The Words of In Jin Moon from 2012

Dealing with Expectations: The Cinnamon Tree and the Angel

In Jin Moon
January 1, 2012

Oh, my goodness, you're going to bring the house down! Thank you so much. Happy New Year to all of you, and to all of America. It's amazing – the power of the young people – isn't it?

Ushering in a Year of Good Fortune

Coming to church every Sunday makes me feel younger and younger. To see all of our younger generation inherit this spirit and take on the call from our Heavenly Father to share in the breaking news is truly encouraging and inspiring to me. As we close the Year of the Rabbit and we're looking toward the Year of the Dragon, this is a fantastic time when we can remember all the wonderful accomplishments of the last year through hard work, persistence, dedication, and consistency.

We've done a lot of great things together, America. We finished educating and sharing the breaking news with 3,000 ministers all across the country. I want to thank the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) and the good brothers and sisters working so hard all over the world with the support of Generation Peace Academy. When Father first asked us to educate 3,000 ministers, we thought, "That's a big number. How are we ever going to accomplish this?"

But when we started to work together, we realized that we can become an awesome team: If we work together hand in hand, heart to heart, and spirit to spirit, we can accomplish what we initially thought was impossible. What we recognized through all these good works in the last year is that the world is ready and the people are searching for something different, a new kind of consciousness that will enlighten humanity to reach for a truly beautiful millennium around the corner.

The world has been prepared by our Heavenly Parent for the breaking news of our True Parents. This is the year of the mythological dragon that flies through the heavens and is a symbol of extreme good fortune. This is the time when we should harvest the good work we've done and build upon it by becoming stronger together and more unified in spirit and in our hearts. This is the moment to fully understand the amazing profundity of living at this time of our True Parents. If we can do that, then this year's good work will be great preparation for 2013, or D-Day, as our Parents like to call it.

Dave Hunter

Winter Charge Surpasses Expectations

During these last couple of weeks, not only were we able to celebrate the great victories of the year 2011, but I had the good fortune to attend Winter Charge. I am so proud of Dave Hunter, a second-generation Unificationist who has come to the front, feeling called by God to be that older brother, role model, and mentor for the younger generation. What I saw there was incredibly beautiful.

As the parent of five kids, I'm always thinking, "How can I raise great young men and women of God?" What I saw there was an older brother, together with his leadership team, taking care of the younger brothers and sisters, preparing you as the future great parents that you all will be. It's just so inspiring to see the older brothers and sisters taking care of the younger brothers and sisters with everything they've got – sacrificing their love and time, really investing in their younger brothers and sisters – because they truly believe in living for the sake of others. It means they truly want the other to be better than they are. Dave Hunter wants the 270 of you who attended Winter Charge to be better than he is so that when you are called by God to receive the baton, you can do outstanding things.

When Dave and I were talking earlier in the year about Winter Charge, we expected 70 of you, and that is what we prepared for. But then the numbers started rolling in, and the final count of young men and women was 210. But then at the last moment the number ballooned to 270. This was the biggest workshop Dave ever conducted. But God blessed him with a great support team of so many good brothers and sisters. They did their best to be united with Dave and to raise up their beautiful brothers and sisters.

I went to drop off my two boys, Truston and Paxton, and when I walked into the room and saw all these beautiful faces, I saw exactly what True Parents must feel. They've often said to me, one of the most important jobs as a parent is to raise beautiful children because when you gaze into the face of your child, you see the face of God. In that room I truly saw the face of God, and the future of what our movement can be if we continue to do great work.

CARP Winter Ball Surpasses Expectations

Not only did we have the Winter Charge, but, as Dave mentioned earlier, there was a lot of "she moves in mysterious ways" on the dance floor when it came to CARP's third winter ball. I think our movement and CARP were so proud to have the first female CARP president presiding over the gala. Victoria Roomet did such a phenomenal job in organizing the event, together with her wonderful helpers, Emerson and Wendy. I heard that my second son Rexton did a great deal of work as well. It was a wonderful family effort.

When we first started out with the CARP gala three years ago, we thought, "Okay, a couple of hundred would be great," and we certainly passed that. Then the second ball, "Well, a couple of hundred more than that," and we certainly passed that. This year we had almost 1,000 people in the Hammerstein Ballroom. I don't know if you saw the executive vice president, Reverend Cotter, who was playing the keyboard this morning, but I've never seen him so giddy or look so youthful. He said, "Being here makes me feel so much energy." I said, "Reverend Cotter, you should feel this way every day at Headquarters!"

This was the feeling of the older ones like Reverend Cotter and myself, and the older generation. We're thrilled to see the young people coming together in a beautiful way as a community, a team, and a family, celebrating each other and the year's work that we've done and preparing to bring in the new year together.

"Prayer Is a Form of Communication"

I always thought that the most beautiful tradition of our movement and our church is the celebration of God's Day, January 1. The city of New York has the countdown when the ball is dropped at midnight in Times Square. But the way we celebrate God's Day is counting down to a brand-new year, when we as a family, a team, and a movement stand together to greet God, to know, acknowledge, and recognize God as our eternal Heavenly Parent. It's a time of recommitment and redetermination when we think about our New Year's resolutions.

I'm sure many good men and women across America are also thinking about New Year's resolutions, and I'm sure a lot of us have made lists of all the things we would like to accomplish. Certainly people in New York are no different.

I remember as a student finishing my divinity studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I visited churches at the beginning of the year, finding a quiet time in a church where there were men and women in the pews praying to God about many different things. What I liked to do was visit different churches and synagogues and listen to the prayers of the people.

I've often thought that prayer is a time when we can really converse with God. I think many people think of prayer as begging of God, or pleading with God, or asking God for different things we expect in the year to come or that we would like to see happen in our lives.

But if you think that God is our Heavenly Parent, prayer is a form of communication, a dialogue or a conversation or a report with God. It's a time when we as his and her eternal sons and daughters can have a conversation with God about our lives, about what we've been doing, what we would like to do, and all the things we would like to accomplish.

I've heard many types of prayers, but the majority of the prayers I heard when I visited different churches were like, "God, please give me great blessings this year. Please take care of my family. Please take care of all the headaches. Please solve my financial problems. Please help my rebellious children find a godly way of life. Please fix them." These are the prayers that I heard over and over again.

I've often thought, if I were God and the only kind of communication I had with my child was my child asking me, "Mommy, please do this for me, please bring me this, please fix this, please solve this," then as a parent I would feel something lacking. Such kinds of requests are not really a conversation with the child sharing a bit of himself or herself with me, but the child looking at me to solve all their problems; looking at me not even as a source of relief or comfort or security, but as a source where expectations can be solved, met, and delivered. I thought, God must be really, really lonely.

I thought, how comforting it must be to have our True Parents in this world, representing God here on earth, because when you listen to our True Father or True Mother's prayers, they don't ask for anything. They don't plead for anything or beg for anything. What they pray about is what they would like to accomplish. They say things like, "God, let us liberate you from your misery. Please don't be lonely. We love you. We are going to accomplish this mission for you. We are going to substantiate and fulfill the providence for you." And when I hear our True Father and True Mother pray, I've often thought how comforted God must be as a Heavenly Parent.

Especially as somebody who was raised and lived right above the Cheongpa-dong church in Seoul, Korea, I woke to prayer, I fell asleep to prayer. Back in those days, there was a lot of spiritual phenomena going on, so many times when there were unison prayers it would degenerate into mass hysteria. I remember waking up to people crying and screaming and yelling, "God, God, we are going to do this."

As a child, seeing a whole roomful of people with snot and tears everywhere, faces swollen because they'd been crying all night, I was so frightened. It would go on all night and all day. Many times when I fell asleep I would hear the same thing. I remember even as a child thinking, "Poor God, all these people screaming and yelling at him, being hysterical over him and her. I wonder how God feels. I wonder what God must be thinking."

But as they were eternal sons and daughters of God, God in his loving and in her loving way was always embracing these brothers and sisters. Whatever they needed to go through, somehow, some way, they found God through different conversion experiences they had in church; they came to recognize the significance of True Parents; and they dedicated their whole life to work together with our True Parents for the last 40 or 50 years in the wilderness.

Transitioning Into the Time of Settlement

We often talk about this as the time of settlement, when we are not called just to suffer and be miserable and die for the sake of others, but when we are called to fulfill God's providence, to fulfill God's original ideal of creation by creating that beautiful family, society, nation and world. This is a time when – because we are internally excellent and externally excellent – everything we do can be anointed and blessed by God, resulting in the golden touch by which we can prosper and be successful. We can be fulfilled and satisfied in the work that we do.

This is what loving life is really about. It's about building on the sacrifice, suffering, and difficulties that the first-generation have laid as that foundation. They have dug well, creating a deep and wide foundation. Now what we need to do in this era of settlement is to reap and harvest all they have given up for the sake of this movement – and with a grateful attitude and loving heart to build that beautiful house for God and humanity.

For me this is a profoundly exciting time. I've often thought how wonderful it would be if the different teams or organizations in our movement could come together realizing that the different organizations – like UPF, Women's Federation, and CARP – are not just independent organizations but represent different facets of our universe and our movement. They are like different fingers on a hand in that they need to work together to reap, create, and substantiate the kind of results we'd like to see.

Working Together To Stand for Religious Freedom

I was particularly delighted because the third CARP winter ball was occurring at a time when we were highlighting once again and stressing the importance of ending the faith-breaking issue taking place in Japan. What took place at the ball was a miraculous thing for me. My brothers and I basically have decided that enough is enough. There is no reason why Unificationists living under Japan's constitution, which guarantees religious freedom, still have to put up with being kidnapped, abducted, coerced, held against their will, abused, manipulated, and in many cases raped during their incarceration. This needs to stop.

So together with the good work of our international president, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, and the Korean Foundation president, Kook Jin Moon, I started visiting Capitol Hill with different ministers and friends of different faiths, brought together through ACLC and working in conjunction with UPF, headed by Jim Gavin. We also invited Angelika Selle, president of WFWP. We decided to go as a united front on Capitol Hill and tell our story of what's taking place in Japan that is affecting our movement here in the United States, since so many of our brothers and sisters have been internationally blessed. In this way, different organizations started working together.

What I stressed to Hero and Victoria earlier was the need for a youth organization on campus like CARP to work together in conjunction with WFWP, UPF and ACLC to bring attention to the faith-breaking issue so we can truly stand as dignified, proud Unificationists all around the world, including Japan.

What especially inspired me was the young people taking up that message, inheriting it and making it their banner call. People like Sejin Tranberg decided not only to go to college but also to be the president of the student government. He is going to be the agent of change on his campus highlighting the faith-breaking issue so that he, together with the young people on his campus, can work simultaneously with organizations that have already laid the foundation on Capitol Hill with the congressmen and women and senators we have met through our numerous visits.

When a young person decides to take this and make it his banner call, and decides to ride a bike across the United States to raise awareness, not only is Capitol Hill responding, but different colleges are responding. Brothers and sisters working in different organizations are responding. The media are taking notice. The media are covering these stories. Again, this shows the importance of working together.

When we stand separately, like different fingers of a hand, it's just one finger. But when we can work together, there are marvelous things we can grasp. We are able to seize the day when we have the fingers working together as a hand. That's the power of the team spirit that is percolating, that I'm witnessing and that I know is the key to revitalizing America to recognize its true spiritual heritage and understand that God blessed this country not for its own sake but to spread the breaking news of our True Parents with the rest of the world. If America can do that, united with God and our True Parents, then we can be the agents of change as a nation for the next millennium.

"God Always Delivers"

Brothers and sisters, this is an immensely exciting time. We as a community are now going through the transition process of changing our survival mentality of the wilderness to the mentality of prosperity and settlement. I know a great many changes have taken place, and I promise you that changes will continue to take place, whether we are comfortable or not. Many times changes are extremely difficult for those who are set in their ways. But this is not a time to be petrified or set in our ways. This is a time when God and our True Parents are saying, "Look, this is a time when we can enjoy unprecedented growth and opportunity – but things might not come in the ways we have expected, nor in the ways that we have pled for in our prayers."

I'm sure a great many Christian men and women have begged and pleaded to be living at the time of the Second Coming. Perhaps they were hoping for another Jesus Christ. Perhaps they were looking for somebody with Western features or Middle Eastern features, or, if they were inundated with the Hollywood version, a Jesus with blonde hair and blue eyes. But God delivered on the expectation that we've had for the Second Coming. God always delivers. It's just that this time around, the Second Coming is a Korean man. This time God gave us not just half the picture but the total picture, with our beautiful True Mother.

So the world was not ready. It was not expecting an Asian man and a beautiful woman who together would symbolize the True Parents of humankind as agents through whom we can graft on to the heavenly lineage of God. But whether we're ready or not, they're here. They are with us, and they continue to do great work.

Even though they may be different from the expectations we have had of what the Second Coming might be – "Is he going to ride the cloud down into our midst? What is he going to look like? Will he be like an alien, a superhuman?" – thank God our True Parents are human because they give us hope that we can have a role model in them, knowing that if they can do it, so can we. If they are telling us that we are divine and eternal sons and daughters of God, then we are.

When we think about all the things we expect of God, or, when we look at ourselves as children expecting our parents to be a certain way, we have to realize that many times the expectations that we project on God, our Heavenly Parent, or even on our own parents are very much our own. Our own expectations are not necessarily what God is prepared to deliver or what God is delivering. Many times if we get stuck on our expectations of what I want from my God, my parents, my senior pastor, my spouse, my brothers and sisters, or my best friend, those expectations have a tendency to override the blessing that may be given in very small and sometimes very unassuming ways. We may expect the big, only to forget and not appreciate the small blessings that God gives to us every day in many mysterious ways.

The Cinnamon Tree and the Angel

This reminds me of a beautiful Korean folktale that I grew up with, called "The Cinnamon Tree and the Angel." It talks about a majestic cinnamon tree that stood in one of the most beautiful gardens on earth. This beautiful tree had a mystical quality. It had huge branches with beautiful green and luscious leaves that created a canopy for all the animals seeking shelter from the sun. As the wind swept through the leaves, the leaves would whistle and harmonize in a beautiful song that enchanted all of God's creatures. They would listen to the symphonic songs that the tree and the wind would play, helping them recognize what a beautiful and wonderful life they had been given by God.

All the animals and all the children came, and they sat for hours together with the cinnamon tree, listening to the mysterious, majestic songs that the tree endlessly gave and shared, inspiring all the creation.

In heaven there was a god living with his group of angels, and he had many beautiful daughters. One day one of these daughters, an angel, was looking down to earth and heard this enchanting melody. She listened intently, trying to figure out where it came from. She finally located the cinnamon tree and realized it was giving a concert of a sort for all creation. The song was so enchanting and mesmerizing that she had to fly down from the heavens to listen.

But this angel in particular had a beautiful voice, so while the tree was giving a beautiful song to all the creatures on earth, she started to sing along. Then even more creatures came to hear the beautiful melodies put to a beautiful voice. Together the cinnamon tree and the angel enchanted all creation and encouraged them to realize how wonderfully blessed they were and what a beautiful world they lived in.

After a while the cinnamon tree and the angel fell in love with each other and gave birth to a little boy. This is a Korean folktale of how the world started. This little boy climbed the tree and ate the cinnamon. It was so richly spiced. As he was lovingly embraced and nurtured by the beautiful voice of his angelic mother, the boy grew up marvelously sturdy and strong, but also appreciating his feminine, sensitive side. He was like the perfect man, when we women think of the ideal spouse.

This boy became a young man, and the world was so beautiful. One day it started to rain, and the rain kept on coming until it covered all of creation. Then water started rising up the tree. The boy climbed up as fast as he could, sat on the branches, and was waiting for the rain to end. But just as the water was about to submerge the tree, the rain stopped. Due to the currents underneath, however, the tree was uprooted and fell upon the water. Even though it fell, it called out to the boy and said, "Boy, Boy, come and ride me."

Wondering if he was the only person left alive in the world, the boy floated endlessly on the tree, always hoping to see a ship nearby that could save him. They floated for days until they encountered a bunch of ants clinging to each other for dear life. Then the boy said, "Ants, please climb upon the tree." And he asked, "Dear cinnamon tree, would it be all right if the ants climbed on top of you?" The tree said, "Of course. Please invite the ants." The boy loved the ants and took care of them.

A few days later, while they were still floating on the open water with nothing to be seen, he came across a little school of mosquitoes buzzing around him. They said, "Little boy, we are so tired. If you don't let us rest on your tree, we will die." The boy said, "Please, please come onto my tree. Cinnamon tree, is that all right?" The cinnamon tree said, "Of course." So the boy took care of the mosquitoes.

A few days later he finally saw a sign of life, a boy floating in the water, shouting, "SOS, get me out of here!" The boy asked, "Cinnamon tree, can we save him?" The cinnamon tree hesitated, then said, "He's a difficult one." The boy persisted, "Can we still have him on the tree?" Cautiously the cinnamon tree said, "Well, if that's what you would like, we can invite him onto the tree."

The ants, the mosquitoes, and the screaming boy, together with the good boy traveled all around the world on the different seas until they came upon an island where they found a grandma with two granddaughters. The granddaughters cried out, ai-gu, ai-gu – which is roughly equivalent to oy-vey, or in Spanish ay-caramba. "There's life! We thought we were the only ones alive. Thank God we found you."

The boy said, "Dear Grandmother, it's such an honor to see that you are well and that other people are alive." This boy, together with his screaming friend and the mosquitoes and ants, decided to live with the grandmother and two granddaughters. He was such an ingenious and hard-working child, he would get up first thing in the morning and – quite uncustomary for an Asian male – prepare a feast for the grandmother and do all the cleaning, and even though the girls tried to help, "He'd say, 'No, no, let me do this.'"

The screaming boy said, "Why do we have to do anything? We are men. There are three women here. Have them do the work." But the good boy said, "No, we should do the work." Under his leadership and initiative not only did the girls and the grandmother help, but everybody started working together as a team.

When the screaming boy realized that the grandmother doted on this kind-hearted and loving boy, he suddenly became jealous. In fact, he was overcome with jealousy and decided he had to somehow do away with the other boy. At the same time he realized, "This rickety old grandmother is not much to look at, but one of the granddaughters is really beautiful." He thought if he could get rid of the good boy, he could have his chance with the beautiful granddaughter. So he devised a little plan. He decided basically to kill the good boy with praise. It's called "death by praise in Korea."

He went up to the grandmother and praised the other boy, talking about how clever he was, how ingenious, having such a strategic, clever mind. "Did you know, Grandmother, that if you threw a pail of rice into a pile of sand that this boy is so clever that he would be able to sort out every single grain of rice from that pile of sand and have it in a bucket again for you in no time?"

The grandmother said, "Is that so?" The screaming boy said, "Yes, why don't you try him out? Why don't you test how clever, how strategic, how smart he is?" The screaming boy thought that of course the other boy would fail. But when the grandmother called the other boy and said, "Dear boy, I've just dropped this pail of rice into this pile of sand. Can you please sort out every single grain and put in this pail for me?" The boy said, "Yes, of course," and started to work, sorting out each grain.

But he soon realized that no matter how much he tried, there were endless rice grains intermixed in the sand. He started to worry, "What if I cannot complete the job the grandmother asked me to do? I really want to finish this for her." He started to worry. But then the ants that he had saved and nurtured with the help of the cinnamon tree said, "Dear boy, don't worry." The general of the ants said, "Follow me, troops!" Led by their general, the ants attacked the pile of sand and in the blink of an eye all the grains were neatly and safely back in the pail.

The grandmother exclaimed, "What a miraculous boy! You have been anointed by Heaven! You are indeed clever." She was so inspired. If you know Korean grandmothers, the only thing on their mind is, how am I going to find a suitable spouse for my granddaughters? Marriage is very much on their mind. So she thought, "This boy is indeed blessed, indeed clever. I would like him as a son-in-law." She said, "My two granddaughters are staying in two different rooms of the house. Go to the room of your choice and there will be your bride."

This good boy was saying, "I'm not sure if I'm worthy to be a spouse to either of your granddaughters." The grandmother replied, "That's why I would like you to go and open one door." Of course the screaming boy was hoping that the other boy would pick the less attractive girl because he wanted the beautiful one for himself. He's hiding in the background, hoping that the first boy gets the ugly one.

But as the boy approached, the school of mosquitoes that he had saved came up to him and said, "Dear boy, the one you were meant to be married to, the one who is meant to be your eternal spouse, sits in the eastern room." The mosquitoes guided him to the room where the beautiful and kind-hearted granddaughter sat. So they became husband and wife and lived happily ever after.

Of course the screaming boy still wanted to get married, so he ended up marrying the ugly girl, the difficult and rebellious one. But by rubbing up against each other, following the role model of the good couple, after many, many years the screaming boy turned into a mellow old man, and the difficult, rebellious girl turned into a wonderful younger sister to the beautiful girl, and they too lived happily ever after. And that's how the Korean people were born, so the story goes.

Dealing With Expectations

The beautiful thing about this story is, again, how do we deal with expectation? Here was this boy lost at sea, floating on a cinnamon tree with no sign of life anywhere, and he was hoping for a boat to deliver him. In his mind it might be an angel on a cloud, it might be a sailboat, it might be God's hand down sweeping down to save him. It might have been a lot of different things. But because this boy had goodness and kindness in his heart, he never lost hope that somehow God would work his mysterious ways and take care of him in his dire situation.

So he took in what seemed insignificant – the school of ants – or what seemed an annoyance – the buzzing mosquitoes. Because of his attitude and the goodness of his heart, he took the things that did not come in the form of a deliverance in the ways he expected. He realized that when you live a good life for the sake of others, being truly compassionate and loving, sharing of yourself, and appreciating everything around you, then at the end of the day when appointed hour arrives, the very thing that you thought was insignificant and could not be that agent of deliverance may be exactly what is needed.

God delivered all that the boy would need to become the father of the world. God prepared all that would be needed for him to accomplish his mission in life, which was to find a beautiful wife. Likewise, as we're going through the different periods of transition and constant fluctuation, many times our expectations of what we want or believe we should get are not necessarily met in the form that we expect.

This is a call for all of us to take stock of all the things we have been given and all the expectations that we've had on top of that, and perhaps take a closer look to realize that God is not just putting us in a position to beg and plead for his blessing. When we look within and tap into the divinity and goodness that's in all of us as God's eternal sons and daughters, we realize that God delivered on the day you and I were born. We were born as his sons and daughters. We were given the gift of divinity within. We were given the circuitry through which we can receive endless hours, a lifetime, full of true love, if only we decide to make sure we are connected, like a light bulb.

"Lean on, Trust in and Be Confident in the Lord"

In Proverbs 3:5–6, Scripture tells us, "Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind." Lean on, meaning you can be vulnerable because you're in good hands. You don't have to be afraid of True Parents. You can lean on True Parents. Don't be afraid to trust in God. Don't be afraid to trust in True Parents. They are our parents. They're going to be there for you, for me, for all of us. And be confident in who we are. Be confident Unificationists. Be confident in that we are their children.

The same passage also tells us not to rely just on our own insight and understanding. Again, at the time when we feel the need to call SOS – if we find ourselves floating on a cinnamon tree in an open sea, wondering, "How am I going to find my deliverance?' and we're waiting for the Coast Guard to zoom in and save us – well, perhaps the deliverance may come in a different form than what we expect. Perhaps our own understanding of how we might be saved from our predicament, or our own insights into what would be necessary at this time – "If only God would send me the Coast Guard." "If only God would send me Jesus on a cloud" – might not exactly be what God sends us. It might be a school of ants. It might be a swarm of annoying mosquitoes.

I think when we're young teenagers, trying to grapple with our identity, many times we can look at our parents as creepy things that make us miserable. "Why don't they just get out of my hair?" It's like trying to get ants out of your hair. But what we need to realize is, "Parents are God's way of saying, 'It has been delivered, and in the course of your life you will realize that the very ant that you and I tried to get out of your hair will be the source of your deliverance, the source of your blessing and great fortune.'"

Often we might look at our parents or brothers and sisters as annoying mosquitoes: "Get out of my face!" Or we might have a pesky younger brother who's constantly annoying us, as though they're sucking the living daylights out of us. Family relations are difficult.

But sometimes God sends a school of mosquitoes in an annoying form just to help make us better on our road by truly rubbing up against us to reveal the beauty and treasure within. Then we need to realize that God always delivers in his and her mysterious ways. It takes maturity and life experience to realize that God was always there from the beginning and will always be there throughout our lives – and that's the same with our True Parents.

The Bible says, "Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord, with all your heart and mind, and do not rely on your own insight or understanding." It says if we do so, then God is there to direct, to make straight and plain our road. God is there not to make our life difficult, but God has prepared the road. He continues to pave the road for our future. The only thing we need to do is to walk that path as a dignified and grateful son or daughter of God.

If we do so, we will realize how much God truly loves us and how much God continues to love us, every day of our lives. Just as it says in Buddhism, in Garland Sutra 10, "all conflagration burns things to a crisp." Every different conflagration burns all things. But in the field of Buddha's blessing, the conflagration or the fire basically burns away all the fabrication, all the superficialities, all the things that are meaningless that need to fall by the wayside as we come to seek genuinely and see the truth.

Likewise, the process of shifting our lives, our faith, and our growing families from the time of the wilderness to the time of the settlement, from a survival mentality to an understanding that we are to be fulfilled, prosperous, satisfied, and successful individuals of God, is going to take some work. But just as fire and the burning process can be extraordinarily painful, in the field of Buddha's blessing all conflagration reveals and burns up the fabrication that exists, to reveal the beauty within.

That's really the beauty of our lives: Being able to come to a place in our lives – you and me, every man and woman here – to truly see what we're made of. When we can do that, we realize, "Yes, God really loves us. Our True Parents really love us." And we realize that with all the suffering we've gone through, if only we can have the heartistic attitude of the boy being endlessly compassionate and loving, living for the sake of others, and sharing in his safety with others, then we can be amazing people.

The Youth Is Our Future

I often like to say our movement is the most successful movement in the history of religion in the lifetime of the founder. There was a lot of talk when I first came on board at HSA that the future of our movement resides in the hands and hearts of the young people. If we cannot inspire the young people, there is no future leadership. But there will be a future leadership if the young people can be catapulted from the perfunctory existence of thinking, "Life is life. I can do whatever I want," to the meaningful existence of striving to be conscientious men and women who understand, "Life is a gift that gives me an opportunity to make something beautiful of it. I am going to work 10,000 hours at it, on my character, so that I can be a beautiful son (or daughter) in preparation for the ultimate gift that God has prepared for me, the Blessing through our True Parents."

By going through that portal as man and wife, we can begin the process of creating ideal families of our own. If we realize that we can do this together, working together in heart and spirit, then we realize that we have an endless reason why we should be celebrating and loving life every day of our lives.

The first-generation's struggle and difficulty were really like the first stage of a rocket trying to break through the atmosphere into space. There's a whole lot of rocking and rattling. But once you break free of the atmosphere, the first-generation's carcass, so to speak, falls by the wayside. The survival mentality, the trench warfare-like mentality that we had that allowed us to remain focused and unified in the time of the wilderness gives way to the second stage of the rocket, where we are here actively building an era of settlement.

It's something that the first-generation has never seen or witnessed. It's brand new. Change is in the air. Yes, we're on the second leg. But if we continue to do the good work, then sooner or later the second stage must give way to allow the final piece of the rocket to go where we've only dreamed about.

That's the exciting thing about this time because this is not just the time to be loving life and doing the good work. If we – every one of us, one at a time – do the good work on ourselves and our families, while striving to be ideal families as the cornerstones of each society, nation, and world, then we are poised not just to be prosperous but to enter an era when we can truly live, experience, and enjoy the culture of heart. We are poised to truly understand what shim jung is all about, and what God meant and felt when he first created Adam and Eve, his children.

We realize that if we can all reach a stage in our lives in which we are living and breathing the culture of heart, the culture of shim jung, then that's the key to the world of peace, love, and harmony that all of humanity has been waiting for.

Brothers and sisters, this Year of the Dragon is an extremely important year. Many, many things will be accomplished, and many of the difficult things that we've struggled with will still be struggled with and fought with. But with persistence, consistent dedication, and absolute unity with God and True Parents as the control tower of our lives, then all the great Boeing 747s, and 787s and the double-decker A380s – all the great men and women pursuing all the great things you were meant to accomplish – are finally going to come home. We are going to be landing on the landing pad that our True Parents are guiding us toward and have prepared and delivered for us.

Brothers and sisters, lean on, trust in, and be confident in God, our Heavenly Parent. Lean on, trust in, and be confident in our True Parents. And lean on, trust in, and be confident in each other as a community. When we truly work as a team, as a family, as two hands working together, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.

I know that this is what our True Parents are expecting – and not just expecting, but they know because they and we acknowledge God, we recognize God, and we acknowledge God as our parent. That's what the Good Book is saying in Proverbs 3:5–6. It's saying the whole point of our existence when we lean on, trust, and are confident in the Lord is to recognize, know, and acknowledge that we have a Heavenly Parent, because when you are truly somebody's child, it's obvious; it's natural; it's immediate; and that's the kind of a relationship that God wants to have with all of us.

So keep on believing, and instead of waiting for expectations to be fulfilled, let us be the agents of change and start creating miracles in our own lives, starting with ourselves and our families, and thereby change the world.

So God bless. Happy New Year, brothers and sisters, and thank you.


The Books of Proverbs, chapter 3

1: My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments;

2: for length of days and years of life
and abundant welfare will they give you.

3: Let not loyalty and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them about your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

4: So you will find favor and good repute
in the sight of God and man.

5: Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.

6: In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

7: Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.

8: It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

9: Honor the LORD with your substance
and with the first fruits of all your produce;

10: then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.

11: My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
or be weary of his reproof,

12: for the LORD reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.

13: Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
and the man who gets understanding,

14: for the gain from it is better than gain from silver
and its profit better than gold.

15: She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.

16: Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.

17: Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.

18: She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called happy.

19: The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens;

20: by his knowledge the deeps broke forth,
and the clouds drop down the dew.

21: My son, keep sound wisdom and discretion;
let them not escape from your sight,

22: and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck.

23: Then you will walk on your way securely
and your foot will not stumble.

24: If you sit down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

25: Do not be afraid of sudden panic,
or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes;

26: for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being caught.

27: Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it.

28: Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again,
tomorrow I will give it" -- when you have it with you.

29: Do not plan evil against your neighbor
who dwells trustingly beside you.

30: Do not contend with a man for no reason,
when he has done you no harm.

31: Do not envy a man of violence
and do not choose any of his ways;

32: for the perverse man is an abomination to the LORD,
but the upright are in his confidence.

33: The LORD's curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the abode of the righteous.

34: Toward the scorners he is scornful,
but to the humble he shows favor.

35: The wise will inherit honor,
but fools get disgrace. 

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