The Words of In Jin Moon from 2010
On the morning of May 23, 2010, Rev. In Jin Moon spoke about the important path that each of us takes to understand who we are and the meaning of our lives. Rev. Moon specified that if we feel we have lost our direction or purpose it's because we have lost touch with our souls, and have not yet had the realization that there is a very special meaning for us to take part in the journey and process of life. When we start realizing that any difficulty we're faced with is an opportunity, if we concentrate on the essentials of life every obstacle that we meet along the way we only be an "added spice that will make the end meal that much richer and that much more satisfying".
Good morning, brothers and sisters. How is everyone? What happened this morning? So much energy! The congregation feels like you started the day off with a protein shake or something. I'm delighted to see you once again.
As was mentioned earlier, we have a lot of people from all across the country together with us on this Sunday attending a seminar for the satellite churches. I am so delighted to hear that the seminars went really well and everybody had a great experience. I heard that a lot of people were inspired and more excited than before in terms of applying what we want to do with Lovin' Life Ministries in the second year. I want to thank you for your participation and your support.
Part of the reason why I wanted to start off my sermon with a video clip of what goes on behind the scenes is that I really would like everyone in the audience to realize how much work goes into preparing a Sunday worship service like this. This is not just about coming and hearing Rev. In Jin Moon speak. It's really a group effort here. So many brothers and sisters go about their business to make this Sunday what it is.
I feel that probably the most important thing that this video shows is that people understand that we're doing something good for the community, we are doing something good for the world, and we are doing something good for the movement. There is an understanding that we are applying the philosophy of living for the sake of others every time we prepare for another Lovin' Life Service.
This is an opportunity for me as the senior pastor to thank my team and to thank a lot of people whom you don't see every weekend, but they are the ones that make Lovin' Life what it is. So could I ask you to give them a round of applause?
I may be the mouthpiece or the face of Lovin' Life Ministry, but I certainly cannot do what I do without the rest of my body -- the hands and the feet and the torso, the knees and the ankles and the elbows and the fingers that allow me to do what I do. I could not do it without them. So I'm always deeply grateful for such a great team that I have working together with me.
I was meditating this morning and thinking about what I can share with the congregation, what I can talk about that can really help you understand that this is such an incredible time that we're living in, and this call to live for the sake of others is an incredibly profound thing that we have a chance to apply in our lives.
I thought I'd take a moment to talk about the meaning of service. Over the years our True Parents have taught us that probably the greatest thing we can do with our lives is to live for the sake of others. I've often thought that the First Generation of our movement took that to heart so literally that they were dying for the sake of others. They were so giving of themselves, so sacrificial that perhaps they forgot to feed their children, to check whether the mortgage on the house was sound. Perhaps they forgot to provide clothing or a proper notebook for their child to start school in the fall. The First Generation gave so much of themselves, living for the sake of others.
I'm a huge believer that our Heavenly Parent did not create each and every one of us in such a unique and special way just to make us suffer. I believe that God created us in this way because our Heavenly Parent has a special destiny for all of us. Our Parent in heaven knew that the best way to bring out the beautiful characteristics within us is by practicing, living, and applying this simple philosophy of living for the sake of others.
In the morning, when I think about how I'm going to go about the business of the day, living for the sake of others, I keep a couple of things in mind. One of the first things I remind myself is something that my father told me a long, long time ago during our summer of fishing at Gloucester. I asked him, "What do you mean, living for the sake of others? How do you live for the sake of others? I live because I breathe, and I walk and I talk and I sing and I read. But how do I do that for the sake of others?"
My father looked at me and said something I can never forget. He said, "In Jin, you have too many questions. But I like that because that means you are searching for an answer. You are searching for an understanding and meaning in your life. I like that." Then he said, "You know, living for the sake of others is a very simple philosophy, but it's probably one of the most difficult things you can do with your life. It's remembering God, your fellow man, and your brothers and sisters before yourself. So when you're hungry, you want to eat; but before you eat you remember God and you remember the people in the world who might not be as blessed as you are to have food in front of you. Remembering that, you're grateful for the plate of food in front of you. And you're grateful for the family that prepared this food for you. Then you can eat."
Father said something very interesting. "When you're living for the sake of others, it's almost as if you were chosen by God to serve. Service is incredibly important when you're living for the sake of others. How do you serve others?" He said, "A doctor might think that the best way to serve his patients is have the greatest knowledge of the medical texts. Or a musician might think it's the virtuosity of his performance -- his agility and skill -- that inspires people."
Also on that day Father told me something I think is extremely profound. He said, "You don't serve people with what you know or with the profession that you do well. If you are a true doctor living for the sake of others, you serve your patients with who you are. If you are a true musician, you are not serving the audience with what you are, a performer of incredible virtuosity, but you serve the audience with who you are." My father said that an understanding of who you are comes first and foremost in understanding that God is our Heavenly Parent. When we understand that, and when we understand that we are his sons and daughters, we realize that we're part of something incredible -- this incredible universe, this rich reservoir of true love that flows through our veins. We are eternal beings, divine beings. When we realize these things, it helps us to go back to an understanding of what we are in our core.
For instance, a mom may express her love for her children through her cooking. But even if she graduated from the best French culinary institute and can create fantastic meals, it's not what she is that's going to truly serve her children. The secret ingredient in what makes that meal extra special is not the dexterity with which she adds spices to the meal. It's in knowing who she is, that she is a divine being, that she has the great blessing and opportunity to really love her children. It's in understanding who she is that makes the meal extraordinary.
When we realize who we are, and when we realize that we are infused with the spirit and love of our Heavenly Parent, we start moving with our hearts and serving with our hearts. When my father said, "You must serve with who you are, not what you know, not what you do," that's what he was saying. You must serve people with your heart, with the inner core of who you are. Then the meal prepared by this mother will be the most extraordinary in that not only will it satisfy the taste buds but it will comfort the soul. We call it comfort food because people can feel the love that went into making the food.
The mother isn't doing it because she has to or because she knows how. She is doing it from her heart, understanding who she is and understanding who her children are. It's that love, that heart-infused love that is so satisfying and so comforting to our children.
It's interesting to note that Kabala, a mystical teaching in Judaism, teaches that at some point in the beginning of the universe there was something called the Holy, with a capital H. But one day this Holy was broken down into tiny pieces and dispersed throughout the universe. These tiny pieces of the Holy, the tiny sparks, if you will, dispersed throughout the universe, exist in everything and everyone. The God-spark, or these tiny little pieces that used to form this gigantic Holy, exist in each and every one of us and in everything in our universe.
The Kaballists are saying that we have within us this divine spark, this divine fragment of what used to be understood as the Holy -- or in our understanding, God. So we are an extension of the divine. Everything that we do, if we truly understand who we are, should be divine and should be extraordinary, sparkling and beautiful.
When I meditate on how we should live for the sake of others, I remember that when we truly love somebody, what we are doing is constantly giving thanks as we go about our daily business. When I was a little girl, our grandmother lived together with us in our home. She was a very devout woman. She started her day always with a cold shower condition. She would walk around the property 7 or 21 or 40 times, always a providential number. She would constantly be murmuring something, always articulating something.
Once, being the curious little girl that I was, I said to my grandmother, "What are you mumbling? Why do you walk around, almost like a crazy woman, mumbling to the universe? What are you saying?" She told me, "If you live your life and you're grateful for everything that God has given you, you will find yourself at my age walking around your house, murmuring the things that I do."
She said, "What I'm mumbling is thanksgiving," or what she called "little blessings." She said, "When I look at you, I thank God for giving me such a wonderful granddaughter. When I look at the blue sky, I thank God for giving me this blue sky. When I see this house that protects us from the elements, I thank God for providing such a house and a room where I can live. Everything in the universe is something prepared by very special hands, by the hands of people that we love, and by the mysterious hand of God, always taking care of us, always loving us."
My grandmother said, "It doesn't matter whether it's prayer time or not. A prayer time is really when we utter words to develop a relationship with God." She said that when you give thanks, when you give little blessings, thankful words for having such a wonderful husband or wife, or wonderful children, or wonderful food to eat, what you are doing is acknowledging the divine in something else, whether it's a thing or a human being. When you articulate thanks, little blessings that you throw to each other, you're acknowledging the universe as something that belongs to God, connected to God, and something that works together with you in harmony to make you what you are.
I've thought about my grandmother from time to time. When I first got to college and met a lot of people from different faith backgrounds, I noticed that quite a few Indian students had a special greeting, "Namaste." I asked what that meant, and they said, "It literally translates to 'I see the divine spark within you.'" That's how the Indian people greet each other, just like the way Hawaiians say, "Aloha," and tell you that they love you. The way that people from India greet one another is by saying, "I see the divine spark within you." It's a blessing of sorts. You are blessing the divine in the other person, recognizing that person as that divine human being.
When we acknowledge somebody as that divine being, when we greet each other, "I see the divine spark within you," we decide to acknowledge the divine in the other person. In so doing, we are serving the other person because we are acknowledging who that person is and how important each and every person is in our life.
As a parent I find myself sending little blessings: "Thank you, God, for such a wonderful son. Thank you for such a wonderful daughter. Thank you for such a wonderful daughter-in-law," and so on. I find myself wanting to thank people and throw blessings to people that I have difficulty with. We have people we love and people we have a hard time with, right? But the incredible thing about giving people thanksgiving and articulating those blessings is that it really helps us to serve them, starting from our hearts, starting from the place that is important.
Many times when I had a problem with different siblings while growing up, my grandmother encouraged me, "Throw them a little blessing. Throw them a little thanksgiving. Your younger sister might give you a tough time, but because she gives you a tough time, it's making you into a better person, a bigger person. It's giving you a bigger heart. It's allowing you to respond to her in a more mature way and not in a vitriolic way. It's teaching you how to take a breath before you attack. And better yet, take a breath and love."
My grandmother used to say, "Repeat after me: I am grateful for my younger sister." So I would begrudgingly mutter, "I … am … grate…ful. But she grates me like a knife!" Then my grandmother would say, "Finish your sentence." Then I would mutter, "I am grateful for my younger sister." Then she would say, "Repeat after me: She is a beautiful child of God." Then I would look at my grandmother, "She's a monster! She was not beautiful to me today. She was an absolute horror." But my grandmother would say to me, "Repeat after me: She is a beautiful child of God."
So I labored through the second sentence, "She's a beautiful … ummmm." Then my grandmother said, "Repeat after me: I love my sister for helping me make me what I am.'" So I begrudgingly said those words. She made me repeat those three sentences over and over again.
Perhaps I got lost in the murmuring or in trying to finish my sentence, but though I started off very angry, when offering thanksgiving or throwing my blessings to my younger sister that gave me a lot of grief, I realized that because she gave me a lot of grief, it allowed me an opportunity to offer something back, to serve her with my love, honor her with my love. In so doing, I could realize that I was being healed in the process. That was really a magical moment for me.
When we are little, we go through different struggles. As little children perhaps we can't communicate with our parents. Perhaps you were born in America to Japanese parents and your mother is not the most affectionate type of person. Maybe in your family the mother is the military genius and the father is the soft one. Perhaps you are yearning for that motherly touch that never comes your way. You want to be angry, but you really can't be, because even if you got angry in English, your mother would not understand you, so you're stuck.
What do you do in a situation like this? How do you communicate with a parent whom you cannot have a conversation with, who exists in a different world? How do you learn to love this person, to serve this person by practicing "living for the sake of others"?
That's when offering thanksgiving or little blessings becomes incredibly important, when you start realizing that the difficulty you're faced with is an opportunity to do something. It's usually when we're pushed to a crisis point that we actually do something about it. When we're extremely angry, ready to erupt, that's the moment of encounter when we have a considerable opportunity to acknowledge the divine in the other person.
As frustrated as we might be because we have a mother who cannot speak our language -- and I mean many kinds of love language, not just the spoken language -- this is an opportunity for us to serve this person by offering our thanks, offering thanks that we have the chance to somehow relate to this divine spark of a person. It's within our hand to make that magic happen. It's within our hands to acknowledge the divine in the other person.
Instead of castigating her as a worthless person who can't even speak our language, she becomes the reason why we grow deeper in our love, why we become stronger in our faith, why we become courageous in the arena of love and take the first step in loving the mother, the parents.
Many times our True Parents were traveling all around the world and were rarely home. Growing up in a huge family, we were raised by many nannies. Before I came to the United States at age eight, I had eight different nannies. Can you imagine? Just when you're getting comfortable with one nanny, you get another. Trusting becomes incredibly difficult. How do you trust someone and give yourself to someone; how do you live for the sake of others? If you're really living for the sake of others, you're entrusting your heart to them, and they can do whatever they want with your poor vulnerable heart.
This is something all of my siblings and I have had to deal with all our lives. When we contemplate the word service and how we're going to live our lives for the sake of others, we ask ourselves, "How do we apply this in our daily lives?" Maybe we open a door for someone, but how do we really apply this philosophy by understanding what it means in ordinary existence?
Just as my grandmother reminded us that articulating blessing is important, my mother used to say, "You have to move your focus from the superficial to the essential things in life." Whenever she says this, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a prestigious doctor who runs one of the biggest hospitals in Korea. He's seen a lot of people get sick, a lot of people get better, and a lot of people pass away. He told me, "I did not believe in God when I started my medical profession. I thought that as long as I honed my craft and applied what I know that I could be a person who really serves the world. I never really had an understanding of what God is."
But he told me that in the years that he started working in the emergency room, later becoming a resident physician, and finally the one who runs the hospital, his experiences took him from being an atheist to being a devout Christian. He said that these patients are from diverse backgrounds and religious traditions. Many of them are atheists, agnostics, or communists. Others are fervent Christians or Buddhists. He has treated people from all walks of life. He told me that by dealing with all these sick patients he realized that there was a thread that ties every patient he has treated.
He said, "It's amazing how my job is to cure people, but when I dealt with my patients clinically, medically, I realized the only thing I was doing was curing the illness. When I understood that the purpose of my profession was only to heal sickness, I realized I needed something more than my know-how as a doctor. I realized that in order to heal someone I had to tap into an understanding of what a soul is."
He said that it is amazing how it doesn't matter where someone is from -- it's universal that every human being has a capacity for, and desires to have, a spiritual experience, which can be found in the soul. There are many names over the centuries in different religions, such as atman, or Rah. The Seneca called it the "orenda," and the great Christian mystic Meister Eckhart called it the God seed, but the soul is where human beings find their meaning, their value, and understanding.
As a doctor he realized that the language of the soul is meaning. When you are confronted with illness, it pushes you to a crisis point forcing you to evaluate what is superficial and what is essential. He has treated a lot of people who superficially were powerful and had everything they needed, but when they were pushed to the crisis point by illness, they had to focus on the essential, on the meaning and value of life, on what is important in life.
A person who is perhaps driven by money and career but suddenly is pushed to a crisis point by a diagnosis of colon cancer realizes that the most essential thing is life, is breathing the next day, is telling the people in his or her life, "I love you." By going through an illness, these people rediscover the souls that they have lost along the way. They rediscover the meaning of their lives.
This doctor went on to tell me that he saw himself trying to cure the illness, but he didn't realize that the meaning of his true vocation was to heal. He said the shamans and medicine men of olden times didn't concentrate on treating the corporal body, but were interested in treating the body holistically. Only recently with the advent of modern medicine do we have a need or push to cure, but we have forgotten what it means to heal.
He told me that a lot of these shamans or medicine men would refer to illness as a "soul loss." For them, illness meant a loss of direction, of purpose, of mystery and awe. So when they treated an illness, they were not just treating the body but also the heart. In dealing with many terminally ill patients, this doctor realized how incredibly important that is and how incredibly powerful it is to develop trust with patients so they understand that the doctor is there to help heal and accept in their soul that that's what they want.
Many people who are looking for meaning in their lives -- including me, when I was young -- think they have to accomplish many things, and then they'll understand what they're all about. I didn't realize something that this doctor realized through his five decades in medicine. He said that finding meaning in our lives begins with seeing things differently. It starts with looking in a different way at what we are so used to. Many times, the doctor said, finding that understanding in the soul does not mean that we have to change our lifestyle or that we have to live differently. It's a call for us to look at the things that we take for granted in a different way.
If we have lost our direction or purpose, or have lost the mystery and awe of breathing every day and living with our Heavenly Parent and here together with our True Parents, it's because we have lost touch with our souls, and we have lost touch in knowing how to articulate this language of the soul by realizing that there is a very special meaning in each and every one of our lives. We have a special destiny. We were put here on earth to exercise true love, to have a chance at serving other people by acknowledging the divine within them, and having a relationship that allows us to be grateful, that allows us to articulate thanksgiving and give blessings because at the end of the day we know who we are and we know how special each and every one of us is.
In Exodus the Bible says, "Build altars where I have reminded you who I am, and I will come and bless you there." This passage is God telling us to remember and be mindful of the blessings that we receive the minute we decide to offer blessings to life again.
When God asks us to remember, when God asks us to remind ourselves, it is a call to be grateful, to articulate our thanksgiving and our blessings in that moment during the week when we can have some special time. Perhaps we are so busy that we cannot set aside time to pray. But we can always be thankful and we can always offer blessings to those we love and to those we have difficulty with, so that we understand ourselves to be part of this incredible family, this one family of God. Despite where we come from, despite the different understandings that we may have, despite the difficulties we may have to go through, we are really never alone because no matter where we are in life, that divine spark, or the God-spark that Kabala talks about, or the understanding that we are divine, eternal children of God that our True Parents talk about, is in each and every one of us. We are never alone because God is with us each and every step of the way.
Even in moments when we feel that there is nothing but silence all around us, sometimes it just takes a whole new way of seeing that silence. You realize that what you might once have considered an oppressive silence can be transformed into something like beautiful silence, an occasion for you to listen to the meaning of your life that your soul is conveying to you, to listen to the melodies of the universe that run through each one of us.
Despite where we are in life, life is a journey; life is a process. Every obstacle, every difficulty, every bit of suffering that we meet along the way is just an added spice that will make the end meal that much richer and that much more satisfying.
I share this in remembrance of my father and mother and my grandmother, who have shared with me these loving words, "Serve people with who you are, not what you know, not what you do. Give thanks. Offer blessings to people you love, and offer blessings to people that you have a tough time with. When you articulate these blessings, you will realize that you are becoming a deeper, richer, and more understanding person."
As my mother says, "Concentrate on the essentials of life. Move from the superficial to the essential, to what is really important." Well, God has given me a healthy body. God has given me this day, another Sunday when the Lovin' Life team has an opportunity to serve all of you with our hearts, with who we are, with our offerings of thanksgiving and blessing, and in wanting to honor what is essential in all of you -- and that is that you are divine beings, and beautiful, special, precious children of our Heavenly Parent.
Brothers and sisters, on this beautiful Sunday morning, remember who you are. Have a great day and a great week. Thank you.