Unification News for December 1996
Switzerland Welcomes National Messiah
Rev. Joong Hyun Pak at FFWP Inauguration Speech
by Betty Lancaster-NYC
Rev. Pak accompanied True Mother on her speaking tour throughout the United States, then immediately flew with Mrs. Pak to Geneva, Switzerland, where on November 8 he gave True Parents' Inauguration speech for the Family Federation for World Peace. The event, held at the elegant Hotel des Bergues, was well-attended by diplomats, professors, religious leaders of various faiths and many others. National Leader Rev. Heiner Handschin and all directors and members in Switzerland worked diligently to make this occasion memorable.
However, there was one distinguished dignitary who was not in attendance-the UN Ambassador to Sri Lanka. Because of surgery he was unable to come that evening and sent his son and daughter in his place. They were both enthusiastic when they heard the speech. They took a written copy to their father; when the Ambassador read it he called the FFWP office and here we will quote the words which he spoke to the national leader:
"Ever since I read the speech of Reverend Moon, my life began to change. I feel things in my life that I didn't feel before. I want my whole family to participate in FFWP and I want to write to Reverend Moon to express my deepest appreciation to him for this speech."
The Congratulatory Address, given by Dr. Carl-A. Keller, Honorary Professor of Christian Theology at the University of Lausanne, shared some most generous and interesting insights. It is here in its entirety:
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It may appear preposterous, even unseemly, for a Professor of Christian theology to come and congratulate Reverend Moon, his wife and their collaborators, for setting up a Family Federation for World Peace. I am doing it because I deem it most urgent to fight, in every way possible, the climate of religious intolerance and hatred toward "sects", as orchestrated by the media, and which permeates our society nowadays. I believe Reverend Moon and his wife deserve to be congratulated on four counts.
First of all, I congratulate them because their initiative succeeds in combining two of the themes that are the core of Reverend Moon's work, and which have guided his whole life as a religious leader, namely: the theme of unification in its broadest sense, that is of universal peace, and the theme of sanctity, even as of the holiness of the married couple, as image of the Divine, and of the family. To promote the family as the image of the Divine is to promote universal union and peace. This new organization appears then as the crowning of the religious work of Reverend Moon.
Second, I want to congratulate Reverend Moon's collaborators on the quality of the scientific research that has gone into the preparation of tonight's ceremony. I am thinking especially of the remarkable brochure we were given: "The family, an ideological, cultural and political challenge!" It is true that as a Christian theologian I would have liked to add the religious dimension. For the brochure shows conclusively that the battle to save the family is in direct contradiction with the predominant thinking of our time. It has always been the privilege of a religious elite, who dare say and live according to its view of the true, to protest cultural aberrations the world considers "normal" and inevitable, yet are laden with ominous consequence.
Third, let me congratulate the new Federation for its ecumenical orientation. Safeguarding the family has always been a main concern for Christian churches, both Catholic and Protestant. As we know, several Christian organizations are already working in that direction. One can find this concern, in some form or other, among other religions, particularly with Islam and traditional Buddhism. To collaborate with existing bodies is therefore a necessity. We salute then, joyfully, the desire of the Federation to work hand in hand with interreligious ecumenism. It is true that this decision implies a certain abnegation on the part of Reverend Moon and his wife, for the followers of other religions believe one can be intimate with the Divine without the mediation of "True Parents." But I trust Reverend Moon and his team will deal with this successfully.
Finally, I am particularly happy to have learned, thanks to the documents I was given, a Korean word that gives meaning to the whole undertaking, namely, shimjung, "qualities of a heart that is loyal and committed"-may we say "loyally committed"? and a civilization built on a loyally committed heart...! As a Christian theologian, my thoughts immediately go to the central role of "heart" in the Bible and in the Christian tradition: heart is where the divine Presence dwells and from where decisions flow from this Presence. It will be "loyal and committed": commitment can become intolerant and willful-shimjung reminds us that it must remain "loyal"! What a magnificent perspective, and what a challenge!
A fearful challenge. No matter how loyal and committed the heart is, it remains weak and unsteady. But the Source of all life, of all loyalty, and of all the commitment, the Source of our beautiful intentions and of our worthy decisions, the Source of all Resources is there for the asking, of anyone who comes near.
Preparing a foundation
This was the second visit the Paks had made to their new homeland- their homeland not only of milk and honey, but also cheese and chocolate!
Until after the '97 Blessing, Rev. Pak will continue to serve in North America. This is the life for the next year of many of our Continental and National Leaders.
But even in this interim period, Rev. Pak has managed to give spiritual and physical guidance to the Switzerland Family. Also, the Pak's elder son In Ho and his wife Grace (Eun Jin) Moon made quite an impact in Switzerland themselves during their early autumn visit, as they traveled around speaking about True Parents and Traditions, not only to second generation members but to enthusiastic first generation audiences as well. They will return to Switzerland in December for a Second Generation workshop.
Because Geneva is such a famous city, Rev. Pak was surprised to find that it is just a very small city, easy to walk around in 30 minutes. However, it is a city packed with centuries of history, though for all the richness of its cultural, academic, political and religious history, there has been nothing so historical as the Inauguration of the Family Federation for World Peace in 1996, we can be sure.
As we know, Switzerland was the home of two of the founders of Protestantism, Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin. Zwingli's career centered around Berne, where he defeated the Catholic bishop in a debate, winning the support of the City Council, which thereupon banished the Catholic clergy from the city. Calvin won similar battles against great odds. Something of special interest about Rev. Pak's recent trip to Geneva, especially to those of Presbyterian background - was his search for the gravesite of John Calvin, Protestant Reformer, who spent the greater part of his sixteenth-century life in Geneva, thinking, teaching, leading, writing, creating Reformed Theology and developing his character, which was very self-reflective and disciplined, the seed of the Puritan movement in America. But apparently, in his sacrificial and humble life, even at death Calvin chose to be humbly buried, for there is, surprisingly, only a very small, obscure marker with two initials, 'J.C.'
Should we think this was "ordinary" that Rev. Pak would be visiting that marker which so few, Rev. Pak discovered, ever seek out? I don't think so. That was sheer heavenly-ordained adventure!
Most powerful and spiritual was the gathering of Switzerland's National Messiahs during Rev. Pak's visit in November. Such drama! Can you imagine the activity of the angelic world-they must have gathered there as well. Very exciting times! After a few days of meetings with messiahs and general membership meetings, Rev. & Mrs. Pak departed from the Swiss family, amid tearful farewells at the airport and returned to their North American family (just in time to catch another flight to South America to be with True Parents on True Children's Day).
"I enjoy being an ordinary person. I am just an ordinary man," said Rev. Joong Hyun Pak one day. "I don't think so," was my reply. A continent director ordinary? A national messiah ordinary? A son of God ordinary? I don't think so. And I don't think any of us are ordinary who call ourselves God's children, who stand up in life and commit ourselves to a sacrificial lifestyle. Or persevere year after year relying most times on faith in things unseen. Of course we are ordinary in the sense that we like the simple life. We like those moments when we can don casual clothing, sit on the floor and enjoy the family or just walk in the sunshine, kicking leaves and dreaming lofty dreams.
But ordinary people do not obey the voice from Heaven, that same voice that said to Abraham "Pack up your family and all your belongings and leave your homeland and move to a new land to which I am sending you." And God's people do it, no matter what the cost to them. And they do it with joy because they know they stand on God's promises that to do so means they are building a more perfect world, a more perfect future for themselves and generations to come, that they are closing the gap between themselves and God, and whatever other blessings and glory God decides to throw in.
So this might be the story of other national messiahs-and all God's children-with some variations, as we now move in and out of nations and missions. Ordinary people? I don't think so.
Betty Lancaster is the National Messiah Coordinator for the USA.
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