The Words of In Jin Moon from 2010

Tackle Marriage With A Plan Of Action

In Jin Moon
October 17, 2010
Lovin' Life Ministries

After returning from the Blessing Ceremony held on October 10, 2010, senior pastor Rev. In Jin Moon spoke of what creating an ideal family involves, including the attitude that each should have when entering the marriage relationship. "When you're thinking about the blessing and marriage, you're preparing yourself for a great deal of love and happiness but also for a great deal of hard work and effort, which sometimes I think gets side swept," she explained.

Rev. Moon shared that they key to creating this relationship is both having a common purpose, stressing the importance of teamwork and equal respect. "We are entering this relationship because we honor the dynamic teamwork of a man and a woman truly respecting, honoring, and loving each other, and thereby empowering, inspiring, and encouraging each other."

Good morning, brothers and sisters. How is everyone this morning? It's so good to be back in the States after a week-long trip to Korea, where we spent a wonderful time with our True Parents as they presided over the Holy Blessing ceremony there. It was an incredible event with tens of thousands of couples from all around the world joining in on this special day.

As I had shared with you earlier, this blessing is significant for the world and our community. This is the first blessing in which our True Father allowed individuals to choose their own spouses. We know that because of the Fall a lot of the First Generation -- who were indemnifying and wanted to find renewed life by grafting onto the original olive branch to substantiate the true lineage -- went through a great deal of difficulty. The Blessing was a time for them to show Heavenly Parent and our True Parents their willingness to think of God before themselves.

But Father declared that in this era when we can live under God's direct dominion, it's time for God's eternal sons and daughters to take that responsibility into their own hands and choose their own spouse. As you can well imagine, since our community has been well educated in coming to the blessing with a totally clean slate, being put on the spot by Father encouraging Second Generation to choose their own spouse raised some hesitation and a great deal of apprehension. But Father encouraged these Second Generation, and we had lovely couples at the blessing.

For those of us there who also went through the difficult process of the Blessing in which we had to think about God first and our public mission first before our own desires, it felt like a liberation of sorts. We as parents, when we gaze into the eyes of our children, of course want for them to know eternal love as an eternity of happiness and love, not an eternity of suffering.

To see these young couples really appreciating each other in a new and wonderful way, where they are allowed to have a choice in the matter because we're living under the direct dominion of God, is a beautiful thing. I wish all the couples the best of luck. As we all say here in our community and at Lovin' Life, we all prepare for our blessing, for that time when we can meet that special someone and live the rest of our lives together.

But we know that the Blessing is not an easy thing. Unlike the Cinderella story and many animated Disney stories in which the heroine finds the handsome prince and they live happily ever after, we know that marriage is not like that most of the time. I often joke that many of us joined the movement because we wanted to create an ideal family. An ideal family really is living a process of dealing with different obstacles and difficulties that arise in any relationship, learning to overcome them because we believe in something, we have a common purpose, and we want to get there together as a couple, or together as a family, or together as a community.

I've spent a good amount of time joking about ideal families, husbands, wives, children, grandparents, and in-laws. The timing was quite interesting because while I was being called to Korea to attend this Blessing ceremony, I was still getting my usual hundreds of e-mails from people around the world. One e-mail in particular was from a gentleman saying what he would like to see the senior pastor do. I read it with great interest. He said, "You talk about ideal families all the time. You talk about dealing with relationships all the time. Why can't you be more like your younger brother? Why can't you be more like your parents, holding hands, a little public display of affection?"

What he was asking was, "Why can't you and your husband be the perfect image of a blissful couple?" His image of a blissful couple was of two people literally hanging on each other for dear life, maybe not being able to keep their hands off each other. Maybe he wanted to see me hug and kiss. I know my younger brother, during his European tour, was encouraging all the couples to kiss. I think that's a wonderful thing.

But, you know, everybody has their understanding of what a blissful image is. Maybe my image might not be like the gentleman's. Maybe I don't want to display publicly something that is so private to me. I realize that here I am as the senior pastor and what this gentleman wants to see is almost like a fantasy image of a loving couple. I tend to be a romantic in that, yes, I want everything that's full of romance, passion and love, but at the same time I don't want to take away from the notion that marriage is a lot of work.

When you're thinking about the blessing and marriage, you're preparing yourself for a great deal of love and happiness but also for a great deal of hard work and effort, which sometimes I think gets side swept. A lot of young people come to marriage and the Blessing thinking that once a spouse has been found for them, it's just an easy walk in the park; automatically they will be seriously in love, they will be passionately in love, and things will fall into place. But marriage and the Blessing are not like that.

I think it's important of course that we have our own image of what a happy couple should be -- but let's keep in mind that one person's image is very different from another person's. Also, while we are in a communal setting, trying our best to create wonderful, ideal families, we have to be mindful of the fact that each one of is trying our best and we must give each other the space to deal with, work out, and work through the difficulties of life.

When I was gazing at those happily matched couples on October 10th, I realized that one of the things that seems to be a common denominator in a couple in love is that there's a great deal of laughter. There seems to be a great desire for them to be together, to be one, and to reside in a relationship ruled and enveloped by verity or truth. When people are in love, they want that feeling to last forever.

It's infectious when we look at the couples who are in love and their relationship is just blossoming. Watching my eldest son in the blossoming stages of his relationship with Krista gets me excited, inspired, and enthusiastic that there is something truly beautiful in the world to experience. As a mother, this is what I would like for all the Second Generation and the Third and the Fourth. When I think about what just took place on 10/10/10 -- a special day that will not happen for another thousand years -- and the fact that our True Father decided to exercise the providential will of allowing these young people to take on the responsibility themselves, I see it as being truly beautiful.

Looking out into the audience and seeing the faces of these couples, I wished two things for them: I was saying out loud to them, "I wonder how all of you will go about your lives, building an ideal family. It's not going to be easy." But I was also thinking about what I might share with them through my own experience as to how to go about building an ideal family, finding success in a relationship and prospering, not just surviving.

Michael Jordan once said that before he became a famous athlete, he had a purpose in his mind. At a young age he visualized himself being a great athlete. He knew what he wanted to be in his life. He set his goal to become a great basketball player, and visualized himself playing fantastic games in the future, achieving his goal, and being a success. He told himself and anybody who asked what he wanted to do with his life: "I am going to be one of the best star athletes, and I am going to live my life to make sure I get there." From a young age he had a vision of what he wanted, and he planned how he would achieve it.

Marriage is very much like that, in the sense that a lot of us enter marriage almost in a fog, blind-sided. People might fall madly love and think that being passionately in love is what will carry them through eternity, not realizing that in order to live with another person, to deal with another person, you have to have a common denominator, a common purpose. You have to have a vision and plan for what kind of marriage and relationship you want, what kind of a family you want to build, and what kind of parent you want to be.

Just as Michael Jordan visualized and knew what he wanted and had a plan for his life to become an all-star athlete, every successful man and woman has had some plan for life. When you look at True Father's life, he had a plan and a clear mission from the tender age of 16, when he was anointed and appointed by Jesus Christ, who asked him to find that beautiful woman together with whom he and she could for the first time in history form a couple standing in the position of True Parents. Those two together were to go on to create a beautiful family. This is what Jesus Christ asked Rev. Sun Myung Moon to accomplish.

From then on, he had a clear vision, purpose, and plan. He knew that he had to perfect himself as a man and he had to find the woman who could grow to stand in the position of perfected Eve. They had to unite in holy matrimony, the Marriage of the Lamb, which happened in 1960. Together they were to stand in the position of the True Parents and go about building an ideal family, and from that starting point as an individual ideal family move on to create the ideal society, nation, world, and cosmos. My father had a clear plan, just like Michael Jordan. He visualized the wonderful woman he would call his wife, his great partner in his active life of ministry. He knew that together with her, he would create a family and they would have a common understanding of what kind of family they would like to build.

When you look at a marriage, it is valuable to recognize that just like the successful recipes for my father's life, for Michael Jordan's life, for Albert Einstein's life, or for anybody else known as successful men and women of history, they've all had a plan, a mission statement, a purpose, and a goal. In my own life, I have realized that one of the most important things in a marriage is to have a common plan and goal, to share a common vision of what we want to be.

The great thing about the Blessing is that not only are we coming together because we love each other, but we're coming together because we believe that God is our Heavenly Parent. We believe that the vows of matrimony should be shared with our Heavenly Parent, with the rest of humanity, and between husband and wife.

Knowing when we commit ourselves in marriage that we both recognize our marriage as being bigger than either of us and being connected to something eternal and divine is extremely important as the starting point of a relationship. You can be reassured when you think, "Okay, here I am going to this blessing with someone who shares my vision and my goal in life to live as an eternal son or daughter joined in matrimony and loyal to this person for the rest of my life." Both of you can affirm, "I will be a man or woman of integrity, and together we want to build an ideal family that understands and recognizes God as our Heavenly Parent, that recognizes the philosophy of living for the sake of others, that recognizes a sincere desire to bring forth great children and to substantiate the Generation of Peace that we so desire." A successful marriage needs to have a common goal and vision.

The second integral point that makes a marriage successful is an understanding of teamwork, understanding each other not as the man being the master and the woman being the servant, but recognizing that men and women thankfully are different but they have equal divine value and worth.

When our True Father talks about an ideal subject and object relationship, he uses the diagram of a 90-degree angle, meaning there is God and there are children in the Four Position Foundation, but also man and woman. At the center of the Four Position Foundation, there's a 90-degree angle, meaning that the man is not slightly higher than a woman in terms of divine value, but that they have equal and the same divine value because they are both eternal divine beings.

In counseling Second Generation couples, I've learned that many times they come to the blessing thinking, "I don't have to do much. All I have to do is show up and I get a wife or husband." There is not much preparation that went into working on oneself before the blessing. Many times we take ourselves as we are and expect the other person to put up with it for the rest of eternity. The wonderful thing about this time when Father is allowing individual choice and responsibility is that it's taking out something that I felt was always detrimental to the concept of the eternal relationship. Many times the concept of eternity is wonderful in that there's a sense of security that you can overcome anything together. But in its negative manifestation, many times the concept of commitment for eternity has contributed to one spouse being abusive of the other, not being the best that person could be, not trying to put the best foot forward, or simply refusing to grow.

I don't know how many times I've heard phrases like "Where can he (or she) go? We're eternal mates. He (or she) will have to live with it." I felt always that when we take the concept of eternity and do not approach it with a sincere heart of gratitude but accept it as an entitlement to having a spouse, it can quickly degenerate into something not holy and not beautiful.

When Father and Mother encourage these couples to think about eternal relationships and living for the sake of others, implicit in the philosophy of living for the sake of others is the notion that you have to take care of the other person better than yourself. Implicit in the philosophy of living for the sake of others applied to marriage is the notion that the two spouses will grow together becoming better people because the more we serve, the deeper we grow; the more we serve, the wider become our heartistic capacities; the more we serve, the more inspired our lives will be as we realize the extreme beauty in loving another person.

When our True Father and Mother look upon these couples, wishing them an eternal blessing, what they are hoping is that these couples will take up the responsibility as husband and wife with great seriousness and understand that marriage is something that should be shared. Marriage is a place where we need to grow; marriage is a place where we need to honor each other.

Our True Parents are hoping that by growing together and serving each other in a marital relationship we can overcome the boundaries and barriers that are between different religions, races, and traditions. Father and Mother would like to see an Asian culture change for the better so that instead of a man arriving home and going straight to his easy chair, expecting the wife to have dinner made, his slippers put out, and his feet massaged, perhaps our True Parents are saying, "This is a time when we should be living for the sake of others." Regardless of how tiring the man's day has been, perhaps it's a great opportunity for him to come home and greet his wife and ask her, "How was your day?" before he expects to be served.

This may be a wonderful opportunity for a wife not only to expect her husband to make her life comfortable and secure financially and emotionally but also for the wife to raise her husband up to be what he can be instead of lashing out at him.

Then we're not going into this marriage relationship for our own gratification because we want a husband or wife, but we are entering this relationship because we honor the dynamic teamwork of a man and a woman truly respecting, honoring, and loving each other, and thereby empowering, inspiring, and encouraging each other. Instead of having a henpecked husband, you have a husband who is secure, knowing that in his wife's eyes he's awesome. And instead of having a wife who is abused because her husband never tends to her emotional needs, you have a husband who knows how to give a hug when he comes in the door, who knows how to ask the question, "How was your day?" before she has a chance to ask him, "How was yours?"

In that way, we can understand marriage, blessed life, as an opportunity for a man and a woman to come together as two hemispheres preparing ourselves to be the brain for our family. If the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere are fighting all the time in our brain, the family is not going to function too well. The brain must give a clear signal to the children and to the whole greater family. If the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere are busy fighting over who is more important, who should be higher or lower, then the body is not going to get very far.

In the marriage relationship, teamwork is very important. It's not what you take away from the blessing, but it's really all about what you bring to the table, what you bring as a part of that team. You need to realize and decide to be a team, and to be loyal to your team.

The Good Book, in James 1:8, cautions us not to be double-minded, not to be tossed around like the waves of the ocean. Thinking about this in the setting of teamwork or marriage reminds me of sitting in the audience at the Wongu Sports Festival in Korea, watching the teams battling it out to win soccer, volleyball, and so on. The importance of the team, especially having pride in belonging to and being loyal to your team is very evident, whether you're at the Wongu Sports Festival or at the Olympics.

Imagine a gymnastics team from Slovenia that comes for the Olympic Games, representing their country to the world with great pride, bearing the flag, and determined to play the game and win. Can you imagine if this team comes into the Olympic stadium, sees another team, and one team member says to herself, "The Canadian team looks better than mine. I think I'll go play with them." She's not going to be able to represent her country in a very good way. If members of other teams competing in the Olympics decide they like another team better and go play with them, there will be major chaos, right? There won't be a very satisfying team competition at the Olympics.

Likewise, when you decide that you belong to a certain team, there's got to be a sense of loyalty maintained with clarity and no double-mindedness that will confuse the game. You cannot enter the competition having dual purposes. You have to have one common vision and teammates who understand that common vision and want to play that game together with you.

In thinking about marriages and relationships, the idea of delayed gratification and the willingness to persevere are essential. I define perseverance as being steadfast to a purpose or a goal. I'm not advocating merely enduring or putting up with or tolerating. This not what we're striving for when we seek the Blessing. What we understand is that marriage is work, that marriage involves dealing with a lot of these things that will help transform us into the ideal family we long to be in the future. There has to be a commitment to delayed gratification and a willingness to persevere.

When a teenage boy first discovers women, one of the first things he wants to do is pump up his body to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, to be big and brawny and able to pick up a woman with his bare hands to show her what a man he is. When Arnold was young, he was quite scrawny looking, until one day he decided he wanted to be Mr. Universe. He worked at his body. He understood that in order to get there he had to delay gratification for a lot of things.

I happen to know a little bit about body-building because my brothers were so entrenched in it for a great many years: the need to keep a disciplined life, a couple of hours of exercise every day, eating only certain types of food. How does a young man used to inhaling pizza and calzone and spaghetti with meatballs change into a disciplined young man who would eat only lean meat cooked in olive oil instead of butter and whole grain instead of white bread or rice? The amount of discipline needed to achieve what you want to become is incredible.

When you see old pictures of Arnold as that skinny young man compared to what he is now, admired throughout the world, you realize that he had to have serious discipline to help him get from scrawny to brawny. Not only in body-building, but in every aspect of life where you want to be great -- like my children who are classical pianists -- to be first-prize winners in international competition, it takes many hours, much perseverance, and a willingness to delay gratification because you want to accomplish a goal.

We're not talking about just putting up with or tolerating, but being steadfast to a plan, something that's understood up here [in the head]. You know clearly why you are doing what you're doing. You're not just tolerating or being abused by putting up with something because you have nowhere else to go. This is a plan of action.

When my kids decided to win a competition, they had to give themselves one year to prepare, practice, hone their craft, and memorize the pieces -- and not just memorize but make each piece a part of who they are, so they're not just playing what they learned, but actually breathing the music. A true artist breathes the music in the sense that music becomes a part of the artist.

Just as our True Father has taught us that love and music are universal languages, if you want to be a truly great musician, you hone and discipline yourself so much that you can have a great technique. But a great artist is not satisfied with great technique. A great artist wants a great performance -- to be one with the music and one with the art, to be and breathe the art itself.

This is what my kids wanted to accomplish. For that year, a great deal of sacrifice had to be made. Perhaps they couldn't spend as much time with their friends as they would like. Perhaps they had to curb some of the things they would like to do -- fewer video games so they could practice instead. But when they did that, telling themselves that they would remain steadfast to their goal, they knew they had a great shot at the competition when they started to breathe what they needed to perform.

Marriage is very much like that in that there has to be a willingness to experience delayed gratification in different phases of the relationship. There has to be a willingness to work toward something, an agreement to try, for instance, being more honest with each other. Why don't we try working on being more committed to the different things we would like to see in each other? There has to be a sense of wanting to go through the difficult process of working these things out, knowing that in the end once the problems are worked through we can be gratified and accomplish the goal we set out to accomplish.

The goal of every couple, really, is to experience the parental heart of God. God created Adam and Eve because he and she wanted to experience what it felt like to have a child, what it felt like to be a parent, what it felt like to truly love something more than yourself. In this beautiful environment called the Blessing, we have a wonderful opportunity to experience exactly what God experienced.

For those of us who think we've seen and known it all -- I think a lot of young people think they know everything they need to know about life -- you don't really realize how much love there is in your heart until you have kids. You don't realize the powerful feeling of love until you have kids. The first time you have a child is the first time you realize, "This is what God must have felt when he created us, when he created you and me." Then you realize how lucky we are to be living in God's love.

When we realize this, we realize that we want to have children, too. We want to have children who become beautiful adults who have beautiful children of their own. We want to be grandparents. We want to see the cycle of love continue on and on forever and ever. The desire for someone else to be happy is never as profoundly felt as when you have a child. That's when you realize the true meaning of living for the sake of others. You're willing to die for this child. You're willing to give up everything about who you are for this child. This child becomes more important than you, and you realize first and foremost how much humans mean to God.

Life is a gift, and we come from so many different types of situations, family backgrounds, and cultural heritages -- we carry a lot of baggage whenever we come together in matrimony. One of my favorite writers, Oscar Wilde, said a long time ago that the interesting thing about men is that every man wants to be the first love of a woman, but women have superior instincts in that women would like to be the man's last romance. This means that we hang onto this notion of romance, and we want to be something that completes a man.

If we recognize that men and women may approach a relationship in different ways and have different images of a blissful family, shaped also by our different cultural backgrounds, and if we know that we are all headed toward becoming one family under God, then we realize that the three words -- conceive, believe, and achieve -- are like three bullet points paralleling our common goals: teamwork, delayed gratification, and perseverance. We have to have a clear concept of what we want, a clear vision of the different options out there, and then we have to truly "see" what we want.

In order to substantiate what we are visualizing, we have to believe. Implicit in the word believe is the word "live." Believe sounds like "live." We have to live our faith. As George Sand once said, we have to live our faith with great excitement and enthusiasm. For her, faith was a condition of intellectual magnificence that should be treated like a treasure and not squandered. It should be lived and nurtured; it should be supported day in and day out in our lives.

When you come to the word achieve, in my ear it's almost like "heave" is inside achieve. There's a whole lot of heaving that needs to take place in order to accomplish our goals. It's almost like moving mountains, insurmountable odds many times. But if we can persevere -- not endure but persevere -- and really hold steadfast to our goals and our purpose, then we can accomplish all that we desire. We can truly rejoice in God our savior, as it says in Luke 1:47.

In that way, if we tackle our marriage with a plan of action that we are going to carry out and focus on steadfastly, while knowing that our spouse will honor and respect us -- not abuse, malign, or enervate but be in a relationship that energizes both of us -- then we can create a foundation to have beautiful children. We can operate in such a way that the left and right hemispheres send a clear signal to the children about our having a plan or strategy of the kind of family we would like to build.

Again, the plan of action that takes the couple from starting out to becoming a successful couple can also be applied when the couple has children. When you have children, you need a mission statement, just like a corporation needs a mission statement. A family needs to know what it's going to do, what it's going to accomplish, what it's going to work through to become a successful family.

I hope we can keep these three things in mind as we give well wishes to the thousands and tens of thousands of couples blessed on October 10, and also as the First Generation blessed many years ago, and the other Second and Third Generation that are continually getting blessed continue developing their own blessed families. We need to be the kind of community that allows each couple room to grow. If more couples spent more time working on their relationship than trying to change or control others' relationships, our community would be far stronger and better.

Instead of gossiping about what the couple around the corner is doing, we should concentrate on what we need to do as a couple and a family. To the First Generation, as we gaze upon this new era of direct dominion in which our children will take more and more responsibility in choosing their own spouse, let us be happy for them, and let us take pride in our suffering, knowing that perhaps it has laid a great foundation for our children to have something so wonderful as the Blessing and to truly live in a relationship in which they can be loving life every day.

Congratulations to the thousands and thousands of couples that were blessed, and to the thousands of couples that continue on their work toward creating ideal families. I wish you health, happiness, and a great deal of loving life from this Lovin' Life Ministry. So God bless, and have a great Sunday.


James, chapter 1

1: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greeting.

2: Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials,

3: for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

4: And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

5: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.

6: But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

7,8: For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.

9: Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,

10: and the rich in his humiliation, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away.

11: For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

12: Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.

13: Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one;

14: but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

15: Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.

16: Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

17: Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

18: Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

19: Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,

20: for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.

21: Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

23: For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror;

24: for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

25: But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.

26: If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man's religion is vain.

27: Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Luke, chapter 1

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 Eli'jah,
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 High;
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 upon you,
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 enemies,
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 High;
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 of
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. 

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