The Words of In Jin Moon from 2010
On the morning of March 28, 2010, Rev. In Jin Moon enlightened Lovin' Life Ministries congregants on the significance of traditions set up by our True Parents -- in birth, the eight-day ceremony; in marriage, the blessing ceremony; and in death, the holy ascension Seunghwa ceremony. With the sharing of her own personal experience with siblings who had passed, as well as a story of a well-known country singer who had lost her son, it could be seen that these moments are the times in our lives when our True Parents are asking us to remember to have a heart of gratitude and a heart of peace.
Good morning, brothers and sisters. How is everyone this morning? Wonderful! I'm so glad to see you once again.
Last week was a humdinger of a weekend, wasn't it? We had a lot of different things going on at the same time. Last week was the memorial concert of my older brother who had passed away. He was the one who was instrumental in bringing this vision of the Manhattan Center to reality. I have the honor of working here every day and remembering his legacy as I walk the halls of this beautiful building. Truly he was someone who was incredibly important in my life, and I know that he meant a great deal to a lot of our brothers and sisters around the world.
We held the memorial concert to honor him and what he stood for: His name means "March of filial piety." He really tried his best to embody the name given to him by our Heavenly Parent through our True Parents; to this day he remains for me and for a lot of others a symbol of loyalty and filial piety to our True Parents. So in honor of that memory, we were able to celebrate with a grand concert, featuring some of the best artists that we have in our movement. It was not only inspiring to share in the arts and in the camaraderie of each other but also to experience the power of music, or the universal language, as my father likes to call it, and truly remember the day in gratitude to our True Parents and to our Heavenly Parent.
For all the young people who attended, thank you for making that concert a huge success. For the First Generation who were also there to rock on together with the Second and the young people, thank you for being there, and thank you for honoring the memory of my brother.
Last week was also very significant in that we were able to have the presence of our True Parents here in New York City. We had an event at the United Nations honoring the legacies of some great men of history and of our time. This was really a beautiful ceremony in that nothing like it has existed before. It's been a while since my second brother passed away, since the Day of Victory of Love, when Father started celebrating the ascension of our family members who went back to the embrace of our Heavenly Parent.
Last week's event was something monumental in that Father, upon hearing that his old friend Gen. Alexander Haig had passed away, immediately asked some of the True Family and various leaders to attend his funeral service, to bring Father's gift of holy ascension to the ceremony, and to spend time with his family. And, more than that, he invited them to the United Nations for this special event, this holy ascension ceremony for eight men, one of them being General Haig.
Not only were True Parents there, but also the son and grandson of General Haig were also present. Here we were at the United Nations, which symbolizes peace and unity of all different countries; here were our True Parents of humankind, truly gracing not just the building but the evening with a beautiful ceremony honoring the legacies of others. Father, in his philosophy of serving the world and living for the sake of others, was practicing just that. He was practicing living for the sake of others by honoring other great men who have played an important role in history together with him.
I had the opportunity to sit at the table with Alexander, General Haig's son, and his grandson, Christopher. We chatted about the relationship of True Father and General Haig. When we talked about our fathers, we could not help but realize that truly the hand of God, in his mysterious way of working through life to bring people together, prepared these two men to meet and work together for the sake of world peace, leaving a lasting imprint and impact on the world that they graced in their lifetime.
Father had a 13-minute speech to give, but in his exuberance and excitement he ad-libbed and talked about a lot of different things. He was quite taken with General Haig's grandson Christopher and saw in Christopher a bright future for the Haig family. Father kept calling out to him, "Oh, so powerful! Much better looking than the father!" When Father finished his speech, we went onstage and Father shook his hand, saying, "Oh, so much power. So young. So handsome." I turned to Christopher and said, "I think you have a new fan in my father." He just smiled and laughingly said to me, "You know, the feeling is mutual."
Father is such an incredible human being. But more than that, he is such a progressive thinker. I was seated together with Reverend Fauntroy, who has worked as a great congressman for many years and is a dear friend of our church, even to this day still working with me. He turned to me and said, "You know, In Jin, your father is really something special." He had tears in his eyes. He was saying, "I thought I had Reverend Moon figured out. Then he pulls out something like this, a ceremony like this that just stirs me to the bone and moves me like nothing else."
What he was saying was, "I do not have to feel bad because, knowing my good friend Reverend Moon, he'll probably send me off in grand style through the holy ascension ceremony and remember me with this kind of a legacy event." For somebody who has lived his life fighting for civil rights and now together with me is fighting the human rights battle, for somebody who's been a dear friend of our church and of our True Father and Mother, seeing the kind of things that our True Parents have done, the kind of ideas that they're sharing with the world, and the kind of traditions that they are making into reality, he's realizing once again that this man is unique and that he must be a gift from our Heavenly Father.
In the grand style of our True Parents, when Father gets an inspiration to hold such an event, there's not much preparation time. Father says, "I want this done. I'll give you a week or two." That's it. So then we have to scurry and find the venue. Because of renovations being done at the United Nations, none of the big halls were available, so we had to have our event in the cafeteria. But the interesting thing was that I felt again that God was working mysteriously in our lives. As the senior pastor and somebody whose responsibility it was to make this a beautiful event, I felt bad that we could not secure the best hall for our True Parents. But we made the cafeteria as beautiful as possible.
When the event started, however, I was watching the evening unfold. From my vantage point I was looking at the podium and stage. The wall behind the podium and stage was made of glass, so you could actually look out onto the East River. The feeling that one had in looking at the river in a ceremony honoring the legacies of those who have gone back home into the embrace of our Heavenly Parent was of experiencing the metaphor of crossing the river of life to the eternal world.
So we who were there felt incredible serenity and incredible calmness. At the same time we experienced the poignancy of what life is all about, how precious it is to be living at this time together with our True Parents, and how lucky these men were to not only have lived their lives at the same time as our True Parents but to be honored by our True Parents as they make their journey across the river into the eternal life. It was a very moving evening. I'm sure not just myself but Reverend Fauntroy and those seated around me at the table could not help but feel that this was something extraordinary.
When I think about my father, that word keeps on coming to mind: extraordinary. If you look at the way the word is composed, it's actually two words: extra and ordinary. For me the incredible thing about True Father is that he is truly an extraordinary human being, someone so great, so wonderful, so loving, so awesome. Yet what also makes him truly extraordinary to me is that no matter how high he might be sitting, he never ceases to be the everyday man. He never ceases to be ordinary in that he is humble. He never forgets that he is part of humanity; he never forgets that he is here to serve.
If he has the calling to be the leader of men and women of society as the True Father of this world, then he does so with a humble, almost ordinary, almost pedestrian heart in that he's not expecting anything special. But that's what really makes him extra-ordinary.
Sitting at the UN event, looking at these men, listening to their stories, listening to General Haig's son and grandson tell stories about him, I had to say to myself, "How wonderful it is to know that I don't have to be afraid of death!" We never know when we will be called to go back home to our Heavenly Parent. Many people in this world are so afraid to go back home. But the wonderful thing about our True Parents is that through them we have a beautiful tradition of understanding the three main, crucial transitions of our life as events that should be celebrated, not just with our own families, but with the world.
Through our True Parents we have the tradition in our faith of an eight-day ceremony when we have a chance to give our gratitude to our Heavenly Parent and to our world community for a newborn child, offering up the child to God in thanks. When we come to the second juncture, another transition point in our lives, which is marriage, in our tradition we have the wonderful blessing ceremony, when we honor not just ourselves as couples but we honor the couple together with the rest of the world, realizing that we belong to one family, that we are about to graft onto the original olive branch, that we will work toward inheriting the true love of God. That's a beautiful thing. Again, it's a joyous occasion; it's an occasion to celebrate everything that is beautiful.
As a mother who recently sent her eldest son down the aisle with his beautiful bride, I can say that it's probably the most exciting time for any parent: to watch your child go through that second transition of life called marriage, called the blessing.
Here at the United Nations Father shared the beauty of the holy ascension ceremony with the rest of the world, with various dignitaries from around the world. And instead of being overcome by a sense of our own mortality, by a sense of finality, a sense that we cease to exist, we can see it as a beautiful ceremony that anticipates a whole new life in the eternal world in the embrace of our Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Mother.
Just as the baby is prepared for nine months in the womb and has to go through the throes of being born into this life, leaving the world where it used to breathe water for a life in which it must breathe air, likewise when we leave this world, where we are breathing 20,000 liters of air every day, for the eternal life where we breathe this wonderful thing called love, then we can look forward to it with great anticipation. It's just another birth process into something beautiful.
When I think about the kind of life that I've led thus far, knowing that I will be ready at any time to go home when our Heavenly Parent calls my name, it's a wonderful feeling, an incredibly comforting feeling to know that I can look forward to an eternal life with our Heavenly Parent and with my siblings who have gone before me.
In his autobiography, Father talks about how when he was 12 years old he witnessed the remains of his great-grandfather being dug up when the grave was relocated. He had heard all these great stories about his great-grandfather, but then to see the casket opened, to see this great and powerful great-grandfather dwindled into a pile of bones was something quite traumatic for a young boy. In many respects, that would be incredibly difficult for a lot of people.
When I lost my younger brother when I was 18 years old, it was also a difficult and traumatic time for me. But I realized through the beauty of the holy ascension ceremony that although it's okay to grieve, at the same time we must also learn how to be happy so that we can send our loved ones to the next world, riding upon our goodwill, our good wishes, our smiles, and the joyous occasion.
The week when we had the UN event was also the week when we celebrated the day that my older brother passed, on March 17, St. Patrick's Day. Even though the years go by, there is still sometimes a feeling of emptiness and sadness. But when you remember this wonderful thing called the Seunghwa Ceremony and the beauty of the idea that he is ascending, that he's not buried or disappearing but is rising, becoming greater because he will be with our Heavenly Parent, it's an extremely comforting one.
I came to know some stories about Helen Cornelius, a famous country–western singer and songwriter. She has three children. Her eldest son was Joey, and she dearly loved him with all her might. If she had a favorite, I guess you could say that Joey was her favorite. They shared an uncommonly strong bond throughout their lives. But she was always concerned because his great passion was bull riding in rodeos all across the country. As a mother, even though she did her own performing tours in different clubs and venues, she was always worried about Joey and his rodeo riding.
But whenever they got together, he would always ask for one song in particular, "The Rose," a beautiful song. It happens to be one of my favorites. One evening after sharing some dinner and conversation, Joey again asked, "Mother, would you sing `The Rose'?" She sang "The Rose" to her son, but that evening, Helen said, she had a premonition that somehow this was going to be her last performance of that song. She felt a bit uncomfortable after singing, but Joey clapped and said, "Mother, that was so beautiful." Helen said to him, "Just promise me that no matter where you are, please remember to be careful." Joey turned to her and said, "Of course I will be careful, and I will not be hurt. I will always come back home to hear you sing that song."
Several days later Helen got the call from a hospital from her second son, asking her to come right away. Immediately she knew something was wrong. When she arrived at the hospital, she was taken to a room where a sheet covered the body of her beloved Joey. Then she realized that her premonition was not about her own life ending but about her beloved Joey's life.
She said at that moment she was so angry at God, so angry at the world, so angry at the person who led her into the room to be with her departed Joey. It took her months and years to somehow come to a place where she could function. But because she was a workaholic by nature, what she did was immediately put herself into her craft. She started singing and writing songs deep into the night because she did not want to think about where Joey was.
She went through a phase in her life where she was like a furious tornado. Then she realized she was good to nobody, and that living a life being angry at God was not good for her as well.
When she started touring again, she decided to do one of the most difficult things in her life: to give a tribute to Joey at the end of her concerts by singing his favorite song, "The Rose." The first concert she sang was quite difficult, but it was made more difficult by the fact that she knew she had to sing her son's favorite song at the end. When she got to the chorus that says, "A soul that's afraid of dying never learns to live," she had to hold back her heart, which was ready to burst open because she missed Joey so much.
Somehow she got through that song and said later, "Even as I was singing this song, I was so angry at God. I don't remember if my voice came out beautifully or not. I don't remember if I sang in pitch. All I remember is that I was so angry that Joey was not here." But somehow when she got to the last note, something in her heart pulled her aside and whispered in her ear, "Helen, do not be angry. Why not thank God for taking Joey back into his arms?"
She did something incredibly difficult. After all these weeks and months of articulating anger and hatred toward the universe, God, and everything else that took her Joey away, she decided to articulate thanks for the first time. She did so on stage in front of thousands of people. She went on to say, "I lost my 19-year-old son to a rodeo accident, and I was extremely angry at everybody, from God on down. But I realize that now he has gone back home into the embrace of God, and I thank God for taking care of him."
The minute she articulated these words of thanks, she started the process of liberating herself from her own bondage to feelings of hatred and animosity and feeling that she could no longer go on, to a process in which she could begin to heal and realize that maybe God called Joey early for a reason: "As a mom, I might not like this reason why God chose Joey before I could let him go."
Maybe I don't like it as Hyo-Jin Oppa's sister that God called him so early. Maybe I don't like it as a sister to my younger brother, Heung-Jin, that God called him so early. Maybe I don't like it as a sister to know that God called Young-Jin early, before I could let them go. But just like Helen, the minute you start articulating thanks, the minute you start sending this person you love back to God, you realize it is the ultimate gift. In so doing, you learn a heart of gratitude. And in so doing, in a very mysterious and strange way, you realize how much God loves you. Helen, when she uttered these words on stage, realized an incredible feeling of warmth, probably the feeling of warmth that you get when you are liberated from bondage to grief, to hatred, and to negative thinking. But it's a feeling of warmth -- that somehow maybe God was counting on you to go through this; maybe God wants to use you as an instrument to do greater good for other people in the world.
So unbeknownst to her, she had touched thousands and thousands of people by uttering the simple words, "Thank you, God, for taking my Joey back into your embrace." She was acknowledging God. She was acknowledging the existence, the willingness, and the loving heart of God, who wants to receive every child that comes back into his or her arms.
Even more, those in the audience at her concert who had experienced grief and the same feelings of hatred against God and against the world that Helen went through somehow felt liberated because they saw an example that they could identify with in Helen. After her concert, thousands of people lined up to shake her hand and to thank her for those words. In her grief, she found the strength to give gratitude to Heavenly Father, and in that gratitude and its articulation she became the conduit for God to work his and her mysterious magic and heal thousands of people who came to her concert.
It was then that she thought, "Maybe my job is to comfort the tens of thousands of people who come to hear me sing. It's my chance to comfort these people, not just with the universal language of love, but to let them know that I understand the heartbreak of losing somebody. But at the same time, if we can have a grateful heart, then we can actually allow ourselves to be the vessels, to be greater instruments of God's work."
I feel that these traditions set up by our True Parents -- in birth, the eight-day ceremony; in marriage, the blessing ceremony; and in death, the holy ascension Seunghwa ceremony -- are the times in our lives when our True Parents are asking us to remember to have a heart of gratitude and a heart of peace. No matter how difficult something might be, such as what Helen was dealing with in grieving the death of her son, in the end when she realized that God was using her to heal thousands of people through her own experience of loss, she had nothing but thanks to our Heavenly Parent.
As we travel through our own destinies and as we walk our own road of discovery, brothers and sisters, we are alike in that there will be times when things will be excruciatingly difficult. But let's remember what Jesus said in John 16:33, "In me you may have peace. In this world you may have tribulations and trials and frustrations, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world." "Be of good cheer," meaning, "Cheer up. Don't be so bogged down by burdensome things. Don't be so bogged down by worry, fear, and doubt, for I have overcome the world." God is always there with us. Jesus Christ is always there with us. And in True Parents we have overcome the most difficult thing that a human being has to deal with, which is the death of a loved one. We have overcome that difficulty in understanding that this is a time when we prepare our loved ones for a journey, a long journey in which one day we will join together with them.
When I think about the breaking news of our True Parents, how incredibly blessed we are, and how as a woman, a mother, and a daughter I feel so empowered to be living at this time when women can play not just an active role in society but play an active role in a life of faith and to share in this breaking news, I feel that each day is really a gift. Each day should begin with thanks, and each night should end with thanks.
Unlike the men and women of history who have come before us and who will come after us, we are so privileged to be born at this time, to be with our True Parents, to be a part of the process when the tradition is being built. You have caught True Parents at a time when the tradition is in the making.
Instead of looking at God and True Parents and saying, "What can you do for me? What can you do for my life?" it's really a time when we should be the ones to say to our Heavenly Father and Mother, "You have given us so much. You have taught us all we need to know through our True Parents. Now is the time for you to believe in us and all the great things that we will accomplish in your name. This is a time when we want you to believe in us, to be proud of us, to celebrate with us in this beautiful life that we will make our own."
So instead of looking at the past, instead of suffering in the present, we should always have our eyes to the future. And we should always have our eyes on everyone's destiny. Each and every one of us has a special destiny and a special role to play in this world. So we need to keep our eyes open to that and remember that as the eternal sons and daughters of God we are not here to end our lives just as a pile of bones. We are here to leave each of our great legacies behind, which can be honored after we are gone and shared with our children and our great-grandchildren.
Just as the stories of Jesus' disciples John and Peter are told over and over again, and just as the stories of General Alexander Haig and his friendship with our True Father and True Mother will be told over and over again, your stories and your legacy will be told over and over again. But it's up to you, and it's up to me.
Brothers and sisters, please remember this time. Please remember that we all know where we need to go and what we need to do. We need to inherit the true love of God, and we need to share in the breaking news that our True Parents are here and encourage the world to participate in this wonderful thing called an international blessing ceremony, where we express our conviction and commitment not just to each other as a couple, but to God and to the world -- and in that way become one family.
So share the good news of our True Parents with your friends and with our colleagues; share with them how wonderful it is to be part of one family under God. And each and every day, don't forget, always be grateful for each other.
As I come to a close of this one year together with you, on this last Sunday of the year that we have spent together, I must truly thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking this journey with me, for coming together and creating something wonderful and something beautiful. You are awesome sons and daughters of God. Go forward with great pride and conviction, and have a great week. Thank you so much.
Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love, it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower
And you, its only seed
It's the heart, afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It's the dream, afraid of waking
That never takes the chance
It's the one who won't be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul, afraid of dying
That never learns to live
When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snow
Lies the seed
That with the sun's love, in the spring
Becomes the rose
Lyrics and Music by Amanda McBroom