Unification News for February 2000
The Early Blessings
by Linna Rapkins
In Korea, it wasn’t unusual for young people to be matched by their parents, but it was unusual to be matched by their teacher and spiritual master, and for all of them to be married in the same ceremony was unheard of.
Of course, the news soon got out. Once again, all those critical, negative people from the newspapers came knocking on the door.
"We heard about a group wedding," they asked none too politely. "Is this true? What’s going on?"
"Please don’t bother us," answered the members. "This is a private affair, and we don’t really want any publicity."
But they wouldn’t go away. To make matters worse, the parents of the couples heard about it, too, and they came pounding on the door. Most of these parents were very critical of Father.
"Moon took my child away. He made her drop out of school. He ruined her life." They always talked this way, accusing, accusing.
As they demanded information, their voices became louder and more shrill, "Is it true? Is my child to marry someone chosen by this crazy man? Talk to me!"
Mr. Eu and others tried to explain things to them. "Yes, your daughter will be married. Yes, your son has been matched with so-and-so. Sorry, we are not inviting outside people to this wedding."
"OUTSIDE PEOPLE?" they shouted in rage. "Do you call mothers and fathers outside people? Let my child come and talk to me in person!"
"Bang! Bang! Bang!" Their fists continued to beat upon the doors.
"Alright," answered Mr. Eu. "We’ll try to find your sons and daughters. Hold on." And off they went.
Some of the sons and daughters were out. Others sent back messages. "I don’t want to see you because you are so angry. I’m afraid you will try to drag me away."
Or "You disowned me when I joined the church, so now you are not welcome at my wedding."
Some parents gave up at that point, but it only made others more angry and more determined. They remained in the courtyard, clamoring for attention. Some yelled nasty words, and some even threw garbage at the door. "We’re calling the police." they threatened. "And we’ll interrupt your ceremony if you don’t listen."
The newspapers wrote their stories. "Church members forced to marry. Parents banned from their own child’s wedding." By this time, practically everyone in Seoul had heard about it.
Some of the daughters and sons did speak with their parents.
"Please, let me come to your wedding," those parents begged. "We are hurt that you joined such a group and didn’t let us select your mate for you, but we still want to be there for your wedding."
"Well, it’s kind of difficult for you to attend, because we don’t have room for all the parents," their daughter or son would answer. "Besides, no one can be admitted unless they are wearing all white clothes."
Meanwhile, the police had decided to investigate the strange events at the Chongpadong Church. They began calling for Teacher Moon. Father talked with them, but they didn’t seem to be satisfied. They apparently planned to continue harassing Father. And every day they did.
The morning of May 15, 1961, arrived. The members gathered in the main meeting room of the Chongpadong Church wearing their white robes. Suddenly, the doors opened and in walked several parents—all dressed in white! They had managed to find white clothes. No one asked them to leave.
The ceremony began with the first twelve couples walking in together. Amidst the noise of the shouting people outside, they walked slowly toward the front, taking seven steps and bowing, taking seven more steps and bowing, and then taking seven final steps and bowing in front of True Parents. They were concentrating on walking through three periods of history—the Old Testament Age, the New Testament Age, and the Completed Testament Age. Father and Mother sprinkled them with holy water, and Father blessed them in marriage.
They had to hurry through the ceremony, because the noise outside was getting louder. The feeling in the air was heavy—like something was pushing down on them and preventing them from moving. Then policemen opened the door and told Father to come along.
"Everyone just wait until I return," instructed Father. He changed into street clothes and went off to the station for some questioning.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Father returned. "Quickly, quickly," he said. "We must finish the ceremony."
The second group came in and was blessed, followed by the third group. It still felt like a chaotic day, but gradually the shouting and rude activity around the building quieted down.
During the celebration meal, everyone had a chance to relax a little, and to sing and be entertained. Finally, it felt more like a wedding.
These were the couples who would represent True Parent’s family and protect them—the foundation couples, they were called.
The 72 Couples are Blessed
Another whole year flew by. The church members were so busy, they almost forgot time. They hardly noticed how quickly the hot summer and the cold, cold winter passed by. Now it was spring again—spring of 1962.
When Father announced another blessing, it came once again as a total surprise. You would think, by this time, they would have been expecting it. But no! They had taken it for granted that there would be only 36 couples blessed. Surely, everyone else would be blessed in spirit world when there was more time for such things.
Now a blessing was coming for some of them, too. Quickly, they tried to prepare their hearts. Father said, "You should be willing to be blessed with anyone I choose for you. Don’t worry about how good-looking or how nice your husband or wife might be. These things are not so important. Maybe I will match the most handsome man with the least attractive woman. It wouldn’t be good for your children to have two ugly parents, would it? You should think only about how you look to God."
A big flurry of activities began. Hundreds of men and women were called to be interviewed by Father. By the time he had finished, there were 72 couples matched, exactly twice as many as the 36 couples.
There was the same pattern of matchings, indemnity conditions, wine ceremony, and preparations for the wedding ceremony.
"Again, the men will wear robes," said Father, "and the women will wear new white chima chogoris."
Then he turned to the wives from the 36 couples and added an unexpected direction. "You women all had long lace veils at your blessing, and I told you to save them. Now, I want you to bring them to the church, and we will cut them in half and make new short veils for these 72 brides. It will be a great honor for them to be able to wear the veils of their elder sisters."
The now traditional national flags were hung from the ceiling and beautifully painted scenery and signs mounted on the walls.
The day of the wedding arrived—June 4, 1962. This ceremony was quieter and more joyous than the last one. At the same time, there was a deep feeling of seriousness. Much of the room was filled with the brides and grooms, and many guests had to stand outside, peering through the open windows.
Once again, Father and Mother sprinkled each couple with holy water and blessed them in marriage. In his prayer, the couples could really feel how much Father cared for them.
". . . Father," he said, "their fathers and mothers did not receive them. Their intimate friends turned away from them. Their whole society despised them. Fellow Christians condemned them. . . . However, you have raised them up and led them with your most loving care. . . . I now dedicate these 72 couples to You, Father. With them I will lay a foundation and make a new start. If you wish us to endure more suffering, we shall do so. We are determined. . . . I am now closing this ceremony. Father, remember this day, June 4, 1962. Please liberate all angels, the 24 elders and all saints, and let them sing and dance with joy because of this day. Amen"
As they followed the ceremony with a nice meal, the couples had dual feelings. They felt the heavy responsibility that had been placed upon their shoulders, but they also felt the joy of Heavenly Father as he sang and danced with them at their wedding.
The 124 Are Blessed
Six months after the Blessing of the 72 couples came the new year—1963. There was no God’s Day yet, so Father gave a New Year’s Day speech.
"The past three years were especially difficult," he said to the members. "I’m sorry you had to suffer so much, but because of your suffering we were able to achieve many things. For the next four years we will have the same motto—'Let us be victorious rulers.’ Do you know how to be victorious? As you already know, it is usually by suffering. You have to experience the same things I did. That’s the only way your heart can become like mine."
"Last year I gave prizes to one man and three women among the blessed couples who were especially good examples. They will open the way for the first generation. All of you are the first generation. So it is very important for you to unite with those who received the prize. Then you will do well, also."
"Now, I have an announcement to make," he said. "This year, I want to bless approximately 120 couples who are pure and dedicated people who were never married before."
Their eyes opened wide in surprise. Would he never cease to amaze them? 120 couples! That’s 240 people! Just think of the size of such a wedding! Nothing like it has ever been attempted. The last wedding was crowded. Where will he put 120 couples?
Their attention was brought back to Father as he continued, "Because there are around 70 nations in the United Nations," he said, "I could only bless 72 couples last year. Because they still don’t have 120 nations, I will just match and engage 120 couples for now. Later, the blessing itself will take place."
Thus, the beginning of 1963 began with a matching. There were 124 couples matched this time—120 plus 4. Only when the actual wedding date was announced almost six months later did they begin the preparations for the ceremony.
The wedding robes were sewn by the women of the church. Decorations, food and refreshments were prepared. This time the newly built civic auditorium in Seoul was rented for the occasion. Everyone would be able to see the wedding—the members, their parents, and other guests.
On June 24, 1963 (by the solar calendar), the 124 couples put on their white gowns. Hundreds of people were arriving at the big auditorium, and this time it was a much more polite and interested crowd. Police were outside in case too many people tried to push their way in.
Mr. Eu opened the ceremonies. "Ladies and gentlemen," he said to the 3500 people in the audience. "I welcome you all to this great occasion. I will begin by explaining a little about the history of our church and the meaning of this wedding."
He talked to them for about 30 minutes. Then Father and Mother entered and proceeded to the stage, dressed in their white robes and shining crowns. Most of the members had never seen them like this before. The audience was dazzled. Two little girls followed after them, carrying two bowls of perfumed holy water.
Next, came the 124 couples, and each couple walked by True Parents to be sprinkled with holy water. Then they lined up in the middle with twenty-four couples from the earlier blessings standing on either side. Father asked four questions of the couples.
"Do you promise to take responsibility for any thing you do that is not God’s will?"
Everyone shouted in unison, "NE!"
"Do you promise to be faithful to God and obey His will?"
"Do you promise to become true forefathers worthy of respect?"
"Do you promise to become victors over Satan and bear yourselves in dignity as lords of creation?"
After Father’s prayer, gifts were exchanged. Each groom gave his bride a golden ring, and each bride gave her groom a seal with his name on it.
Father pronounced them married as husband and wife before God. He didn’t say, "Til death do you part." Instead, he said "for eternity."
One couple gave a wreath of flowers to True Father and True Mother. This was followed by speeches of congratulations from two government officials. Then telegrams were read from church members from around the world—29 from Korea, 22 from Japan, 8 from America, and 2 from West Germany.
After True Parents left the room, Mr. Eu greeted the audience once again, "We are very happy you could be here today. Now, the couples will go on a tour of Seoul. We invite you to stay for refreshments and when the couples return you will be able to talk with them. We also invite you to return for entertainment this evening."
Outside, cars were waiting for True Parents, their children, the older couples, and the 124 couples. Soon, a caravan of 150 cars, complete with police escort, drove through the streets of Seoul. They waved to the people who had come out to see them. Everyone in Seoul, it seemed, had heard about the wedding.
When they returned to the auditorium, there were many greetings and bows and hugs.
"Now that I’ve seen it, I wish I could have been married this way," said one parent.
"This Teacher Moon must be pretty special to be able to marry so many couples," said another. "This is his fourth wedding. And their marriages seem to be turning out better than the ones we parents arrange."
"True," agreed others, "They really take their marriages seriously."
The day ended with entertainment. The children of the church sang and danced. The Korean symphony orchestra performed. In conclusion, the telegrams from around the world were read once again. The celebrations closed with three loud cheers, "Long live the brides and grooms! Long live the brides and grooms! Long live the brides and grooms!" Even people outside could hear the shouts and feel the excitement.
These couples had gone through cold, hunger, and ridicule. They had given their blood, sweat and tears for heaven. But today they could celebrate victory with heaven!
Father explained to the 124 couples, "Your blessings are all very important. The 36 couples represent the first generation, the 72 couples represent the second generation, and the 124 couples represent the third generation. I need all three blessings to protect my family. Do you realize how important you are? Please pledge to take on this responsibility."
The couples so pledged.
"There’s more," said Father. "Try to understand that you also represent the world. The blessing of the 36 couples made it possible to set spirit world free. The 72 couples represent the races and nations, and they made a foundation to save Korea. The 124 couples represent the family, nation and world. Do you think you understand all this?"
"Yes, Sonseng-nim," they responded.
"Furthermore," he continued , "you are spiritual children in the position of Cain. You must try really hard to make unity with my own children—care for them, pray for them, love them, protect them. Ye Jin-nim and Hyo Jin-nim have been born. There will be more. Can you take responsibility for them?"
"Ne," they answered. "Che-son-ul, Ta Ha Gae sumnida." (We will try our best.)
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