, eat food as really offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
8: Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.
9: Only take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.
10: For if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol's temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols?
11: And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.
12: Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
13: Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother's falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.
1: Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us,
2: just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word,
3: it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent The-oph'ilus,
4: that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.
5: In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechari'ah, of the division of Abi'jah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
6: And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7: But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
8: Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,
9: according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
10: And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
11: And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12: And Zechari'ah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
13: But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechari'ah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
14: And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth;
15: for he will be great before the Lord,
and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink,
and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit,
even from his mother's womb.
16: And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God,
17: and he will go before him in the spirit and power of
to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,
and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."
18: And Zechari'ah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years."
19: And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.
20: And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time."
21: And the people were waiting for Zechari'ah, and they wondered at his delay in the temple.
22: And when he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he made signs to them and remained dumb.
23: And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
24: After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she hid herself, saying,
25: "Thus the Lord has done to me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men."
26: In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27: to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28: And he came to her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"
29: But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
30: And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31: And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
32: He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most
and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33: and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever;
and of his kingdom there will be no end."
34: And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"
35: And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
therefore the child to be born will be called holy,
the Son of God.
36: And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
37: For with God nothing will be impossible."
38: And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
39: In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,
40: and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.
41: And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
42: and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43: And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44: For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
45: And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
46: And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord,
47: and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48: for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
49: for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50: And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51: He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
52: he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
53: he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
54: He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55: as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."
56: And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
57: Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son.
58: And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
59: And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechari'ah after his father,
60: but his mother said, "Not so; he shall be called John."
61: And they said to her, "None of your kindred is called by this name."
62: And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called.
63: And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, "His name is John." And they all marveled.
64: And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.
65: And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea;
66: and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What then will this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him.
67: And his father Zechari'ah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,
68: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people,
69: and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70: as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71: that we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72: to perform the mercy promised to our fathers,
and to remember his holy covenant,
73: the oath which he swore to our father Abraham,
74: to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our
might serve him without fear,
75: in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.
76: And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77: to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78: through the tender mercy of our God,
when the day shall dawn upon us from on high
79: to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow
to guide our feet into the way of peace."
80: And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness till the day of his manifestation to Israel.