Unification News for November 2004
World Peace Pilgrimage XIII: Greetings from Jerusalem
by Rev. Michael Jenkins
As a result of True Parentsı 4-city tour, the 2 million blessing campaign, and the other educational activities that True Parents initiated in America, we saw the atmosphere and the focus change to the family and moral values in recent weeks. Likewise the same phenomenon is occurring in the Middle East, where we are witnessing unprecedented changes in attitudes toward making a new beginning. Our World Peace Pilgrimage, which has representatives from 23 African nations as well as Oceania and Middle Eastern countries, is here in the Holy City at a most important time. Almost one third of the African delegation is comprised of members of Parliament from countries that include the Ivory Coast, Benin, Chad, Sao Tome, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, and many more. Along with this delegation are also prestigious Christian and Muslim religious leaders.
One African participant is the central leader of Islam for his nation. He has expressed profound gratitude and excitement that Father Moon and this movement have built such a strong bridge between the Abrahamic faiths that he felt an overwhelming sense of welcome from Jewish and Christian leaders for the first time in his life. Christian-Muslim rivalry in his country and many other areas of Africa is very serious and must be solved. He expressed that he felt hope that these will be solved through these pilgrimages because Father Moon has become a true father and true friend to the top leaders of Islam, as well as to the Muslim people of the Holy Land.
A small delegation went into the Gaza strip today, meeting with key leaders who are right at the center of pulling all the factions together to discuss the possibility of a new beginning. Unprecedented cooperation and open-mindedness are being exhibited at this time. Much of this is due to the fact that there is a universal reverence for their leader, who is at this very moment fighting for his life. This battle is also causing very cautious steps to be taken by both Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Though there has been a spirit of enmity for so long, there is also a deeper desire that the bloodshed and suffering of all people will be ended.
Truly, my brothers and sisters, God has placed us at the central point of bringing reconciliation. Fatherıs teaching about the Interreligious Council is a direct parallel to the fundamental perspective that is being promoted by the president that only faith-based initiatives can truly and effectively address the problems of the family. The unofficial NGOs and faith-based initiatives set in motion by the 141 nations that have come to the Holy Land are profoundly opening up channels of communication and bonds of friendship between the members of this broken family, the family of Ishmael and Isaac. Clearly only a faith-based approach can provide hope in that it does not carry with it the stigma of politics and governmental programs, which, in the Middle East, can rapidly deteriorate into a freeze in all communications and relationships. A faith-based approach keeps all doors open because the fundamental understanding is that no matter who we approach or who we are dealing with, all can be healed and all can be reconciled. Therefore, no channels of communication should be shut down.
God is working through Fatherıs vision that the Middle East Peace Initiative will play a central role in bringing peace not only to the Middle East but also in helping America to fulfill its role as the elder son nation, standing as a true elder brother to all the nations of the world, with a parental heart and an impartial mind toward all brothers and sisters in the family. We are seeing doors open that we cannot believe are opening. We are communicating this message just moments after we left the Gaza strip, having met with key leaders that really hold in their hands the balance of whether peace will be forthcoming or whether conflict will continue. Not only in Gaza but in Ramallah and Jerusalem, we have met the key leaders; they are people of faith who are seriously discussing Father Moonıs perspective of how peace can be achieved.
There must be a synthesis and a synergy between the faith component and the political component. Neither one can dominate the other; each must have its proper role. But the component of faith transcends the realm of conflict over material things and reaches into the root cause of conflict, which is the separation and pain and injury thatıs done when people violate one another because of prejudice, discrimination, hatred, or focus on self-interest.
A new day is dawning in the Middle East. We believe that this light will also shine through America and be magnified to the whole world. We can envision the day soon when we will see North and South Korea reconciling with one another. The day has already come in which Muslims, Christians and Jews are reconciling. First it was in a quiet way among key leaders that God has chosen, but soon the day is coming when the whole family will know that their fathers have turned their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. This day is not coming. It has already come.
Every single religious leader and key political leader who is connecting with Father now is gaining great momentum and courage to reach out beyond the boundaries of their faith, race and culture to embrace their brothers and sisters as members of the family of God.
Dr. Betancourt is playing a central role here in this educational process. Religious leaders from over 141 nations have visited the Middle East. True Father has commissioned another wave of pilgrimages in which more members of parliament and more religious leaders from every nation will come, allowing their nationıs gifts and special character to contribute to peace in the Holy Land. This is truly the day that the Lord has made. We look forward to returning to America with a faithful report, just as Joshua and Caleb did 3,000 years ago. The land of milk and honey can and will be secured for all of Godıs children, the new chosen people of the Fourth Israel, the children of Abraham, and all the children of Godıs family.
There are many tensions and dangers at this time. However, God's people are coming together. Recently we had a breakthrough with a large number of Jewish brothers and sisters at the Bridge of Peace program. God is working.
The reception of the African members of Parliament and religious leaders as we prayed at the Western Wall today was overwhelming. Tomorrow we go to Al Aqsa mosque. The imams are playing the central role now . Against tremendous political pressures, the imams are strictly supporting and following the Koran. We are very close to these imams. We have bonded in heart. So have many key rabbis.
Father Hatoum is opening door after door of the Christian leadership here. God is working. Hearts are opening because, here in the Holy Land, if you are not for real, you will perish.
Ee went to Bethany. Jews, Muslims, and Christians, including many Muslims and Christians from Africa, prayed at the dividing wall between Palestine and Israel. The Palestinians were comforted by the spirit of Africans from 23 nations coming to pray for peace. Dr. Glaubach, who demonstrated tremendous courage, openly said that the wall will not bring peace. If we find God and love each other, we don't need walls. If we can end the bloodshed and violence, then there will be no possibility of any walls. He said the wall will not bring peace. We must come together and really meet each other heart to heart. He was serious. This was an amazing moment. Never before had such a prominent citizen of Israel come to this area of the Palestinian people. He had no fear and he spoke with love - for all people. Many African members of parliament spoke about the intense conflicts in Africa, yet they still felt that coming to the Holy Land was more urgent. If we can heal the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish families here, we can heal them all over Africa and the world.
The Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Zambia, Sao Tome, Chad, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Congo and many, many other nations are represented here by highly educated, spiritually mature leaders. Rev. Lee, Rev. Wakhisi and Rev. Kililo should be commended. The Ambassadors for Peace from Africa have great power. They are touching the hearts of the suffering Jewish and Palestinian brothers and sisters.
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