Unification News for November 2003
Godís Glory revealed in Israel Ė part 2
Rev. Jenkins (10/27/2003 4:44:18 PM : 998)
When our march through Jerusalem was stopped during this 3rd pilgrimage, there were some resisters who didnít want us to continue. Due to the work of Rev. Abe and Mr. Hod Ben Zvi we have an excellent relationship with influential people on all sides in the Middle East. Itís truly a headwing foundation. Because of that, the Israeli authorities had a sense of trust for the work we were doing with the Muslims, Christians and Jews. Our march was allowed to proceed. Again we were welcomed at the Western Wall.
We really have to thank Rev. Kwak and Dr. Thomas Walsh for the development of the IIFWP because the leaders that have been educated through many conferences over the years are now ready to take the action that is required of the peace councils to bring peace on earth. We are witnessing the living reality of the power of the interreligious dimension of the peace councils. Authorities, upon seeing hundreds of Muslims, Christians and Jews together, joining with representatives of 7 former enemy nations, are genuinely moved and somehow do not feel threatened. In contrast, a march by a group from any one religion alone would create a defensive feeling from other quarters.
The walls have come down between Islam, Christianity and Judaism with this era of Cheon Il Guk. The authority and power of True Parentsí teaching about the Abrahamic faiths becoming one was a visible reality as we walked for peace, both in Jerusalem and in Gaza. Special thanks to Dr. Frank Kaufmann, Taj Hammad, and Dr. Andrew Wilson, who each uniquely played a central role in different aspects of the interreligious work. Also Imam Bundakji again played a key role in opening the door to Al Aqsa mosque.
Taj Hammad came on the pilgrimage based on a heart of concern for the Middle East, not out of any direction or responsibility other than his own personal initiative. We are truly grateful for this attitude of faith. Amazingly he arrived just 5 minutes before Imam Khan from NY, Imam Jaami from Texas, and I were to go to Al Aqsa. The support he gave as we entered Al Aqsa mosque was very significant because there is certainly no teacher who speaks Arabic as his mother language who can teach about Fatherís life and heart the way Taj can.
Just as we did during the 2nd pilgrimage, we visited the imams at Al Aqsa on the day before we were to bring our interfaith group. Again, this proved to be critical in allowing our 600 marchers access to grounds. We have built a sense of deepening trust with the imams there, who have a very sincere respect for Fatherís life of faith and genuine understanding of Islam as a central religion created by God.
One of the believers, when they were in meditation after the 5 p.m. prayer, looked up at us as we were leaving with one of our hosts, and said in Arabic, in a very tense and pained voice, "Tell them to help liberate us." It was understood that we were believers from foreign lands and that somehow we were there to help bring reconciliation and security to the Islamic believers.
We had a very fruitful visit. Friendships were strengthened, and even the security staff of Al Aqsa has become more confident of our genuine support and protection of their faith as believers. Interestingly, one of the key imams was leaving the mosque in his car at the same time we were departing and he drove us home. These are occurrences that could not be planned.
The site of Al Aqsa is built of stone, of which the Western Wall forms the western boundary. It contains the Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa mosque, and several other ancient buildings in an area covering 35+ acres. Just an hour before our march arrived, Israel's Interior Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi "visited" Al Aqsa. Hanegbiís tour of the site under heavy guard is reminiscent of a similar "visit" to the holy site in September 2000 by then Israeli opposition leader and current prime minister Ariel Sharon, which triggered the second Intifada against occupation, and a period of three years of intensive conflict, violence and bloodshed. Because of this incident, everyone at the mosque plaza was on edge. Therefore, the fact that the imams still insisted that we be welcomed at the mosque was shocking to many who knew the reality of the situation there. But somehow, as weíve been witnessing with the IIPC in action, we bring a spirit of peace and trust which opens the doors and the hearts of those who really love God.
It was an incredible moment in history when 7 nations walked into this holy site together, pledging before God that they have reconciled the enmity and spirit of hatred from the World War II era and have now come to ask God that all enemy feelings can be repaired and atoned for through this growing movement. As we stood upon the steps before the Dome of the Rock, we truly felt the presence of God. Jesus and Mohammed, who are revered by Muslims, are one in spirit in this holy place. Christians coming to this holy place will feel the presence of Jesus and will open their hearts to Mohammed, which is a key element necessary for the genuine reconciliation of these two great religious movements created by God.
The rabbis and other Jews who were permitted to come with us to Al Aqsa also felt a genuine sense of love and respect from the Muslims, opening the way for our understanding that when the religious believers come together as one, the external divisions and problems will be solved. Jews, Muslims and Christians are destined by God to become one. This is the key to the power of the Kingdom of God. We canít express in words the joy we felt when Rev. Hapun of the Catholic Church of Nazareth arrived with 150 believers, Christians and Muslims and Jews together. It was beautiful. Coming all the way from Nazareth was not an easy journey, as they have to go through security checkpoints. The joy shone on Rev. Hapunís face when they arrived at the mosque area just in time to be included in our march. This added greatly to the surge of spiritual power we felt at that moment, that we will bring peace to the Holy Land.
Although we are not one yet, the doors are now opened for that unity to be possible. We of the ACLC attribute this to the anointing of our True Parents by Jesus, the confirmation of that anointing by Moses, and the spiritual support we feel from Mohammed.
It was a glorious moment at this holy site, from which it is understood that Mohammed ascended to heaven, and also the site upon which Abraham offered his son. This is also identified as the site of the Temple that existed in Jesusí time. For us to go there on the second pilgrimage was a great blessing from God. To go there again with an even larger group, on a day when tense conflict had occurred just an hour earlier, was confirmation that our unity is deepening and solidifying. My brothers and sisters, the Kingdom of God is coming on the earth. It is now time for us to rise up and believe.
[Father has said that in some ways the Muslim believers are taking the lead in relationship to True Parents to bring the world together as one family, through their families being blessed by God, and pledging to become true parents themselves. An example of this leadership is found in the former president of Indonesia, President Wahid, who as a religious leader personally brought together over 100,000 Muslim couples in conjunction with the April 27th 144,000-couple blessing that was held in Washington, D.C.]
From this place a small delegation, including Sen. Donzella James and Sen. Howard Stephenson from Utah, went with 12 clergy representatives to the Knesset, where under the able leadership of Dr. Glaubach, Dr. Baruch, and Shelly Elkyam the door opened for us to meet the president (Speaker) of the Knesset.
After lunch the rest of the representatives from the 7 nations and the 140 ACLC clergy and members visited the Upper Room. Rev. Jesse Edwards reported, "This time something happened in the Upper Room that had not happened before. As our pilgrims prayed for Godís anointing and presence in the very room in which Jesus had the Last Supper and in the same room that the Pentecost occurred after his resurrection, profound confirmation occurred in our believers. People were overwhelmed with tears. Many representatives of the 7 nations began to speak in tongues, which they had never experienced before in their lives. Several clergy from mainline denominations who had never spoken in tongues also were touched with the gift of the Holy Spirit." Our guide shared with Rev. Edwards that in 11 years of doing tours of the Upper Room she had never witnessed such an phenomenal outpouring of the spirit as this time. She mentioned truly this is a sign of the Last Days.
We all reconvened again at 2:00 p.m. at Independence Park near the Knesset, where buses from all over Israel were arriving.
(To be continued)
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