Unification News for

April 1998

 

Celebrating Easter in New York

by Christine Libon-Clifton, NJ

"Arise! Your light has come, the Savior promised long. Let every heart prepare a throne and every voice a song. He comes the prisoners to release in Satanís bondage held. The gates of brass before Him burst, the iron fetters yield. I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations...and the days of sorrow will end." So go the lyrics of the beautiful choral selection by Doddridge (1775) from Isaiah 60-61.

Whom will God make the joy of all generations? You, and me, and all the faithful Christians regardless of the color of their skin, all of us currently benefiting from the Providential Age. Your days of slavery, of slander, of being downtrodden will be over-you will be the pride! My heart sang out to the virtually all-black audience and their unseen ancestors. Yes, Iím proud of you, my precious brothers and sisters in Christ, for I know that the fervor of your praises outshines many a white congregation.

This event, held at the beautifully restored Pilgrim Renaissance Convention Center in Brooklyn, NY, was videotaped Apr. 5 and aired on Cable Channel 31 on Apr. 12 at 9pm. It was a support to the community in many ways, advertising health care, youth and family services offered by both churches and businesses. I was proud to be there to support the noble motives of the organizer, who said the main reason for holding this revival was to make it known how the "blacks" worship, to publicize their worship more than the white Catholics at Easter, the Jews at Passover, and the black "criminal activity" on the streets. A lone Amen rang out as this man urged the black Christians to raise their children properly and not to be sent off to jail-so that Jesusí Resurrection would not be in vain!

Ministers and viewers melted out the exits as the hours passed and apology after apology echoed for the lengthy delays. We, of course, had been well-primed, conditioned to sitting and listening for countless hours before Father; we had been well-primed, conditioned to sitting and listening for countless hours before Father; we had been well-taught the value of enduring to the end-about 10pm.

Song truly expresses the emotional aspect of our faith in worship, facilitating swells in our hearts, tearbursts of awe and reverence, inspiration, moments of ecstasy, shakes and quakes founded upon solid conviction. We focused on the expressed arms of our director, Francesco Santelli, who felt extremely honored to lead the choir in support of Bishop Pak. Many well-respected brothers and sisters traveled far distances to practice and participate in this special opportunity. Thirty-five white choir robes had been purchased by Rev. John Hong of New Jersey, thanks to contributing businesses. Three sisters had sewn the necktie-like royal blue satin stoles. Our pianist was Rikako Asanuma, with whom we had performed on other occasions such as the Fourth of July. The edited version began with a close-up of Mrs. Yasuko Kono, the mother of the choir. It sounded quite good, well-studied, high-quality, professional.

During the program, four commercials were shown encouraging couples to rededicate their love because family is important. Although it is not always easy, marriage is lifeís greatest blessing. The commercials were from the Family Federation, founded by Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. The Rev. Bishop Pak received the rousing support of the audience as he uttered powerful yet simple Biblical truths: "By living as Jesus taught, we become engrafted into Godís lineage. This is the adoption as sons (and daughters). Jesus came to teach us true love...true love begins in the family.... Let us be true parents to our children, true husbands, true wives."

We bring the sacrifice of praise to the House of the Lord. Energetic youth choirs, solo performers, the "Second Chance," and devotional dancers offered their expressions of praise. One Jamaican selection was particularly uplifting.

Was it worth it? In True Parentsí own words, "We should invest ourselves 24 hours a day so that even one more person can be brought closer to God."

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