Unification News for September 2004
Peace Ambassadors to the Holy Land
by Rev. Michael Jenkins
The pilgrimage is a historic journey of the heart. While the violence rages on both sides (Buses were bombed in Beer Sheva last week and major attacks are going on in the Gaza Strip), our Peace Ambassadors are opening doors in each and every city they go to. From Ramallah to Jerusalem we go back and forth and the doors are opening. Yesterday we went to Jericho, where Joshua brought the walls down not with violence but with the unity of God's people. Then later in the day we went to the Wall that is being erected between Palestine and Israel. We could feel the power of God that is working to remove the need for such walls.
If we heal the hearts of the people, why would we need a wall? Standing before the wall is a serious experience. We feel the hope as we are making so much progress with the Jews, Christians and Muslims that the walls will come down as they did in Jericho. The same God that was in Jericho is now with us in Jerusalem. Rather than twelve tribes uniting, it is now the three Abahamic faiths and the 7 former enemy nations. This is a profound and most important time in history. We felt yesterday a special power. We sang with Dr. Ian Hall, Professor of Music at Oxford, about Joshua and how the walls came down. If the people of God unite in love, we can heal the heart of the pain between Abraham's family, and the violence can be transformed. Sheikh Sajid from England is a profound soul who is one of the most prominent sheikhs (imams) in Great Britain. He shared with us that if anger is not transformed it is transferred, if hate is not transformed it will be transferred, if violence is not transformed it will be transferred. We must set the condition to transform the hearts of our Jewish and Muslims and Christian brothers and sisters as well as ourselves.
We must go to a new level of heart--the revolution of heart in which we feel God's love and the heart to comfort God.
Today, our European ambassadors went to Nazareth, and Father Hatoum and Sheikh Manasra (the Muslim leader who signed the Jerusalem Declaration) addressed our body. All were inspired to see such a strong and clear Muslim leader speak from the Koran that we must love each other. He quoted the verse saying that if you harm someone with even half a sentence that hurts, then you will be greatly punished by Allah. He then gave a profound call to support Father Moon as someone sent by God.
The main newspaper in Nazareth has printed three stories about us. One was on our Heart to Heart March last month, then Lord Ahmed's visit as an Ambassador for Peace, and today a full-page article will come out. The impact in the cities and villages of Israel is now gaining momentum.
Also, several Jewish organizations are beginning to trust us. On Sunday morning we will have a prayer of repentance at Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum). This is being advised and guided by our rabbis here. Already people are talking about it. It is very serious. We are going through an education recommended by the rabbis in order to understand the roots of the Holocaust.
We are going to have "Culture of Peace" evening at the "Lincoln Center" of Israel. Based on the blessing of having as an Ambassador for Peace Dr. Ian Hall (Professor of Music at Oxford University and Conductor of the BBC Orchestra and many more world class events) we are going to have a night empasizing a "Culture of Peace" through the performing arts. We will have reconciliation there on a new foundation, guided by Mr. David Eaton and Dr. Hall. This has opened up an incredible new relationship with the Jewish community.
The Women's Federation for World Peace of Israel is working with their European and American counterparts to bring a new level of impact to the powerful experience of the Bridge of Peace ceremony. This time it is going to be done overlooking the city from the Promenade, which is a breathtaking view of the Dome of the Rock and the whole city of Jerusalem. We are praying seriously that the most important Jewish and Palestinian women will cross the bridge together. Please pray that the mothers' hearts will have huge impact in healing the family of Abraham.
This is the power of God unfolding and the work of the Peace Kingdom. Incredible sacrifices are being made, but when we see the suffering of the Jewish and Palestinian families here and the immense tension that pervades in an environment of uncertainty and fear, our sacrifice is nothing. Through our sacrifice, hope is filling the hearts of the people.
Father Hatoum explained (in a beautiful form of English with an Arabic accent) that Father Moon is"doing the peace." While others are "talking," Father Moon is "doing." Because he is doing it "we (the people of the Holy Land) are all feeling pushed to sacrifice ourselves to push peace forward."
Father Hatoum shared with us a dream he had during the December pilgrimage. At 2:00 in the morning he had a dream of Rev. Moon appearing to him and saying, "How can you sleep when all these people are here from many countries trying to help you achieve peace?" Suddenly he woke up. He couldn't sleep. He was deeply moved. He drove two and a half hours to Jerusalem and made it for the 5:00 am prayer. He came with such an inspiration and confidence. Father Moon "Does the peace."
** Candlelight Vigil Commemorating September 11
Three doves symbolizing peace were released at the climax of the September 11 vigil in Jerusalem's Independence Park, but one kept returning to the hands of people who believe that the solution to violence comes from God.
Eleven hundred people from 41 nations came to the World Peace Pilgrimage in the Holy Land believing that"it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." That was how Archbishop G. Augustus Stallings, Jr., co-convenor of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, introduced the candlelight vigil.
As darkness settled in and the Holy City emerged from its Sabbath rest, first one drum and then another established the rhythm for the vigil. Then Native American leaders joined their voices calling upon all humanity and all creation to spread the desire for peace throughout the universe.
"I greet you in the name of the one God of humanity-- the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--the God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam," Rev. Michael Jenkins proclaimed. "At this serious moment in history, we offer our condolences and prayers for those who lost their loved one in the 9/11 attacks in the U.S, as well as those innocent victims of violence in Russia, Israel, Palestinian Terrotories. We offer our condolences for those who lost their lives in the war in Iraq, and for the loss of innocent lives around the world."
Prayers and music set the solemn tone for the vigil across from the U.S. Consulate. Imam Haitham Bundakji, of of the Islamic Society of Orange County, California, referred to the 19 terrorists who led planes into buildings three years ago. "But they did not do this in my name or the name of Islam," he added. "We condemn that attack and all forms of terrorism. Osama Bin Laden, did you read the same Qur'an as I read? I call on George W. Bush not to hold 1 billion Muslims around the world responsible for eterrorism. Let's secure skies, land and seas, but not by attacking countries. I call upon Rev. and Mrs. Moon, king and queen of peace, to bring solutions. As a Muslim leader I extend my condolences to the families affected by violence on 9/11, in Russia and Iraq."
Vigil participants included representatives of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories. "The United States has been considered the world's most powerful country, but it does not have the strength to solve the problems of the world," Rev. Jenkins continued."Politics cannot resolve the problems of tehhuman heart. The essence of the struggle in the Middle East is rooted in separation from God. That's why the voice of religion is needed."
Since the 9/11 attacks, some people say that there is no way for Muslims, Christians and Jews to work together. But the American Clergy Leadership Conference focused on verses in the Holy Scriptures and the Qur'an that say we must respect each other.
"Peace will come not by might or power, but by God's spirit," said Rev. Jenkins, quoting the Biblical prophet Jeremiah. Professor Ian Hall from Oxford University in England, chanted the words of the poem ofJohn Donne, "Will thou forgive?"
The brisk breeze blew out many candles, but people kept relighting theirs from neighboring candles. Dr. Shuki Ben Ami, Director of the Emil Frank Institute in Jerusalem, brought smudge and a peace pipe to share with the Native American's, who stayed around after the vigil dispersed to continue their songs and chants for peace.
** Yad Vashem ceremony
"God's first love was Israel," Rev. Michael W. Jenkins announced to a hall of 1100 participants in the World Peace Pilgrimage in Jerusalem on September 12, 2004.
People came from Europe, Eurasia and North America to set conditions of reconciliation among people of different races, religions, nationalities and cultures. Rev. Jenkins reviewed the process of reconciliationt that began with 120 Christian ministers taking down their crosses and reaching out to rabbis in a mutual repentance and forgiveness on May 23, 2003, in the same room of the Jerusalem Hyatt Regency Hotel where the World Peace Pilgrimage was assembling. This continued with a ceremony on December 22, in which key Jewish leaders offered a crown to Jesus in Jerusalem's Independence Park, where the 9/11 candlelight peace vigil was held the night before.
"How many does it take to be faithful?" Rev. Jenkins asked. "One." God told Moses that if one person kept the law and was faithful to the tabernacle, God would continue to bless the people of Israel.
Hundreds of people decided to come on this pilgrimage to help turn the world in a direction of peace. "It's a matter of decision-makers," Dr. Eliezer Glaubach, four-term member of the Jerusalem City Council, stated. "We have a problem of decision-makers in both nations. We are politically weak and not spiritually strong."
Yad Vashem is a holocaust remembrance institute. It represents what the Nazis did against the European Jews. "Hitler developed the principle that the Aryan race is the superior race int he world," Dr. Glaubach continued. "That is why they carried out what they did. They killed not only Jews but handicapped people, the mentally ill, gypsies, etc. All over the world they tried to plan the same thing."
He paused and added, "I personally have acquaintaince with what happened in Europe. We as Jews in Jerusalem and all you precious brothers and sisters are going together to Yad Vashem to reconcile, with the motto of repentance and forgiveness. It doesn't work one-sided."
Dr. Glaubach and Dr. Andrew Wilson, a Jewish professor at Unification Theological Seminary, had been engaged in serios discussion since Dr. Wilson's arrival in Jerusalem on the previous morning. "Reconciliation can only come through repentance and forgiveness," reported Dr. Glaubach about the conclusion of their discussions. "It is not easy to forgive, but when we receive repentance and offer forgiveness, we can have a united world in the future."
Dr. Wilson told the members of the World Peace Mission, "After the holocaust, many people doubted the existence of God. The holocaust was the cause of the state of Israel. The survivors came to Israel. However, if Christians and Jews were united in the 1920's and 1930's, the holocaust would not have happened." He talked about the boat-load of 900 European Jewish refugees who had arrived at the coast of the United States and were turned away by President Roosevelt. They were also turned away in South America. The refugees returned to Europe and perished in the Holocaust.
"Israel has a particular history," Dr. Wilson continued. "Jews felt alone and insecure. Jews learned through history that they can depend on no one. Roosevelt knew by 1942 what was going on, but he did nothing. Teh Jewish pain and sense of aloneness leads to this response to terrorism. It leads to building the wall. Suicide bombings are horrible. Israel was attacked by Arab states in 1945, 1967 and 1973. They felt their existence was at stake. Defensiveness and isolation led to this response."
Members of the World Peace Mission were told that at Yad Vashem they would find the memorials to the righteous gentiles, those who risked their lives to save Jews from death. But some of the six million dead are trapped in the spirit world and cannot forgive those who killed them.
"We reflect on so many sad histories in coming here," Rev. Jenkins explained. One hundred million people lost their lives in China. So many died under Stalin. Our black family has endured unspeakable suffering, which continues today. Our Native Americans have suffered so much, and a group of their leaders are with us today."
The continental representatives of the World Peace Mission come on the foundation of the August 20 ceremony of total grace which True Parents held in Korea. "God set the condition to cover us," Rev. Jenkins explianed. "We are no longer under the curse. Therefore, remove and wash away from your heart any sense of discrimination or superiority. Let's wash away the stains of history. How many times have the American Indians stood up to offer the peace pipe and then have been betrayed. We will not betray you! We will not betray you! Let's wash away hsitory's stain and bring the light of God."
Dr. Antonio Betancourt, Secretary-General of the World Peace Pilgrimage, urged participants to love their enemy. "To love your enemy is like dying," he explained. "Today, let's let the part of us that hates die."
Dr. Chang Shik Yang, who was commissioned by True Parents to lead the continental World Peace Pilgrimages, expressed gratitude for the many ambassadors for peace and clergy who came for thsi historic mission. "Together we will build the substantial foundation for the eternal Kingdom of God on earth," he concluded.
** Heart to Heart Peace Walk
Father Hatoum drove to Jerusalem from Nazareth to speak to us, as he does for every peace mission. "We do the peace," the Greek Melkite priest affirmed after the hoon dok hae reading. Towering above the podium in his black robe, he called out: "We push the peace." He told how Father appeared to him in his dream last year and woke him up saying, "These people come here to do the peace for you and you sleep?" Father Hatoum is not a man of mere words. For him, action is important. "Rev. Moon does the peace," he told us. "We are happy to see you come here. You push the spirit world. You push each of us to do this. We have changed here. We are very happy. We thank you."
Rev. Michael Jenkins then introduced Bishop Ki Hun Kim, who remarked that hoon dok hae is not just a family church tradition, but many pastors and religious leaders are joining in. "Without brothers and sisters, we cannot do so much for the sake of world peace," he continued. "Based on the foundation of the previous seven pilgrimages, we are able to go to more and more places." Bishop Kim expressed appreciation for the Dutch family for organizing a city tour for the Chicago delegation, which had a 12-hour layover in Amsterdam enroute to Jerusalem.
Rev. Song, the European continental leader, told how Father came to New Zealand on a speaking tour, when he was assigned as a leader there. Father had been speaking from 9:00 pm to 4:30 am to the members, took a break for pledge, and then spoke until 6:30 am, leaving for the airport and the next leg of his speaking tour without eating breakfast. To Rev. Song he commented, "If you live like this, nothing is impossible." Rev. Song reported that every time he thinks of Father he recalls his commitment to a life of chong song. "Sodom and Gomorrah perished not because of the people's corruption, but because God could not find five righteous people," Rev. Song concluded. "That number 5 is expanded to the 500 members of each continental delegation. So if each continent has 500 righteous people, they can be saved." He expressed appreciation to the Europeans and North Americans for fulfilling that number.
Karen Smith, who heads the UN office for the International and Interreligious Federation for World Peace, had recently arrived in the Holy Land. "The United Nations is something Father knew he was to be involved in since his early life," she said. Christianity, like the UN, was prepared to receive the Messiah on the global level. Father speaks of the UN and its providential role. However, it has not been able to comprehend Father and receive him."
She reviewed last year's campaign to distribute the messages from spirit world to the UN delegates. Many on the pilgrimage had participated in that effort. "It's not normal for groups to hold a world peace Blessing in a UN room," she observed, "just as it's not normal for members of a UN mission to receive spirit world messages." She paid tribute to the Japanese women who are building a foundation of heart through their years of sacrificial love and devotion to the representatives of the community of the world's nations. Mrs. Smith also explained that no other NGO has the capacity to mobilize people from 160 nations to come to Jerusalem to work for the cause of peace, and the world community is taking notice. "The real way to effect change is not through the UN officials but through influencing people in your own countries," she concluded. "Sometimes we all feel very small, but do not underestimate the collective power of your sacrifice and investment."
The final commentator of the morning was Dr. Frank Kaufmann, head of the interreligious work of the IIFWP. "The most important thing I have learned is the phenomenal genius of Father Moon," he told the assembly of religious leaders, ambassadors for peace, and Family Federation members. "Is there anyone here who does not originate from the MIddle East?" Quite a few people raised their hands, but Dr. Kaufmann described a Christian minister from Samoa who had come on the World Peace Pilgrimage from Oceania and continued: "Did one of the steps Jesus took have enough pain on it to reach Samoa? Who can say what the steps you tread today might contain? This dispensation of Father is spawning rebirth. We don't have a lot of time to spend in this holy place, but this is where God has dreamed, wept and hoped for us."
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