Unification News for December 2004
"My Five Personal Lessons Learned During the World Peace Pilgrimages"
Bill served as the Director of Communications & Logistics for the World Peace Pilgrimage which brought thousands of ambassadors for peace from 191 nations to the Middle East. He lived in Jerusalem from early July to late November 2004. Bill and his wife, Donna were blessed in Madison Square Garden in 1982.
I Kings 3:25-27: "And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof."
First, the Power of God. God is most definitely alive (and well), and He lives in the Holy Land. I use the word "Holy Land" intentionally. In developing the language for the banner, at first we printed "Israel," but that irritated our Palestinian friends. Then we used "Israel & Palestine," but that meant we were taking a stand, that we prefer a two state solution to the conflict. Our mission is to tear down walls, not add bricks to existing walls. Abrahamıs descendants should co-exist and co-harmonize, therefore the best answer is to say "Holy Land."
Remember in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," when talking about the Ark of the Covenant, they said it was a radio to God. Thatıs what everyone unanimously feels when they come to the Holy Land. The power of God can be felt in the historic sites and archeological ruins, the Western Wall, the Al Aksa Mosque, etc. God is here, and Heıs just waiting to talk to us.
Some of the historic sites are controversial, for example, they donıt know precisely where Jesus was crucified, but it really doesnıt matter because for hundreds of years faithful pilgrims have shed tears, prayed, and experienced miracles at these sites, so all the sites are overflowing with holy spirit!
Second, the Power Struggle between God & Satan. Traditionally, the West deals with problems in two ways money and military, and the quicker the solution the better.
The Principle explains the problem in the Middle East not in political, economic, or military terms. The root cause is spiritual. Restoration has to take place between the descendants of Abraham, the two estranged half brothers.
Americans, in general, are inclined to support Israel, but when I got here, I discovered there exists another side of the story. The truth is that if you spend the day with an Israeli Jew, then after awhile, you would say, "You are right, the Arabs are wrong." And if you then spend the day with the Israeli Arabs, after awhile, you would say, "you are right, the Israeli Jews are wrong." The issues are very complex and both sides have legitimate grievances. Both sides are right AND both sides are wrong. There is so much emotion, and so much blood has been shed that neither side can see the issues clearly.
Theyıve forgotten whatıs the benchmark or the standard of right and wrong. For example, in the middle ear there is a delicate mechanism that allows us to maintain our balance. The first American into space was Alan Shephard in 1961. Two years later he had an accident in his own bathroom where he slipped, hit his head and upset the middle ear. He could no longer maintain his balance. Corrective surgery was needed. Just as our bodies need a balance mechanism, so does our mind and spirit. Presently, the Middle East has no such balance. Thatıs where the Divine Principle comes in. DP is the framework, and the only paradigm to make any sense out of the situation.
Third, the answer is reconciliation. On one level itıs very complicated but on another itıs very simple. Itıs complicated because on September 11, 2001, the descendants of Ishmael murdered over 3,000 Americans and people from over 80 other countries in the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
I got to know some Palestinians very well. One fellow in particular, Asaad from the travel agency, has 3 beautiful children. Everyday he has to drive them 1 hour to school not because the facility is far away, but because they have to pass through a check point. The Wall was constructed only 3 blocks from his home. Heıs angry as hell, he told me, but he and his wife try not to show it in front of the children. This is the parentsı heart. He doesnıt want them to grow up with resentment. They plan to relocate to Australia so the children can grow up without feeling like second-class citizens.
A new strategy of peace must emerge. We promote restoration, but restoration doesnıt mean compromise, indifference, or tolerance. Reconciliation is starting from scratch and re-creating.
I had an experience that brought that lesson home. There was one brother on the staff who frankly I had some difficulty with. His character was very prickly and difficult to work with. After a few weeks he was ready to go home. I said, "fine, Iıll drive you to the airport." But to my surprise, one of the leaders brought him on board as his assistant, and in the end, he did a great job. It was a total win-win situation. This is the meaning of reconciliation.
Once I dropped my concept about this brother, the wall that I myself had built, and viewed him from Godıs point of view, I "discovered" his value. This was the beginning of reconciliation. This is what the Arabs and the Jews have to do. They have to drop their concepts, tear down the wall, and see each other from Heavenıs point of view. The Arabs have to realize the Jews have value, and the Jews have to realize that the Arabs have value. This is reconciliation. Both cultures can offer enormous contributions for the betterment of the WHOLE society.
Itıs the classic King Solomon situation where two women claimed the same child. The King ordered the baby be cut in half. It was the true birth mother who gave up her claim so the baby might live no matter who got the credit as the mother. Whatıs important is not the survival of the Jewish culture or the Muslim culture or even the Christian culture. Whatıs important is the survival and prosperity of Godıs culture. Itıs time to let go.
Fourth, the power of True Love. News came of Pres. Arafatıs passing early Nov. 11. Our group drove to Ramallah (30-minutes from Jerusalem) and arrived midday, including: Rev. Michael Jenkins, Israel NM Dr. Masatoshi Abe, Africa Continental Director Rev. Sang Jin Lee, Antonio Betancourt, myself, the film crew, Philip Schanker, Simon Kinney and Peter Lewis, and photographer Ken Owens.
We were allowed to enter the central headquarters because we were guests of a member of the executive committee of the PLO and key advisor to the late President. His son was our guide. It was a difficult journey through a mass of people trying to get in. In total, more than a half a million people assembled and if it wasnıt for the fact that the check-point gates were closed by the Israelis, probably 2 million wouldıve been present which this place would have been impossible to accommodate.
Because Dr. Yang and Rev. Jenkins have invested so much love into our contacts we were allowed into the inner chambers. At the funeral, we passed through the receiving line and met the "whoıs who" of Palestine and Israel. We were even interviewed by a reporter from the New York Times! Rev. Jenkins told the report, "Weıre here to pray for the president, for the people of Palestine, for the Jewish people and for unity." He explained that the IIFWP was founded by Rev. & Mrs. Sun Myung Moon.
Out of the most wildest experience I couldıve imagined, an article appeared the next day in the NY Times quoting Rev. Jenkins. The U.S. administration and the entire world want access to the new Palestinian administration, yet heaven put us right smack on the front line and printed the story in the most widely read newspaper in the world!!
Under the most unexpected circumstances, we made heartistic contact with the interim president, the prime minister, and all of the leaders of the provisional government. We met all the patriarchs of the different Christian religions in Jerusalem. Many were crying and sobbing. There was one European government official who cried openly on Antonioıs shoulders.
We really didnıt have credentials like the ambassadors or government ministers, but what we did have was a heartistic connection and bond with Pres. Arafat and his people. It was through the power of true love that the doors opened wide.
Fifth, the power of a kiss. In Ramallah with guns blasting, I watched Rev. Jenkins and Antonio open doors and pass guards by smiling and embracing each one with a kiss. Middle Eastern men kiss each other on the cheeks several times. It is the great equalizer between an ordinary taxi driver and an educated statesmen. The guards never questioned us. How could you doubt someone who comes up and kisses you on both cheeks? When Jacob offered up all his possessions to Esau, surely his brotherıs heart was touched, but what really won his soul was his total unconditional love. With Rev. Jenkins and Antonio leading the way, I just followed along kissing everyone one by one.
Conclusion: Father gave direction for each continent to send high-level delegations to the Holy Land, and upon the successful completion of that condition, the president of Palestine was invited into the spirit world and given the mission as, "Spiritual Ambassador for Peace." As weıve heard Father say, "America belongs to the one who loves it the most." Itıs the same with the Holy Land. If we continue to bring our best contacts, the ambassadors for peace, if we show the Jews and Palestinians that we unconditionally love this land beyond politics, race, and religion, then heaven will work and ultimately bring peace to the Holy Land.
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