The Words of In Jin Moon from 2010
Good morning, brothers and sisters. How is everyone this morning? Thank you for giving us such a warm welcome and inspiring all of my team here from the East Coast. We’re delighted to be here in this beautiful city of Los Angeles. Thank you once again.
I had a wonderful day yesterday when I had a chance to spend some time with your children. Last night we had a wonderful Halloween party where I got to see a lot of the First Generation dressed up. You guys looked fantastic, covering the whole spectrum of species and creatures. I was so astounded because I thought this was going to be a Halloween party for the Second and Third Generation. We encouraged all the kids to come dressed up, but I didn’t expect so many First Generation to be dressed up as well. I don’t know which generation was using the other as an excuse to be dressed up, but it was fabulous, nonetheless.
Before I get started this morning I want to thank Andy Weiss for bringing hundreds of costumes for all of us. He selected a handful of costumes for me to try on, together with the vice president, Reverend Cotter and his wife, and Sheri Reuter. I must say, Andy, I never had so much fun, and I never laughed so hard watching each other become different characters. Reverend Cotter chose the Egyptian pharaoh. He looked absolutely fabulous, and the great thing is, nobody recognized who he was! Sheri Reuter, in the spirit of Los Angeles, the City of Angels, came with wings to grace all of us with her presence. It was a wonderful evening.
I find it highly significant that this weekend, when all of America is celebrating Halloween, that Lovin’ Life Ministry can have the privilege and honor of celebrating Halloween together with Los Angeles and West Coast community.
To start off Sunday morning on Halloween Day is a great reminder from our Heavenly Parent to wean ourselves from what’s hollow, and start Sunday worship and the beginning of this new week by uniting with our Heavenly Parent and our True Parents. In oneness of spirit and love, we can reaffirm our faith and pride in our community because not only is it beautiful, it’s really hip and happening. After last night, I believe that’s more the case today.
As I was thinking about what I want to share with the Los Angeles community and knowing that the night before everybody was playing dress-up, I was really tickled pink. The kids came with their costumes, we had a contest, and the youngest group was so adorable. The twins that came as the Madeline girls took home the prize. I’m sorry, but I could not keep my eyes off that little dinosaur. He was so cute and so proud of playing dress-up.
When I saw the adults and realized how proud they were, I was thinking that it’s wonderful as a community to be excited about putting on something special because we are going to spend this time together with our families and our community, and we are going to celebrate and truly love our life, which is the aim of this ministry.
It’s always wonderful to have that costume in the closet that you know every year you’re going to wear to a Halloween party. Or maybe it’s something else that has a special significance and meaning in your family. I thought that here we have these special days, but if we are truly the eternal sons and daughters with our Heavenly Parent, isn’t every day special? Isn’t every day that we stand and walk and breathe together with God and our True Parents a precious opportunity to love and to be loved? It’s an opportunity for us to experience life in all the great colors that it affords us and to be grateful we are living at this time, that we’re walking and breathing together with our True Parents.
When I thought about this phrase “every day,” every day is a special day with God. For those of us who have been anointed to live out this time with our True Parents, every day is that special day. It reminded me of a short story by a phenomenal writer, Alice Walker. I’m sure many of you know her as the author of The Color Purple. She wrote a short story called “The Everyday Use.” The story is profound in that it explores the relationship between a mother and two of her daughters. As the story unfolds, it paints the image of a mother living in the South in a very poor area. She’s raising two daughters, trying her best to be a great mother.
The oldest daughter, Dee, is beautiful, vibrant, and smart. She goes on to the big city to become successful -- well educated and a fantastic career woman. She has the big car, the right boyfriend, and the great job. In an external sense, this is what the poor mother from the South wanted for her daughters. Dee symbolizes everything that the mother wishes for in terms of wanting progress for her own children.
The second daughter, Maggie, did not have such a good start in life. She was a burn victim early in her life, and in her disfigurement she approaches life in a different manner. Whereas Dee is vibrant, outgoing, and a go-getter type, Maggie is more an introspective child who approaches life cautiously, always afraid, and more reserved and careful about those around her. Maggie ends up staying at home with her mother.
I thought the choice of names was interesting. Dee’s name is the first sound in the word desire, the beginning of everything that the mother desires for her eldest daughter. Dee symbolizes and becomes the personification of what the parent wants to see in her child. She becomes successful, has the right job, the right boyfriend, the right car.
The fact that Maggie, the second daughter, was a burn victim is almost as if her first incarnation as the second daughter who was going to do great things was suddenly cut short. Her life symbolizes something that survives what she could have been; the dream of what the second daughter could have been has died, been burned to a crisp. Her name sounds like maggot, something you see surviving in a cadaver. Once a person has died, he or she ceases to breathe, the body decays, and what comes out from that decaying body is life, but it’s a maggot, something we do not like to see, something squirming to survive, something not beautiful.
In this family context, the story reveals another layer when Dee, the successful one, comes back to visit. She’s proud of her accomplishments, as she should be. She waltzes in, and the first thing she says to her mother is, “Where is that quilt that my namesake, Grandma Dee, made with her own hands? Mother, could you give that to me? I would like to have that quilt in my possession. I would like to hang it on a wall as a symbol of my heritage.”
The mother has a revelation and expresses to Dee, “Actually that quilt was held in my care because it was to be a dowry for the second daughter. It was to be given to Maggie, not to you.” When the mother makes clear that she is not going to give up the quilt to the elder daughter, Dee gets angry and says, “How can you not give it to me? It’s made by my namesake. I am her granddaughter. You should give me the quilt. Besides, if you give Maggie the quilt, she will not know how to appreciate it, and she will probably use it every day, turning it from a beautiful quilt into rags. She would not know what to do with it.” But the mother holds firm and says, “No, this quilt is for Maggie.” Dee gets really upset and leaves home in a huff.
After Dee leaves, the mother turns to Maggie and gives her the quilt. These two women share an intimate moment together, realizing that a certain amount of justice has been done.
This story is profound in that it addresses many layers in the relationship. It looks at the parental desire for children to be better than us. Just like the First Generation, and me, when we gaze upon our children, we want our children to be better. Many times, surviving in this modern world means getting that education, having that fabulous career, having the external accoutrements. Dee seemingly had all of that.
But at the same time she is so lacking the internal accoutrements necessary to being a wonderful person. She does not understand that she is coming back home to the place where she was given birth, where she was given the opportunity to live and become successful. She was not thankful to her mother. She was ashamed of coming from a poor Southern area because she has moved on to a life in the big city.
The arrogance quotient was rising, and she did not realize that her wanting to claim the quilt as a symbol of heritage to be hung on the wall was actually quite an insult to her mother -- because what every parent wants of a child is to be externally excellent, but also internally excellent. We here, as parents, want our children to realize that they are eternal sons and daughters of God, coming from an honorable tradition. We want them to know they have a parental figure in their lives that they must honor, respect, and cherish. All of these things were lacking.
Here was this girl who was so fully equipped externally, but because she was not equipped internally she could not be the perfect or prepared receptacle that was worthy of holding on to the quilt that represented her heritage.
Hearkening back to the title of the piece, “Everyday Use,” we can understand that the quilt represents a lot of things, but here it represents the family history, the sister–sister relationship, the relationships they had with their mother and with their grandmother or grandfather. All of these relationships are interwoven into this beautiful quilt that represents their family.
What did the older daughter want to do with it? She did not want to make use of that quilt as a part of her life every day, as a blanket that gives her warmth and provides security. She did not want to use it to remind her of the loving heart of her mother or the loving embrace of her sister. She merely wanted the quilt as a symbol of a heritage, to be hung on the wall. She wanted her tradition to be looked at but not to be lived.
Therefore, she could not be in the position to be the proper and right receptacle of something that passes from generation to generation. Her heart was not ready to fully understand where she comes from and to appreciate that if she went on to achieve many great things, she must come back and be grateful. In the Eastern tradition, she should have come back home and bowed a full bow to her mother: “Mother, it’s because of your suffering and sacrifice for me that I was able to get the best education, and it’s because of your sacrifice and love and patience with me that now I have a great job, a great car. Please use it any time. I have a wonderful man I’d like to introduce you to. Please bless us.” There was none of that. She was so self-absorbed in what she had become that nothing else mattered.
She was being a good daughter in her mind because she was singular in her determination to be successful. She was singularly determined that she would pick herself up by her bootstraps and rise above her mother’s economic status -- the poor background she came from -- and achieve all the great success that many men and women have already accomplished.
But in her own sense of accomplishment she forgot where she came from, and she forgot who she was. In the end she could not be grateful in realizing that her mother, her sister, and her life were all gifts from God, her family, and a tradition and heritage that she should honor and not be ashamed of.
This is a wonderful lesson for our community as well. Here we are in the transition phases of our religious life as our movement grows. We have First Generation, Second Generation, and Third Generation. The majority of the First Generation was attending some of the best universities in America, but you gave all of that up because you wanted to follow God, to establish and find your faith, and live your life dedicated and united with God and True Parents. You gave up the externals in order to find internal excellence, and many of you did.
But when we started having children and headed down the path of building families, a lot of us, I think, were not prepared mentally and heartistically. Having been born into the movement, not having gone through the kind of conversion experience that you had, I’m curious what made you decide to follow God and True Parents. I love to ask the elders of our movement what made them decide -- I want to learn and hear from them.
All of you have different stories, but the majority of you like to tell me that you joined because you realized who True Parents are and wanted the opportunity to have an ideal family. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and here we are with a lot of kids who are no longer in that goo-goo stage where all we have to do is change diapers and cuddle them. Now they are teenagers, young adults, with minds of their own. Some kids, just because you are their parents, they will do the opposite of what you say.
I know that many of you, and I myself, have been confounded with these young adults running our lives, wondering, “Where is this ideal family that I so fervently prayed about? That I fasted 7 days for? I begged, prayed, and fasted for an ideal family, and you’ve given me a bunch of little green frogs that want always to do the opposite of what I’m asking them to do.”
We may feel short-changed, but if we really think about it, God has an incredible sense of humor. I feel that God’s humor shines through brilliantly in this wonderful language called English. Here we are thinking God short-changed us, that he now has us in almost a prison cell of a home with all these bees running around. But if we really think about it, God gave us exactly what we asked for. He did give us that ideal husband or wife -- meaning, you have to deal with your husband or wife. Heavenly Parent did give us I-deal children. Lord knows how much all of us parents have to deal with our children. In my situation, not only did I get an ideal husband and ideal children, I got ideal in-laws. I have to deal with my in-laws.
God gave us exactly what we were asking for. He gave us ideal people, different relationships in our lives that we need to work through. As my father, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, so cautiously, and with a smile on his face, loves to tell the children every now and then, “The family is the textbook of true love.”
At Lovin’ Life many times we take an English word and put a slight Japanese pronunciation on it, so “true love” becomes “tlue rub.” When Father says the family is the place of true love, we think oh, wonderful, but it’s actually a place of true rub. You are literally rubbing up against your spouse, against your children, against your in-laws, and in that way hopefully one day you will become that incredible, beautiful pearl from an oyster.
Heavenly Father all the while is up there laughing, “You said you wanted ideal relations. I gave it to you. There you are, an oyster. I sent you a grain of sand. It’s going to annoy you a little bit. But if you keep on rubbing and working, then you will become that beautiful, luminous, brilliant pearl that is in each and every one of you.”
When I gaze out into the audience and think about different relationships that Alice Walker so poignantly portrayed in her short story, “Everyday Use,” and when I think about how our community continues to grow and will rub up against each other as it matures into a bigger and wider community, I realize that what Alice Walker is asking us to do through her story is to be grateful for the things that might seem mundane. The mother in this story is not playing dress-up. The mother is almost like a boring nonentity. Many times we like to approach every day of our lives as if it’s not something special. Every day is not special.
But I think Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter had a point. The Mad Hatter was not celebrating his birthday but was celebrating his un-birthday, which is all the days of the year except the birthday. We need to reframe our thinking. When we realize that God is our Heavenly Parent and that our True Parents are here, then every day is that un-birthday. Every day becomes that special day.
Depending on how we utilize that day, how we take part in the experience of family, or the quilt, that we are creating, hopefully by the end of our lives we will have created a beautiful quilt that we can bequeath to our children before we depart for the embrace of our Heavenly Father in the afterlife. If we can leave something beautiful behind, then Heavenly Father has given us a wonderful gift of a life in which he is inviting all of us to be a divine creative being.
When I was in middle school, my parents sent me to camp, and one of the classes I enrolled in was quilt-making class. A beautiful white-haired German woman taught all of us how to quilt. In order to prepare for that class she told us to prepare the different fabrics, saying, “Please do not come with one type of fabric. Please do not come with one type of a pattern. And please do not bring just beautiful fabric. Please bring fabric that you find absolutely disgusting, like a piece of your father’s pants from the 1960s.” Do you remember that greenish color, chartreuse, that was everywhere in the 1960s? It was severely out of vogue in the 1980s, but in the 1990s it came back stronger than ever.
She was asking us to look at these fabrics and not just take beautiful silky ones, but look for different textures, different patterns, and different colors. She said, “Go and look in the garbage dumpsters. Sometimes you can find the most exquisite and exotic pieces of fabric.”
I remember a couple of friends and I would walk around the building where the camp was. There was a huge cafeteria and huge dumpsters behind the building. We actually rummaged through the garbage and found some different clothing that we cut up in pieces for making the quilts. When we started making the quilt, we realized that the teacher was absolutely right. It’s not the beautiful fabric that brings the greatest character to a quilt. Some of the most beautiful pieces that accentuated the beauty of the design and took the quilt to a whole new level were actually discarded pieces of nasty fabric that no one would look at twice. They seemed just plain ugly, but when they were set in the context of our quilt, they gave it depth, highlights, and texture.
Many times when we are sewing the quilt that is our family, we may be reminded that we don’t choose our families. I certainly didn’t choose my parents. I often watched Hollywood movies and I said, “Why can’t my daddy be like Cary Grant? He seems so elegant and proper.” I just loved him; I don’t know why. Why can’t my father be like that? Sometimes when I looked at my siblings I used to wonder, “Why can’t they be more like this, or like this?” But I also realized that they were looking at me, thinking, “Why can’t she be more like this and this?”
Growing up in a huge family of 14 siblings and with parents who were singularly determined to do their mission was not an easy existence. But it allowed us children to gather all these different types of fabric. Some were beautiful; some were ugly. Some were harsh; some were soft. Some were silky. Some just hurt like there was no tomorrow. But somehow when we wove it together into the quilt we call the True Family, it’s a living quilt that should not be hung up on the wall to be looked at and enjoyed visually. It’s a living quilt, meaning it needs to be used every day.
A family needs to be experienced every day, meaning a child needs to experience life together with the parents every day. The siblings need to experience life together with their siblings every day. As Alice Walker says, a quilt symbolizes everyday use, in that a family is something we live with each and every day. A family is something we might take for granted because it’s something we see and live with each day.
What Alice Walker is asking us to do is to reexamine our perception of what a family really is and what something as beautiful as a quilt really symbolizes to all of us. What she is asking us to do is to understand that the realm of the family, in what is seemingly mundane, ordinary and perfunctory, is actually exquisite, beautiful, and profound.
The Bible tells us in I Peter 4:8, “Above all, love deeply because love covers a multitude of sins.” When we think about our parents, there’s a lot of happiness but there’s a lot of pain. There’s extreme elation but a whole lot of suffering, each having hurt the other. When we think about our siblings, there’s a whole lot of pain there too, as well as great memories.
We’ve hurt each other because we truly love each other. It’s always the closest people who fight the hardest because we’re trying our best to work things out. In the context of the family, sometimes the fighting can get out of control because these are the people we live with each day. But if we realize that the family is the textbook of true love where we have an opportunity to rub up against each other, so that we can help each other cast away the outer layers of dust, corrosion, and all the things that take away from our brilliance as divine human beings, and if we keep on being persistent in knowing that our family is our greatest gift, then we realize that all we need to do is to live our life as if it were a living prayer.
For me, prayer doesn’t always mean kneeling on the floor in front of an altar, in front of a picture of True Parents, in total silence. When you’re walking to work, it can be a prayer. When you’re sitting here listening to the Lovin’ Life Ministry singing, that’s a prayer. I remember when I first started Lovin’ Life Ministry, it was something brand-new to our community and people were used to a certain style of worship. Quite a few gentlemen came up to me and asked, “Why do you not have three prayers?” I answered, “But there are three prayers.” One gentleman said to me, “I only counted the prayer from a representative minister or rabbi because we want to celebrate interfaith. Where are the other prayers?” I turned to him and said, “I’m not sure which service you were attending, but in Lovin’ Life Ministry we always have at least three songs before the sermon. A song is a prayer.”
When we think of our life as a prayer, what it’s asking us to do is to live our lives as if God were right here in front of us. If God is right here in front of us, how should we be to our spouse? Should we be screaming at our spouse while the children are eating their breakfast, if God is right here with us? Or should we be making our brothers and sisters miserable, if God is in our bedroom? We understand that with God in our midst, having God and feeling his presence in our lives is a gift, and it compels us to love and be loved because we’re in the presence of our Heavenly Parent.
The Good Book also says in I Corinthians 12:14, “The body is not composed of one member, but is composed of many.” One body is many different things working in conjunction, in unity together to bring about the kind of movement that will allow us to be capable people in our lives. We have two feet and two hands. If the foot says to the hand, “I’m a foot, not a hand, and therefore I don’t belong to the body,” does that mean the foot does not belong to the body? Of course not. The foot and the hand belong to the body, to one body.
In a family sometimes you might feel like a foot. You might want to be the brain, but you might feel like a foot. Or you might feel like a hand when you want to be the buttocks sitting on a nice cushy chair watching a great season of your favorite TV show. But the whole point is that in a family every member counts, and every member is important.
Think about the character of the elder sister Dee, who is so busy being self-absorbed -- like a foot being self-absorbed in thinking and living and knowing that it only wants to be a foot; it doesn’t want to be part of a body. What Alice Walker and what the Good Book are trying to encourage us to realize is that all of us are incredibly important. At one point or phase or episode in our life, we might be the foot. At another, we might be the hand. We might be the elbow, or the brain, but it’s how we come together as a family that makes us one body. It’s how we come together as a quilt that makes us into a symbol of our tradition and a heritage that we can wear and use every day, symbolizing the home, love, patience, and the laborious process of knitting and sewing.
The great thing about a quilt is that the most beautiful quilts are hand-sewn. In the story, when Dee makes a snide remark, “Well, the only thing Maggie will know how to do is to use that quilt and turn it into a rag; she wouldn’t know how to use it properly,” the mother turns to her and says, “Your grandmother’s quilt was intended for Maggie, and so Maggie shall have it. But I have many other quilts that were machine produced that you can take with you.” In allocating a different type of quilt that she had in her care, the mother was clearly saying that Dee was ready to receive only what seemingly looked like a perfect quilt with its machine-perfect stitches, as opposed to the perhaps inconsistent sewing or the irregularity of hand-made product, seemingly making it imperfect. But that’s what the laborious process of love, care, and patience went into, whereas what seemed externally perfect had no heart in it because it was machine-produced.
When the mother gives that to Dee, it’s in that moment, without saying a word, without her having an epiphany of what exactly happened, Dee feels that she’s not good enough to be in the presence of her mother’s heritage and tradition because Dee was not internally excellent. So she gets up in a huff and leaves.
Maggie, on the other hand, represents something that’s not seemingly beautiful. She’s a burn victim; she’s deformed. But she has a heartistic relationship with her mother. Perhaps she symbolized the internal excellence and heritage that her mother was hoping for or that Grandma Dee herself was hoping for. Maggie becomes the recipient of this authentic, hand-made quilt.
When you look at fake leather and authentic leather, one is seemingly perfect. Authentic leather might have some wrinkles, discoloration, and imperfection, but it’s real, not fabricated. Alice Walker is asking us to look at our lives in this modern age and ask ourselves every day, how are we using our day? What about the people in our lives whom we seemingly take for granted because they’re here with us every day? Are they not the most important treasures?
These are the very poignant questions that we as a family, community, and movement must ask ourselves. One of the things I love to do with my children is to come up with phrases to get my kids going. I know in the earlier days in California, “Choo-choo pow” was the thing, right? What I tell my kids is, “Keep it real and embrace the ideal.”
We have to be honest with ourselves. Yesterday morning I had Hoon Dok Hae with some representatives from our community, and in light of the recent tragic chain of events, I said, “This is a great time for the West Coast community to have a makeover session.” When you truly want a fantastic makeover, one of the things you have to be willing to do is to take a sincere and honest look at yourself in the mirror. We as a community need to look at ourselves sincerely and honestly.
Second, there has to be a genuine desire for change. If you want to make over your father, but he is not your willing victim, you’re not going to get very far. But when he understands, “Yes, I guess I’m still stuck in the hippie generation of the 1960s, or yes, I guess I look like a Grateful Dead fan, perhaps it’s time for me to get a haircut,” that’s an honest look in the mirror. If your father has a sincere desire to change, then we can all participate in this wonderful process of transformation. If we do so, the end result is a sharing of a new butterfly that will come out of your father or your mother or your sister or this community that we want to make over.
Later today the rest of America will be celebrating Halloween, but let us take a moment to wean ourselves from what is hollow, what is empty, and understand that every day with our Heavenly Parent and our True Parents is an incredible blessing and an opportunity to love and be loved. We must approach each day of our lives rejoicing in the Lord, as Luke 1:47 so poignantly says. We must rejoice in the Lord with everything because we are truly blessed.
Think about it, brothers and sisters. Your ancestors in heaven are wondering why that person is there with True Parents now, “I wanted to be sitting with True Parents now.” Or future generations will be looking at you and saying, “Why did my great-great-great grandfather or grandmother have that chance with True Parents?” Understanding what an incredible time this is and understanding that it is an incredible blessing to have them in our lives, what shall we do, brothers and sisters? Love them with all our hearts. Unite with them and honor them, the way they honor us with their love, their presence, and their words of encouragement.
Have a great Halloween week, and God bless you.
1: Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
2: so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God.
3: Let the time that is past suffice for doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry.
4: They are surprised that you do not now join them in the same wild profligacy, and they abuse you;
5: but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
6: For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead, that though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the spirit like God.
7: The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers.
8: Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.
9: Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another.
10: As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:
11: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
12: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you.
13: But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
14: If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
15: But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a wrongdoer, or a mischief-maker;
16: yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God.
17: For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18: And "If the righteous man is scarcely saved,
where will the impious and sinner appear?"
19: Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator.
1: Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be uninformed.
2: You know that when you were heathen, you were led astray to dumb idols, however you may have been moved.
3: Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says "Jesus be cursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit.
4: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
5: and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;
6: and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.
7: To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
8: To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,
9: to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
10: to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
11: All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
12: For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
13: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free -- and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14: For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
15: If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.
16: And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.
17: If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?
18: But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
19: If all were a single organ, where would the body be?
20: As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21: The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
22: On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23: and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
24: which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part,
25: that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
26: If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
27: Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
28: And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues.
29: Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
30: Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
31: But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
1: Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us,
2: just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word,
3: it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent The-oph'ilus,
4: that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.
5: In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechari'ah, of the division of Abi'jah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
6: And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7: But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
8: Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,
9: according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
10: And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
11: And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12: And Zechari'ah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
13: But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechari'ah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
14: And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth;
15: for he will be great before the Lord,
and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink,
and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit,
even from his mother's womb.
16: And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God,
17: and he will go before him in the spirit and power of
to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,
and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."
18: And Zechari'ah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years."
19: And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.
20: And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time."
21: And the people were waiting for Zechari'ah, and they wondered at his delay in the temple.
22: And when he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he made signs to them and remained dumb.
23: And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
24: After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she hid herself, saying,
25: "Thus the Lord has done to me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men."
26: In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27: to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28: And he came to her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"
29: But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
30: And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31: And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
32: He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most
and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33: and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever;
and of his kingdom there will be no end."
34: And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"
35: And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
therefore the child to be born will be called holy,
the Son of God.
36: And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
37: For with God nothing will be impossible."
38: And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
39: In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,
40: and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.
41: And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
42: and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43: And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44: For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
45: And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
46: And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord,
47: and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48: for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
49: for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50: And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51: He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
52: he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
53: he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
54: He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55: as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."
56: And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
57: Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son.
58: And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
59: And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechari'ah after his father,
60: but his mother said, "Not so; he shall be called John."
61: And they said to her, "None of your kindred is called by this name."
62: And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called.
63: And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, "His name is John." And they all marveled.
64: And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.
65: And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea;
66: and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What then will this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him.
67: And his father Zechari'ah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,
68: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people,
69: and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70: as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71: that we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72: to perform the mercy promised to our fathers,
and to remember his holy covenant,
73: the oath which he swore to our father Abraham,
74: to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our
might serve him without fear,
75: in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.
76: And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77: to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78: through the tender mercy of our God,
when the day shall dawn upon us from on high
79: to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow
to guide our feet into the way of peace."
80: And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness till the day of his manifestation to Israel.