The Words of In Jin Moon from 2010
How is everybody this Sunday morning? I'm happy to see you once again. I bring you greetings from True Parents. In two weeks we will be celebrating the beginning of the lunar year together with our True Parents back in Korea, so we have a great White Tiger Year to look forward to.
When I was thinking about the Sunday Service and what I would like to talk about this morning, I was overcome with a lot of different emotions. In particular, a couple of days ago I had an experience that left me feeling very warm and fuzzy. I woke up to start my morning and jumped into the shower. As I was shampooing my hair, somebody was making some noise in the bedroom and I peeked out. I saw a very tall man standing in front of the window. I thought, "That's odd. It's very early for anybody to be in my room fixing something. That certainly doesn't look like my husband."
So I peered through the shower curtain again because I just had to take another look. Then the person turned. You can call it a dream, a vision, a wild experience, but I saw the side of my brother Hyo Jin's face. He is the reason why we're here at the Manhattan Center. He was intently looking outside the window. But the feeling that I got was that he is very much present with us and very happy to know that the Manhattan Center is alive and well.
Now we have this wonderful ministry called Lovin' Life. I think he's realizing his dream of seeing the Manhattan Center as a cultural center in the world, as the heartbeat of New York City infused with the spirit of God and True Parents through this ministry. I think he was feeling very good. The feeling that he left me with was "Sis, you're on the right track, and don't stop."
In all honesty, sometimes being a woman religious leader is not the easiest thing to do. In fact, I can think of other professional options that might be more to my liking. But whenever I've had a tough day or a tough week, I like to turn to my father's words and to the Good Book. I like to remind myself of those precious words in Scripture such as Romans 12:12, which says, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
When I've had a tough day, these words are an incredible comfort to me: to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, and to be faithful in prayer. Regardless of where we are in life, it has ups and downs. Sometimes life is exhilarating and exciting, but sometimes it's very painful and dark. Sometimes you wonder if you'll ever swim out of the darkness. But this Scripture passage reminds us to be joyful in hope. In fact, it's actually a command: "Be joyful in hope."
When I hear those words, I'm reminded of the words that my father, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, shared with all of us children when we were growing up. He always told us that happiness is not something that you have; rather, being grateful and having a happy life are really a matter of choice. He told us, "You will be happy and you can have a grateful life if you choose to be happy and if you choose to be grateful." If we choose to be joyful in that hope, in the understanding that we belong to our Heavenly Parent who loves us eternally, who loves us absolutely, who loves each and every one of us in a unique way, then we can be filled with hope and with the feeling that no matter where we are in life, God is always walking with us.
That reminds me of a little poem I'm sure many of you have seen in greeting cards. It was written by Margaret Powers, called "Footprints." She had a dream with many scenes, and in some scenes she saw two sets of footprints side by side on the beach. But then she realized that in the lowest points of her life, the darkest moments, there was only one set of footprints. She had to ask the Lord, "Where did you go, Heavenly Father? Why did you leave me?" Heavenly Father answered, saying, "I never left you. I was just carrying you." The footprints that she saw in the final scene of her dream are the footprints of our Heavenly Parent carrying us in our lowest and darkest moments.
This poem is incredibly comforting. If we really believe that our Heavenly Parent in heaven truly loves us as his children, then no matter where we are -- whether we are high with feelings of exhilaration and excitement, in the depths of despair, or suffering through affliction -- our Heavenly Father and Mother are always with us. That has got to be the greatest comfort for anyone to feel and experience, and certainly for me as well.
I remember as a little girl our family spent the summers in Gloucester and Provincetown. My father would invite many leaders and brothers and sisters to come experience the beauty of the ocean and the challenge of being on the open sea. He called it Ocean Challenge, Ocean Church. I spent my whole summer vacation there. Lucky -- or unlucky -- me! Even though many times I wanted to stay in Gloucester and do things about town or spend time with friends, because I happened to not get seasick, I always had to go to sea with my father at 4:30 in the morning, and we'd be out all day.
In the beginning, it was incredibly exciting, but, day in and day out, it becomes extraordinarily difficult. I had the responsibility of cooking: preparing lunch and different snacks and drinks for people on the boat. I was below decks most of the time and could not really enjoy the ocean. For me it was really a labor of love. Many times I felt so much like complaining because I was only 12 and wanted to go back home, but my father was keeping me out at sea. How horrid and horrible! No amount of pleading would get my father to take me back home until the fishing was done.
Whenever we made it back before dinner, it was the greatest thing because then we didn't have to eat the same kind of sandwiches that we already had every day. We could eat some hot food, a nice homemade meal. When we got back before dinnertime, I would rush into the kitchen. Back then one of my favorite foods was Korean-style kimchi fried rice. When you're out in the salt air of the ocean, eating very bland food, you want to come back home and have something hot and spicy.
This particular day when we got back, I rushed into the kitchen because I wanted a kitchen sister to fix kimchi fried rice for me. But she just looked at me and said, "We don't have the ingredients." Then my world fell apart because I was dreaming about this the whole ride back home. I said, "What! No ingredients?!" I had a volcanic eruption, I'm sorry to say.
My mother rushed into the kitchen and said, "What is going on, daughter? Why are you having this eruption?" I said, "Omma, Omma, I was dreaming about kimchi fried rice all the way back home, and there are no ingredients! No ingredients! They used it all for dinner tonight. I want my kimchi fried rice!"
Then my mother took me by the shoulder and pulled me aside and said, "Okay, first of all, you're going to calm down." When my mother talks to me lovingly and very calmly and very slowly, I listen. It's the power of the feminine here. She just quietly calmed me down. She said, "Okay, now you want this fried rice. Why don't we look around the kitchen to see what we have? The sister says she doesn't have those particular ingredients, but let's see what we have. Let's look in the refrigerator."
The fresh kimchi was served for dinner, but for fried rice you want to use kimchi that's a little more fermented than usual. But that was missing. So my mother said, "Okay, we don't have the old kimchi. Let's see what we have. Well, we don't have kimchi, but we have something crunchy. We have Vlasic dill pickles." I just stared at her. "Vlasic dill pickles instead of kimchi?! You've got to be kidding!"
Then she said, "We don't have any leftover bulgogi or kalbi, but we have Oscar Mayer frankfurters." I was staring at her, thinking, "She's not really going to make me eat this, is she?" It just doesn't sound as good as kimchi fried rice. How are you going to marry an Oscar Mayer frankfurter with a Vlasic dill pickle and come up with fried rice that might be palatable to your senses? I just could not see that happening.
Then she said, "We're kind of low on sesame oil. We won't have enough, but we do have good old-fashioned butter." I was watching my mother the whole time and could not believe that she was actually going to put butter in fried rice. That's sacrilege for a lot of Oriental people! She said, "Come here." She took out a pot, got some cold rice, and started making her version of my kimchi fried rice. We had ko-chu-chang, hot pepper paste, and she put a lot in there, I think basically to cover up the taste of the frankfurters and the dill pickles. We had Kikkoman soy sauce, and she said, "You know, we're not doing too bad here!" I definitely was not a believer while she was cooking this concoction.
But then she tasted it and said, "It's not that bad. You really should try it." After she prepared it, she put it in a really beautiful bowl for me. It really didn't matter what kind of food was in it, that bowl made anything look really good. Then before she served it to me she sprinkled some chopped scallions here and there, some sesame seed, and it looked divine. She said, "Go ahead and have a taste."
I cautiously approached this bowl of I-don't-know-what-it-was. But my mother urged me and said, "Have a taste. It's not bad." I cautiously took one bite. I couldn't detect the crunch of the kimchi, but there was something crunchy in there, the dill pickle. I couldn't quite make out the bulgogi, but there was a new texture in there, the Oscar Mayer frankfurter. After I put my apprehension aside and just closed my eyes and tried to savor what my mother lovingly prepared for me, with the ingredients that she happened to find, I said, "It's not so bad." If you could take the Vlasic out of your mind, take the word butter out of your mind, take the words Oscar Mayer frankfurter out of your mind, and you're just enjoying what your mouth is experiencing, it wasn't bad at all.
After I finished, I had to get my younger sister, and I brought her to try it. "I don't know what it is, but our mother just made it. Please try it." She had it, and she loved it. Just like in the Life cereal commercial, "If Mikey likes it, everybody likes it," in my family, if my younger sister likes it, most likely other people will like it, too. So the others came into the kitchen and we had a consensus. We decided that this was much better than the other kimchi fried rice that we liked so much.
That's when I realized that life has a strange way of putting us in situations that invite volcanic eruptions that invite a feeling of, "Why don't I have this? Why don't we have this?" But actually what if we trust, just the way I trusted my mother, that if she said it was good, it was going to be good? Likewise, we can trust our Heavenly Father when he says to us, "Be joyful in hope, be happy and be grateful for the kind of life that we have because life is truly an opportunity to create something beautiful."
This is how I came to know that sometimes from the most difficult or strenuous situations, something beautiful, something new and better comes out just because we are willing to trust, just because we are willing to try, and just because we are willing to believe.
From time to time I make the same concoction, and now we have named it Sausage Bibimbop. It's my mother's recipe, and all the grand-kids love it. My kids ask for it. It's become part of my life, part of my children's lives, and it will be part of their children's lives. So something that was an occasion for me to be angry actually turned into something beautiful that I can pass down to my children and grandchildren.
When God asks us in Romans 12:12 to not just be joyful in hope but also to be patient in affliction, the person that comes to mind is a woman called Fanny Crosby. I'm sure many of you know her as the Grande Dame of Hymns: she has written numerous Christian hymns that are sung all over the world. She was born in 1820 and lived well into her 90s before she went back to the embrace of our Heavenly Parent.
She was an unlikely person to have touched so many lives. First of all, she was born to a father and mother who were very poor. When she was six weeks old and suffering from an eye infection, the doctor back then mistreated the infection and it caused her to be blind. So she was blind at six weeks of age. Several months later her father passed away, leaving her mother, Mercy Crosby, alone at age 21 and without any great prospects in life.
But her mother carried on, working hard as a maid at any kind of job she could get. But Fanny, or Frances Jane, as she was originally named, had a kind of guardian angel in her grandmother Eunice. Though the future career opportunities for a blind girl in the 1820s and 1830s didn't look that great, Eunice saw her granddaughter as a gift from God. Eunice knew that she was born with a purpose, that she had so much to give to the world. Even though she was blind, her grandmother believed that there was a purpose behind it: Maybe it was her affliction that was going to turn her into a greater daughter of God.
Eunice taught her to not understand what impossible meant. Back then, putting a blind girl into a mainstream school was unheard of, but her grandmother encouraged Fanny to enter the local public school. In her third year of her education there, she discovered the beauty of poetry and realized she had a gift for it. In fact, all her teachers recognized her gift and her intellectual powers. She was a mental sponge that soaked up anything that was taught. She had almost a photographic memory, so the teachers were excited and encouraged her to dream and to write and recite poetry before her classmates and her school.
Her grandmother was right there, urging her on: "You're going to be a great woman of God. You're going to move a lot of people with your writing. You're going to inspire a lot of people with your poetry, so continue to write." But as she got into her middle-school years, her blindness became a problem. Her mother entered her into an institution for the blind in New York City, where she met many wonderful teachers who encouraged her. There she took off in learning to read with Braille and had the confidence to recite her poetry in front of the class.
She became so eloquent in her readings that whenever anyone important visited the institution, the school officials asked her, "Could you please recite your poetry for the dignitaries?" The living presidents became her best friends, and they were so moved by this blind girl that they said, "You need to recite your poetry at Congress." At the tender age of 17, this blind girl with an unlikely beginning, losing her father and being struck with blindness at six weeks of age, became a sensation at Congress. She spoke there three times in the course of her life.
But when she realized that she had a gift, she thought, "I'm not just going to recite my poetry; I want to be a published author, like my idols, Homer and Milton, who were also blind." Seeing them as her inspiration for what she could be, at the tender age of 24 she published a book called The Blind Girls, and Other Poems. It was a huge sensation back then. She became famous for her work.
She was writing a lot of secular poetry, but as she got older she began to take in the world around her. She couldn't see, but she could feel and sense the suffering on the street. For blind people, perhaps because they do not have the power of sight, oftentimes their other senses become heightened. She became really sensitive to the voices of people, especially to the voices of people crying, to the voices of anguish on the streets. She started to think, "How can I help these people? How can I help the prostitutes? How can I help the orphans? How can I help the people who no longer have hope or dreams in their lives?"
Then she suffered through the cholera epidemic of 1851, hearing and feeling all the death around her. She said, "I must find my relationship with God." So she went to the nearby John Street Methodist Church and there had the first spiritual experience of her life. There, in 1851, she pledged her life to God, our Heavenly Parent. She continued to write her secular poetry, but because she was such a gifted writer and people knew about her magic with words, she got to meet a famous musician and composer named William Bradbury. Together they became a phenomenal team. At the age of 44, she started writing hymns.
The interesting thing about her life is that right before she started working with this gentleman, she suffered probably one of the greatest losses of her life. She married a wonderful man when she was 37 years old and very soon afterward welcomed the news that she would be a mother. But the child was born dead. She suffered deeply from this trauma and fell into the depths, the lowest point of her life. She wondered whether she would ever get out, whether the poetry, which had been a vehicle for understanding throughout her life, could really bring her out of something like this.
After a grieving process that took several years, she decided to try poetry again, but this time she decided to marry poetry to music. The result was the first hymn she wrote, called "Safe in Jesus' Arms." It was actually this hymn that William Bradbury heard that so inspired him to contact her and want to work with her. When she teamed up with him, she put herself on a strictly disciplined schedule of writing three to five hymns each week. By the end of her life, she had compiled a huge collection of 8,000 hymns. Her hymns are sung to this day in many churches around the world. Many ministers have said that her words and hymns have brought more salvation than the best preachers.
This unlikely heroine, this petite, blind woman, ended up giving so much to the world because she did not blame God for her blindness. In fact, she embraced it almost as a gift. Toward the end of her life, someone asked her, "If God gave you three wishes and God told you that one of them could be fulfilled, would you ask God to cure your blindness?"
Fanny gave a very interesting answer. She said, "Being blind hasn't been easy, and in many respects it's been burdensome because I wish I could see what you see. God closed the windows of my eyes, but that compelled me to open the windows of my heart. When God compelled me to open the windows of my heart, I realized that I want to honor and praise him for the rest of my life and in that way give something back to the world. Touch the world with something beautiful. Touch the world with the divinity that is within all of us. We are all divine beings. We are all God's eternal sons and daughters." She continued, "I do not wish for my eyes to be opened. I am grateful that God gave me my affliction because as long as I was willing to persevere, be patient, be grateful, and work through my affliction, then I realized that through my suffering, through my affliction, I could give so much to the world." And she did give so much to the world.
Romans 12:12 finally reminds us to be faithful in prayer. When we say someone is a faithful daughter of God or a faithful son of God, we usually think of that person as an internally excellent person, as somebody who's excellent in moral integrity, in character, and in his or her willingness to live for the sake of others. We know that a great pianist does not become great overnight. When we see externally excellent people, say, straight-A students or valedictorians, how did they become excellent? It is because they live a disciplined life, practicing excellence each and every day, devoting themselves to their studies, doing their homework, doing the research, writing and rewriting term papers over and over again.
When Aristotle reminds all of us that excellence is not an act but a habit, what he is saying is that an excellent person is not somebody who acts excellently for just one day. If somebody is truly excellent, it's because he or she has lived a life of excellence in practicing and applying his principles so that it becomes habitual.
When we see that our dear brothers and sisters are excellent in faith, or excellent as sons or daughters of God, or excellent in prayer, we know that they are excellent because they have practiced. They have made prayer a part of their life, and a great habit. For me, better than a mere habit, the wonderful thing about prayer is that there's a sound associated with it. When we speak with the voice that God gave us and engage him and her in an intimate conversation, it's probably one of the most profound experiences that anybody can have.
This passage from Scripture reminds us that it's important not just to feel and not just to believe but to articulate with our own lips, with our own mouth, our belief system, practice it, and be faithful to it every day. When we're faithful in prayer, when we're excellent human beings, and when we can live our lives as incredible sons and daughters who are like light bulbs to the world, illuminating the world of darkness with the power of true love, what we realize is that God, our Heavenly Parent, is asking us to open up our spiritual eyes and to realize how incredibly blessed we really are.
This life is not a meaningless voyage. We're not dust in the wind. We have a divine purpose: to express our own individual divinity to the world and to leave something beautiful that can inspire, that can encourage, that can empower our brothers and sisters now and the ones who will come in the generations ahead. Fanny is no longer here with us, but her hymns are, as well as the beautiful divinity within that was expressed because she was patient through her affliction and because she was always joyful in hope and ever faithful in prayer. Even to this day her writings, her poetry, and her hymns inspire us.
It's always an incredible honor for me to stand here on Sunday morning, just so that I can remind you how incredible our lives are, and even more so because our True Parents are here with us. We have our True Parents here with us. We have a man and a woman who can stand in the position of True Parents and really show the world the true relationship between a man and a woman. We have for the first time a true family. I feel so privileged to be a member, to be working out or dealing with everything that comes in order to build an ideal family. How wonderful it is that all of us have an opportunity to graft onto the true olive branch and inherit the true love of God ourselves, the opportunity to build an ideal family in our own lifetime.
Brothers and sisters, this is not a time to be wallowing in darkness. This is not a time to be wallowing in our own afflictions or suffering. Our Lord up in heaven and our True Parents, who are with us, are asking us to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, to be faithful in prayer, and to remind ourselves how uniquely beautiful we really are.
Please have a wonderful Sunday and know that, just as the band sang earlier, no matter how difficult it is, God is our Heavenly Parent and we are all divine beings. In fact, if you could truly see yourself with your spiritual eyes, you would realize that all of you have a beautiful halo about you. No matter how difficult life is, no matter how wonderful life is, we should take life one day at a time and always rejoice in the glory of God, our Heavenly parent. So please have a blessed day and a blessed week. Thank you.
1: I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2: Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
3: For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him.
4: For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function,
5: so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
6: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;
7: if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching;
8: he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
9: Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good;
10: love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.
11: Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord.
12: Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
13: Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.
14: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
15: Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
16: Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited.
17: Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.
18: If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.
19: Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
20: No, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head."
21: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened
at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about
"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."
The LORD replied:
"My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."