Unification News for July 2003

UTS Commencement Congratulatory Remarks

Chang Shik Yang
June 28, 2003

This was given on June 28, 2003 at the Unification Theological Seminary, Barrytown, NY

I am truly proud, honored and pleased to participate in this important day with you, a day that marks an important accomplishment in your lives; a day that represents a significant achievement for the providence of God. Todayís commencement ceremony has special significance, for we honor the first students to graduate from the seminaryís New York City extension site. This is the first step toward a grand vision, where leaders of all faiths will study together, becoming one body, and working to build the Kingdom of God on Earth.

I bring you the warm congratulations of Rev and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, our beloved True Parents and founders of the Unification Theological Seminary. You may naturally look at your graduation from UTS as the culmination, the climax, of several years of effort. But I am sure that from Godís point of view it is also a beginning, and as each of you depart through the gates of this seminary you are entering a new and challenging realm of your life. This is therefore a precious opportunity to make a fresh start, a new beginning in your life of faith.

As you pass through these gates you are also part of a proud historical tradition. You may not realize how profoundly this institution will impact all of humanity and history, as a center of learning for the Completed Testament teaching of our True Parents. Father founded UTS to establish a standard of Unification religious education for the world, as well as to provide an official, formal training and education process to raise Unification leaders not only for America, but for the world.

When you first entered these gates you made a stirring and noble commitment to the public way of leadership, not only by knowledge but by example. This does not necessarily mean that every one of you will take up a leadership position in the church. But it does mean that to honor and carry on the proud tradition of UTS that True Parents established, ALL of you must determine to lead exemplary lives of faith: lives that reflect the truth that Father has brought to the world; lives that represent the standard of faith that he teaches and lives.

Your determination to enter these gates to attain the goal for which you will be honored today was a profound, awesome decision. You could easily have chosen a different course for your life. You could have become a businessman or woman, providing the possibility of a life of some level of material comfort. You could have chosen a more private, personal way of life also. But true to the commitment you made when you entered these gates, you will soon leave them, having received your diploma, as a minister of God, an ambassador of our True Parentsí teaching and heart, and a child of Heaven.

Please be true to your chosen path and calling. Like Father, Mother, our early church elders and leaders, and so many more historical figures, you are walking the way of a pioneer. You will be carrying on an important tradition, even as you spread the truth and plant roots for the future of your children, your descendants and all humanity. You must know that there is great glory on the road ahead of you, even as history honors those in the past who gave everything for the sake of Godís will. But the path to that bright, shining victory will not be easy. The way of a pioneer is often lonely, and you may feel at times that you have no support from anyone -- not even God. But how urgently you have studied, how seriously you have embraced your training, how deep is your knowledge of the Principle and how strong your faith; these will determine your strength in times of difficulty. With my whole heart I encourage you as the people encouraged Joshua: Be strong, and of good courage

Each of you may find yourselves in different missions, with different areas of responsibility. But as a Unification minister, what is your main mission? What are your most essential responsibilities? Father has taught us that the true mission of a pastor or minister can be expressed in three offices: prophet, priest, and king. What do these mean, and how can we fulfill them? The mission of a prophet is to represent God in front of the people. The prophet speaks for God; his words must be Godís words. The prophet must speak the truth, and always convey Godís point of view, maintaining and conveying a vertical perspective. A prophet must never get sidetracked or distracted, caught up in horizontal, personal points of view.

The role of the priest is complementary to that of prophet, for the priest must represent the people in front of God. The priest must pray for the people, repent for the people, and lift them up, interceding on their behalf with Heavenly Father. Father has taught that a church leader should focus on representing God to the people during the day, leading with conviction, praying for guidance and being confident as you try your best to fulfill Godís direction. But during the night, the leader should be a person of tears, reflecting on the decisions and experiences of the day and repenting for error or wrongdoing. We should repent for ourselves as well as for those we are responsible for.

One of our American teachers and elders tells a story of how he experienced Father accomplishing these two responsibilities during Fatherís early speaking tours in America. He was the state leader and church director in one state, and when Father came to his city to speak, Father stayed in the church center that night after the tour program. Because several aspects of the program were not prepared well, Father chastised and corrected this leader quite strongly at dinner, guiding him to do better. As a young leader, our brother was quite shocked to receive Fatherís strong words, and the burden on his heart was quite heavy.

That night, unable to sleep well, this leader got up to go to the bathroom at around 3:30 in the morning. As he passed the door of Fatherís bedroom, he saw a light under the door. He slowed down, and he could hear sounds coming from Fatherís room. He could not help himself, and quietly put his ear to the door to listen. He heard the unmistakable sound of Father weeping in prayer. Although the prayer was in Korean, and our brother couldnít understand a word, he stood transfixed, unable to move from the door. Suddenly, in the midst of Fatherís tearful prayer in Korean, the leader heard two words that he clearly understood: Father called out this brotherís name in tears! In that moment, he could understand how Fatherís absolute faith and strong leadership was balanced by his urgent and humble prayer, taking total responsibility in front of God.

The third aspect of the ministerís mission is that of King, to lead with Godís authority. This is particularly important as we have entered the era of Chun Il Geuk, the establishment of the Kingdom, and the reality of His sovereignty on earth and in the entire cosmos. True Parents are bequeathing their authority to us. Every one of us should realize that we only need to have faith and confidence, live publicly and speak and act for the glory of God and True Parents. You have the power! God will work through YOU to manifest His absolute sovereignty in each situation. You must only realize who you are, upon what foundation you stand, and whose authority you are inheriting.

True Father emphasized that to be a true instrument of God to realize our inheritance in this era of Chun Il Geuk; we must have an absolutely vertical relationship with God, like the sun at high noon. At this moment, when the sun is shining down from directly overhead, no shadow is cast. We too should cast no shadow, living our relationship with God like the sun at high noon. This should manifest in your personal spiritual standard, and become the foundation for building an exemplary Blessed family. To achieve this, I encourage you to follow the words of Jesus, who said in Matthew 6:33: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God (Chun Il Geuk), and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

I urge you to remain pure in heart, and you will become a true peacemaker. I challenge you to seek Godís kingdom first, and its righteousness, and you will become a genuine "kingdom-maker." Then you will truly know what many Christian leaders are only beginning to understand in the movement to take down the crossÖ the meaning of receiving a crown.

Once again, allow me to congratulate you On behalf of True Parents upon this special day of your graduation from the Unification Theological Seminary. Now, I challenge each and every one of you to carry the proud tradition of UTS and the example of our Parents deep in your hearts. Go forward into the world to liberate God, Bless all of humanity and make True Parents proud.

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