Articles From the September 1995 Unification News
In Memoriam Richard Quebedeux
The following is the text of remarks delivered by Dr. Michael Mickler at the close of Dr. Quebedeaux's Sung Hwa Ceremony in Tokyo, Japan. At this point, in accordance with Japanese tradition, Dr. Mickler was asked to address Dr. Quebedeax's spirit directly in farewell remarks intended to sum up his life. Dr. Quebedeux suffered a diabetes-related attack and went into ten-day coma, passing into the spiritual world on July 4, 1995. He is the first Westerner and first non-Japanese to be buried in the Unification Church's Won Jeun (cemetery) site in Japan.
Richard, we are gathered here to rejoice in your ascension into Heaven, into the spiritual world. The many messages from the highest leaders in the Unification Movement attest to your victorious life and the way you have opened for others to follow.
Through all your life, from a very young age, we can see the power of Heaven working. From your birth in Los Angeles which you considered "very important" due to the different kinds of religions there, Heaven moved in your family as your parents became increasingly zealous Christians, going on overseas mission, serving the urban poor, and embracing the Holy Spirit. You were active in their church as a youth leader. However, at the same time, you were highly educated in the best schools - UCLA, Harvard, Oxford - and this created a conflict in you between the way of religion and the way of the modern secular world. Much of your life during that early formative period was spent trying to resolve this dilemma and to discover true Christianity. Most importantly, you made the conscious decision to be a Christian and to commit yourself to Christ.
For this purpose you undertook your writing career and early ministry. This stage was a time of your "shedding sweat for the earth," a working phase during which you completed advanced degrees and published five books with important American publishing houses in seven years. Each of these works was intended to help discover the nature of authentic Christianity. You also served in important denominational positions, including that of campus ministry, as you attempted to bring liberal and conservative Christians into dialogue. You were a bridge-builder and had major successes. You were well know in religious circles as an important interpreter of American Christian life. And yet, because you recognized the contradictions within Christianity, this sharpened your hunger to know the true gospel and to become an authentic disciple.
It was at this point that you encountered the Unification Movement and recognized that for which you had been looking. As you put it, you had "really never seen a group of people who exhibited the heart of God so well and wanted to see things from God's point of view." What was great was not only the way recognized God in a reviled and persecuted group but also the way you responded. As Dr. Hendricks' noted, when virtually no American Christian leader would stand up for Reverend Moon, you stood up. You became a defender and interpreter of the Unification Movement as well as an outstanding bridge-builder between church and "established" Christianity. You really were a "founding father" of this dimension in Unification tradition. You traveled worldwide, organizing conferences and helping to establish the foundation for the inter-religious activity of the Unification Movement today.
During this period of growth, you also came to know more profoundly the suffering heart of God. You remember how you told me that you wept all night during your first visit to Barrytown, in part because of an "angry" book you had written. You also experienced rejection from Christians less prepared than yourself. Later, you sometimes experienced rejection from Unificationists when you pointed out differences between ideals and reality and called upon us to be who we truly needed to be. Undoubtedly, the significant portion of your writing at this time and, perhaps, your most enduring contribution to Unification reflection were your explications of "indemnity." It was at this stage of your development, you "shed tears for mankind." Some of these were in repentance, some in sorrow. You learned to shed tears.
These tears prepared you for the culminating step in your life, Richard, when you entered into the completion stage of blessed marriage. You wrote once that the Unification Movement "for the first time in your life gave you a glimpse of what the new humanity will be like." By entering into blessed marriage, you not only had a glimpse but you became a part of that new humanity. All of us rejoice in the happiness of your marital union. We especially admire the love and honor you bestowed on Hiroko. In Rev. Moon's words, you truly regarded her as your "second Messiah." Many of us have seen the fruit of this completion stage of your life course in the quality of your marital relation. Unfortunately, you were not given the chance to translate this into a wider ministry. It is indeed ironic that you have been called to make the ultimate sacrifice of shedding your lifeblood for Heaven at the point of your greatest fulfillment on earth. Nevertheless, you may have received a higher calling. That you labored in a coma for ten days, not passing until July 4th, suggests that your ascension is related to your home nation. That you are to be buried in Japan, your adopted nation and homeland of your beloved spouse, hints that your passing is connected to the mystery of these nations' reconciliation, particularly in this significant 50th year anniversary of the cessation of wartime hostilities between them. As you were a bridge builder on earth, may you be a bridge builder in Heaven.
And so, Richard, there are no regrets. We will miss your physical presence among us. We miss you. You are an unforgettable person. You opened the gates for many and lived a victorious life, truly in the Unification tradition of shedding sweat for the earth, tears for mankind, and lifeblood for heaven. We bid you farewell into the world of love. We love you Richard.
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