Unification News for May 1996


True Parents' Day Celebrated in NYC

by Dr. Tyler O. Hendricks

The most damaging result of human selfishness is the loss of true parents. Parenting demands total self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice is necessary in order to nurture children. Self-sacrifice is necessary in order to create a stable and happy marriage and home. Self-sacrifice is necessary in order to educate children themselves to become husbands and wives and parents. Self-sacrifice is necessary in order to create and sustain a family-friendly society. A family-friendly society practices cleanliness next to godliness, creating a pleasant physical environment. A family-friendly society is one in which the arts, entertainment and communications media actively promote true family values. A family-friendly society is color-blind. Since the family spans generations, a family friendly society cares for its elders and unborn. The elders extend back countless generations to God Himself. The unborn extend countless generations ahead. Both are preserved and exalted by the protection of the central family value: true love between parents, sexual purity.

A family-friendly society is a society of freedom, peace, unity and happiness. It's the kind of place all people desire to live in. It begins with the establishment of the position of parents. By "the position of parents," we mean the authority of parents, their dignity and nobility. We mean the honoring of parents, and the centrality of creating true parents to the goals of education and social policy. Through good parents, a good society is created. Without good parents, nothing good will come. Our American society now destroys its young, but the path of destruction began 200 years ago, when the dignity of grandparents began to be undermined. Then 30 years ago the dignity of parents was taken apart ("don't trust anyone over 30"). Today there is nothing left, no dignity at all.

If all this is true, and if God cares at all about us, then God must be desperate to restore the position of parents. Unificationism believes that parents determine the health of a society, and that God does care about us, and that God indeed is desperate to establish the dignity and honor of parents. God wants to create a space for parents, a realm of heart which parents occupy, figuratively speaking. This realm of heart is a realm of love, and it probably has its American referent in the notion of the sanctity of hearth and home revered in the last century, even though that notion contained the seed of its own demise in its sentimentalism and over-insulation of the family from the larger world.

To establish this realm of parents would be no easy task, in light not just of the modern attack on parenthood but of the fact that the human race has never, never had true parents. What, you say, there have been no good parents? Yes, I answer, there have been good parents abundantly, if we measure goodness from a human perspective. From a human perspective, to maintain a marriage and family at all is an act of goodness. To create a prosperous and abundant marriage and healthy, visionary children is very good and very difficult, and it has been accomplished in every culture and historical period. But there have been fewer parents who sacrificed their families for the sake of community service, or for the church. And fewer still who sacrificed their families for the sake of the nation; such people are called patriots. Even if every nation boasts its patriots, how many can we find who sacrificed their family for the sake of the world? Such we call, saints, and there a very few. And virtually none of them were parents, physically speaking. But who sacrificed their family for the sake of God? Not just an abstract God, whom it is as meaningless to love as it is to love "all humanity."

Who sacrificed their family for the sake of the true God? Adam and Eve sacrificed God for the sake of their own love. Noah may have sacrificed his family while he was building the ark, but he kept his family on the ark, as God commanded. Abraham created his family for God, but was willing to sacrifice his son. Jacob sacrificed his family for a short time, as he offered them to Esau. Jesus sacrificed his family, or, it may be more accurate to say, his family sacrificed him. But Jesus did not do so from the position of a parent; rather, his position was at best that of a bridegroom.

It is a paradox of God's providence that to create parents, one's parenting must be sacrificed, must be offered to God for the sake of all parents, for the sake of parenthood itself. To offer parenthood, one must be parents.

Reverend Moon's highest priority in front of God, once he had made the foundation to be blessed by God in matrimony, was to establish this position of parents. He did so by the will of God, which means he did so for the sake of all humanity. He created a condition by which all people can restore the position of parents. That means, all people can become true parents, having marriages blessed by God, separated from the curse of sin. There is no church which offered this before, because a bridegroom cannot claim to have sanctified the marriage bed, and Jesus never claimed this, and Jesus never blessed anyone's marriage or told anyone to marry. Quite the opposite; he counseled against marriage (Mt 19:12), and cried woe upon those who were pregnant or nursing a child in the Last Days. We have better news; Jesus' desire to bless marriages is fulfilled. Its fulfillment was proclaimed and celebrated through Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon establishing Parents Day in 1960.

In 1960, their ultimate victory in this world was far from automatic or guaranteed. The world and everyone in it has attacked them, slandered and dismissed and persecuted and criticized them. And many who have gotten close to them, who proclaimed their agreement with them, finally betrayed them. In fact, most of us if not absolute all of us have betrayed them, as we betray God and Jesus when we betray our own ideals which they called us to fulfill and paid the price for our fulfilling.

It was not guaranteed, until 1994. Based upon the global proclamation of True Parents and the Completed Testament Age, the position of true parents is established without doubt. It is unassailable, it will stand and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Therefore, in 1994, the name of the holy day was revised to "True Parents Day."

The world-level celebration in 1996 took place on April 18 in New York City. There gathered at the New Yorker Hotel 1,500 members, including Continental Directors from around the world. The event began really the day before, when many gathered at East Garden to celebrate the success of the April 16 speech in Washington, DC. The following morning at 7 a.m., members gathered for a prayer and pledge meeting in the hotel's Grand Ballroom, led by Manhattan pastor, Rev. Chen Fong. In an adjacent room, Reverend and Mrs. Moon led the Main Ceremony of the holy day. In his prayer, Rev. Moon interceded on our behalf in front of God, asking that He forgive us for our lack of appreciation of the meaning of True Parents Day, and God's sacrifice in creating it.

After the one hour ceremony, the family celebrated several grandchildren's birthdays, and members grabbed a quick breakfast and regathered in the Grand Ballroom. Promptly at 9 a.m., Rev. and Mrs. Moon and their family arrived, and we were treated to a six-hour message. It is not easy to explain how time can stand still during one of Rev. Moon's talks, but in fact the whole world recedes into something rather irrelevant, as we consider the bare facts of human existence. In light of these bare facts, or plain truth, as some

Christians call it, the everyday world it set aside. The holy days, come to think of it, are the Unification sabbath. In fact, whenever he is speaking to us, it is sabbath. Sabbath does not mean blissful euphoria. It is serious, it is confronting, it is uncomfortable; yes, often delightful, even intoxicating. The main thing is that one feels the presence of what Rudolph Otto, a nineteenth century German theologian, called the tremendum; the presence of God, in all God's wild, deep, weird, shocking, moving, upsetting, overwhelming reality.

So we were granted a few hours to visit the stalls of our many church activists and entrepreneurs. Since this reporter had no such time, I can't tell you much about them, except that it is a party time, full of greetings, and everyone has their hands full of holy day cake, offering table fruit, lunch, and other paraphernalia including kids and napkins to keep said kids cleansed of said cake and fruit.

The Manhattan Center performance began at 7:00 p.m. Produced by David Eaton and hosted by Larry Moffitt, this program was in my opinion something wonderful. It featured some of our blossoming Unificationist talent and superlative non-Unificationist performers, but, hey, that line's getting pretty blurry these days. We all surely felt "family" as Mavis Staples, leading voice of the Staples Singers for many years, praised Rev. and Mrs. Moon's creation of the Women's Federation for World Peace and its glorious Sisterhood Ceremonies. She has written a song in honor of the newest trend of Sisterhood Ceremonies, the black- white ceremonies. Her song was read at that event in Boston three days later, on April 21.

The stage served as environment for the New York City Symphony, which, after a Mozart piece and Yoshimi Kadota, the Japanese soprano from DC, became the New York Pops behind Sheila Vaughn and Raoul and Miyuki. Conductor Francesco Santelli assembled a Unification Chorale, which performed with balance, unity and esprit; dare we say, with new hope? A folk trio from Boston, called "The Hundredth Monkey," taught us how a simple harmonica and drum can produce unbelievably powerful, emotional, beautiful music, even with their fiddle player demobilized by a sudden onset of stomach flu.

The highlight of the evening was an offering of ballet by none other than Julia Moon, the prima ballerina of the Universal Ballet Company. She is currently touring Japan with the UBC with partner Lee Won Kuk. She seems to have learned how to violate the law of gravity, as she floated like a swan above the floor of the stage. Rev. Moon has called ballet the most beautiful of dances, because the dancers are on their tip-toes reaching for heaven. She was joined by Alepsander Luneo and Isina Uskakova of the Kirov Ballet of St. Petersburg.

The performance concluded with a new song by Kevin Pickard, "Only Love," performed by the entire case. Afterwards, Reverend Moon convened meetings of the Continental Directors until 1 a.m., and starting from 5 a.m. the following morning, and a Leaders Meeting all day. I suppose all the books in the world could not hold what he spoke.

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