Unification News for September 2003
Pilgrimage To The Holy Land - Mission of Peace & Reconciliation
by Rev. Michael Jenkins
History was made in Israel September 22, 2003 . For the first time Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders walked together in prayer through the old city of Jerusalem pledging with their lives that God had called them to end the divisions and become one family. They walked through an area where no marches rallies or gatherings of such a type are permitted. They were on a mission to end the divisions of the historic Abrahamic faiths.
The march was the fulfillment of inspiration of our True Parents and came on the solid foundation of the reconciliation of the first and second Israel during the first Pilgrimage last May. 123 of the Christian leaders came from America on the second Pilgrimage. This group of clergy are much more clear about our mission this time having the benefit of understanding the first pilgrimage through the "Beyond the Cross" video and True Father's incredible revelation that the last Pilgrimage reconciled the sons of Abraham and created a condition of lifting up Jesus in such a way that forgiveness could come for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
On this foundation Father proclaimed the forgiveness of the first, second and third Israel through the Jerusalem, Washington and Seoul Declarations. These Declarations brought forgiveness to the first (Judaism, Israel), second (Christianity, America) and third Israel (Unificationism, Korea). All three faiths did not receive the Messiah properly but all has been indemnified and on this basis the fourth Israel was proclaimed by our True Parents through the Seoul Declaration.
The Fourth Israel is real. It is made up of believers from all major religions who have been blessed by our True Parents. It has authority and power to bring God's Kingdom. We saw that great power on the march. We marched where you could not go.
In Rome we toured Paul's prison and the site of his execution. Many clergy canceled in the last two weeks before the journey. Many times out of concerns raised by family and friends about the war like conditions -- they lost will to go on. Interestingly as soon as one canceled another clergy would suddenly sign up to go. Many times they felt that they must do something to stop the bloodshed.
Many had to overcome great trials to go. In Rome on our first night, the Italian family provided a tremendous fellowship at their main center and vineyard outside of Rome. It was a totally "Family Church" type spirit. We sincerely thank the Rev. Cali and the Italian family for the heart that was given to the ACLC pastors. The 123 Pastors and Unificationists all took down their crosses are feel that this is the call of God.
Testifying to the trials that many had to go through to decide on this trip, Pastor Jimmie Clark of Texas gave his testimony. could not make the last pilgrimage and swore that he would go this time. He paid his ticket and was ready. Just one week before our departure his son in law Anson was attacked by a carjacker who walked up to his car with a shot gun and shot him in the face. The attacker then pulled him out of the car and then shot him again in the back. Again he aimed his gun to finish him when he saw Anson's 8 year old daughter on the porch. He then decided to kill her. He fired another blast and it took out the front window of the house. Then he aimed the gun again walking towards her. Suddenly she saw a circle of angels around her and another angel knocking the gun aside as he shot again.
The killer got scared, took the car and drove off. The girl was not harmed. Anson went into critical condition. His face and both eyes were full of shotgun pellets. He was blind and hanging by a thread. Rev. Clark was there before the ambulance had left. His daughter and son in law had just had a baby the week before. Somehow Anson held on for life. Rev. Clark could only think about saving him. He canceled his trip to go. As soon as he canceled, he began to feel turmoil. He then couldn't sleep, not only due to the tragedy but because he felt that he must think about the sons and daughters in Israel (Muslims and Jews) who are dying everyday. He felt the spirit of the Lord come over him. If I sit here my son in law may die anyway with me not doing anything. If I go to Israel I can help stop the global violence. I know this is what God wants. "I put my son in laws life in your hands Lord. I'm going to Israel" he prayed. He testified that as soon as he made up his mind, his son in law got better.
He then told the Pastors, Father Moon is calling us to risk our very lives to bring peace in Israel. Jesus taught us that if you seek to gain your life you'll lose it, but if you seek to lose your you will gain it. With tears in his eyes he said, "I'm going to the Holy Land, I've given up my life so I don't fear death. God is with us. We must sacrifice ourselves to realize peace. Peace is not free. It must be paid for.
The Pastors were deeply moved. Two days latter Rev. Clark testified that his son is beginning to see out of one eye. There is hope that he will live also see again.
The next night Bishop Stallings gave a sermon and stated to the 123 that Rev. Sun Myung Moon is the savior, Messiah and King of Kings. The most powerful part is that the pastors are accepting it with their hearts. Rev. Rawls who led the Selma March a few weeks ago. Is also leading this trip. Rev. Rawls said, "I was a little apprehensive at first. But now I realized that only through our walking this path with many religious leaders side by side can we end the violence. I'm not afraid of anything now. I'm ready to go to Gaza."
Therefore Brothers and Sisters, these clergy who know that Father is the Second coming of the Messiah.
These are the clergy that are leading the Peace March in Israel. The next day Rev. Bennett Hayes of Gloryland Baptist Church in Houston gave testimony. He shared about how he became upset in Ocean City when he first heard the principle. He shared how he couldn't accept the part about John's failure and then late that night his conscience told him to read it again in his room. He read it and believed. Now he's teaching the Divine Principle from his pulpit. He testified that so many members of his church have bought the DP and are now testifying to other church Bible studies. He said they are excited because they are getting persecuted for saying that Jesus didn't come to die but was to live. Pastor Hayes testified that his church of (2500) is gaining members every week because of the persecution.
Then Rev. Hayes shared that he has no fear of death and prepared his mind to accept dying if necessary. He said I was prepared by God many years ago in Vietnam. My job was to go out and find out what happened to patrols that didn't come back. I went into the bush by myself many times and go pinned down. The ACLC minister who introduced me to this movement was a helicopter pilot that saved my life. Because he saved me I promised that I would go with him anywhere. He took me to the Divine Principle Convocation in Ocean City. (last October) Everyday since that convocation I've bee like a man on fire. Now my wife has caught the fire. He testified that in addition to finding patrols he got a lot of assignments to be the point many in a mission. He said, "Rev. Jenkins, I do not fear death, please make me the lead of this March through Jewish and Moslem Territory. Please put me in the front row. I am not fearing anything. Let's march.
We began at the Jaffa gate of the old city. The 123 ACLC clergy were joined by the Golden Path, Jewish and Arab peace walkers, the Druze religion (which takes it origin from Jethro the Father in Law of Moses), Rev. Abu Hatoom, (brought 50 clergy from Nazareth), Ethiopian Orthodox church, the Peace Promise Initiative (President and founder Debra West), Rabbi Moshe Chen (pronounced Ken) -- a prominent Rabbi in Israel. Hundreds came from all over Israel. Over 120 Arab Muslim (many who were Palestinians) clerics and community leaders joined. Jews and Christians, just kept coming until our march originally planned for 360 swelled to 500.
We began in silence (we were instructed by our organizers that this was the only way we could get through this path and not be stopped. ) with approximately 5 marchers per row and 100 rows. We began through the streets of the ancient city and the reality of the danger and tension became apparent right away. 5 minutes into the walk the police stopped us with grave concern for what was going on. You don't march with Muslims, Christians and Jews through Palestinian and Jewish sections of the old city. Meetings for dialogue is one thing, but 500 marching on the street at a time many feel is the most dangerous, volatile and tense is unthinkable. However, from heavens point of view, this is the era of Cheon Il Guk and every wall and border will eventually fall down if we walk in faith.
Suddenly our march came to a dead stop. Our Jewish IIFWP Ambassadors for Peace sprung into action. This was Shelley Elkayam Shando, Baruch Shalev who advises one Israeli Cabinet member, Dr. Eliezar Glaubach and Dr. Shuki Ben Ami (all scholars and Ambassadors for Peace) immediately stood in between our marchers and the police and with incredible finesse and conviction helped the Israeli police understand that this march would bring peace not conflict. They introduced Bishop Stallings, myself and Rev. Hartoom.
A conflict now ensured at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which has Jesus' tomb inside. Suddenly something changed in the countenance of the Police. Not only did they permit us to go forward but felt that they now must make the March a success. They gave us total trust and support. It was unreal. Our way was blocked by one religious order who didn't understand who we were and were afraid. The Police did understand and we reversed our -- we all did an about face in the narrow (only 5 can stand side by side) covered streets of the old city (with small kiosks and Palestinian / Arab merchants along the sides -- and the end of the march became the front. Then because we now had full support we broke into a cadence of Peace, Shalom, Salaam Ailaikam, Peace, Shalom, Salaam Ailaikam, Peace, Shalom, Salaam Ailaikam, Peace, Shalom, Salaam Ailaikam. Now as we walked the shop keeper smiled and the spirit of tension turned into a spirit of joy.
They helped us get through the security check points quickly and we could assemble before the Holy site of the Western Wall. It was there that Dr. Lonnie McLeod offered a Christian Prayer, Imam Kiwan offered a Muslim Prayer (Imam Kiwan gave the main prayer representing all religious leaders at the July WCSF Blessing in Korea), and then Rabbi Moshe Chen. The Rabbi was deeply moved that this march could occur. He said, "Many have died on this path we are walking so we are like Martyrs, however today I feel no danger and that we will be like living Martyrs." The Rabbi brought great respect for Judaism to the Muslim and Christian leaders.
Then we marched to the Temple Mount (Mt. Moriah where it is believed that Abraham sacrificed Isaac, and Muhammad ascended into heaven). It is one of the three most revered and holy sites of all of Islam. Again we passed smoothly through security checkpoints and became the first Interreligious group since the second Intifada to go before the mosque. The meetings we had the day before with the Imam and key leaders of the Mosque made an incredible foundation. Imam Bundakji of California, did so much to help Jewish and Christian leaders appreciate Islam. For many Jews who have lived their whole lives in Jerusalem it was the first time in the Al Aqsa plaza. To our astonishment and the profound shock of the Police they Muslim Imams and key leaders welcomed us with love and total respect.
500 gathered before the steps of the Dome of the Rock and led by Imam Bundakji we shouted God is Great. Allah U Akbar !!! Out of total respect and reverence for their heart and tradition before God we followed only the Muslim expression of honoring God. Imam Bundakji said we believe and love Moses, Isaac and Ishmael. We believe and love Jesus and we believe and love Muhammad. We believe and love True Parents. Again, the Imam brought great respect and a feeling of love for the greatness of Islam and many Jewish and Christian leaders were deeply awakened to the fact that this is God's holy religion.
From the Dome of the Rock we marched through the Lions gate and then on to our buses. Our rally concluded at the Mt. of Olives. All faith traditions assembled there in the sun on the eastern side of the old city across a great valley. You can see the Holy City from the place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Lk:19:41 -- 42 "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes."
However we come to proclaim to that same hillside overlooking the city and proclaim, Jesus we love you and now we know the "things which belong unto thy peace." We are reconciling Jesus and accepting True Parents. Through this you are being lifted up and liberated. Your family is feeling love and Ishmael and Isaac are in permanent fellowship now that will bring a healing power that will end the strife. The Christians and your beloved Jewish family are repenting and forgiving one another and through that they are discovering the "real" love of Jesus.
Dear Jesus, "Weep no more." It is time for your tears of sorrow to turn into tears of Joy.
Dear True Parents, Please "Weep no more" the Elder son and the religions that you are longing for have come to understand that God's love through True Parents is healing our hearts and allowing all brothers to become one together.
Thanks America. Thanks Israel. Thanks Palestine.
Thank you Rev. Kwak and Dr. Walsh and the IIFWP for developing religious leaders in the Middle East who will be the Ambassadors for Peace and the founders of the Middle East Peace Council and the World Peace council. We really thank Rev. Ji, Dr. Abe and Rev. Hod Ben Zwi for the Israeli Families incredible work to make it happen. Also Dr. Wilson and Dr. Frank Kaufmann out of pure heart sacrificed from their hearts to make it all work. God is blessing this work. Father told us that ACLC would bring peace to Israel. I see it now with my own eyes, the walls have come down. We are entering the era where there will no longer be borders and check points. This is the time of the Cheon Il Guk.
Thank you Rev. Hwang and the 840 who are pouring your blood sweat and tears into New York right now. We are on the road to total victory for the Kingdom of God on Earth.
Special thanks to Dr. Chang Shik Yang who has Father's heart of righteousness but incredible patience and love that allows this movement to continue to walk through the fires and trials that historically have divided all religions. We are ending divisions now.
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