Articles From the December 1994 Unification News
A True Parents' Thanksgiving at East Garden
Dr. Tyler O. Hendricks-NYC
This year saw the celebration of Thanksgivings east and west at the East Garden conference center. In August there was the celebration of chusok, the traditional autumn festival of Korea. Then on November 24 approximately 120 members from the New York area gathered again for the celebration of the American-style Thanksgiving, topped off with Reverend and Mrs. Moon each carving a turkey. We had the traditional fare of turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, and on to the pumpkin pies.
Reverend Moon has always honored Thanksgiving as the event representing the suffering and victory of the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In his earliest public speeches in America, 1972-74, Reverend Moon lauded the Pilgrims for their vision of building a righteous community of true faith in the new world. He compared them with Abraham of the Old Testament, being called out of their homeland for the sake of God's providence, crossing the troubled sea at the risk of their lives, and then enduring a bitter winter, saving their seeds for the spring planting even as dozens were dying. Virtually every family lost one or more of its members during that winter, as they had no shelter to protect them against the frigid New England weather. In the early 1970s, while most Americans were criticizing the government and the "sexual revolution" was in full swing, Reverend Moon called Americans to honor this heritage, and to revive the tradition of sacrifice for the future. In this sense, he has as much, if not more, right to celebrate Thanksgiving as any native-born American.
His words of praise for the Pilgrims and Puritans of New England, however, were tempered by a providential perspective. Their taking of dominion in the new world came at the price of the destruction of the Indian way of life and tribal societies, as well as countless thousands of Indian lives. The only way to redeem this sacrifice is to see it as a necessary, if tragic, aspect of God's providence for the sake of saving all mankind. If Americans today fail to live up to this historical destiny, the guilt of this destruction will be visited upon us.
Such theological reflections, however, we none in evidence this Thanksgiving, but rather it was a family occasion, as it is throughout America, but instead of football on television we celebrated with international singing of songs well into the night, until the moment True Parents wished us all good health on our ways home.
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