Unification News for August 1999
Sola Gratia (By Grace Alone)
Dr. Chang Shik Yang
This is based on a sermon given April 18, 1999 at the Unification Church in Washington DC
Good morning, brothers and sisters. The first page of the general introduction to Divine Principle says that the unhappiness of humankind originates in ignorance. As the Divine Principle explains it, there are two types of ignorance, spiritual ignorance and physical ignorance, and these two came about as a result of the fall. The Divine Principle says that the result of spiritual ignorance is that we came to be ignorant of God, we came to be ignorant of the purpose of life, why we are alive and where we are to go. In other words, we became ignorant of God and we became ignorant of spirit world.
Throughout history many religious leaders and philosophers have dedicated their lives to answering the questions, "Is there a God?", "Is there life after death?", and "What is the purpose of our lives?". But none of those people were able to prove or to argue with certainty that God exists or that there is life after death, or to give us a clear picture of God.
True Mother visited 24 cities in America during this past tour, and the final result is in, that about 26,000 people participated in those speeches. In every city that she visited she received as many as 10 proclamations from governors, state legislators and other dignitaries. Every place it was declared to be True Family Day, True Love Day or the Day of Dr. Moon. But it's not just that the external participation was so high and proclamations were given. Most important was that many people who participated were truly moved by the message that she delivered.
Many people said that they came to understand about the meaning and fundamental principles of life, that they had learned about life after death and they had been liberated from the fear of death. Many people wrote letters saying that this had happened to them. There are billions of people living today on earth and everyone has their own religion and they follow that religion as best they can. But none of those talk about or teach about life after death, or about God with such certainty and clarity as do Rev. and Mrs. Moon.
It is because we have this great truth that we have been able to endure through incredible difficulties over the past 20 and 30 years to keep this movement going and keep going on our path. Those of us here today are people who have been able to overcome unhappiness and ignorance in order to be in the place where we are today.
A number of years ago in Korea there was a rally attended by many Christians. The catch phrase of the rally was "I found it." What did they find? They said that they had found Jesus Christ and found the fundamental meaning of life. We are people who have found something that is even more fundamental and essential than what they have found. Do you believe that?
We are people who have been liberated from unhappiness, people who have become free of unhappiness. Different people can be driving, but if a certain person has a clear idea of where he is going and how he is going to get there, then he can drive with a much happier heart and go faster and get there more quickly. We are driving through life, but we have a clear idea of where we are going and how we are going to get there. The only question is, how certainly do we believe that in our own heart and how do we reflect that in driving through our daily lives.
The thing that people are most afraid of in life is not being robbed or having a burglar enter the house. For most people the most fearful thing is death. Through the words of True Parents and what we have learned, we can now tell the world that the kind of death that people thought existed, the kind of death that people feared does not exist. We can break down the walls between the life here and life in the spirit world, between life and death. Do we have a hopeful heart and a conviction in our daily lives that this is the kind of truth, that this is the word we have? That is the reason that we came to walk this path and be here now.
The title of today's sermon, Sola Gratia, comes from a Latin phrase used by Martin Luther, meaning "only by grace." When the Catholic church had become corrupt and Martin Luther began his reformation of the church, he used three essential phrases—Sola Fides, by faith alone, Sola Gratia, by grace alone, Sola Scriptura, through the Bible alone.
I am not going to go back 500 years and argue today about the Reformation, but I don't think we can understand why Martin Luther emphasized those three phrases unless we really understand the historical context in which he was living. I was very surprised and amazed to see that some members were confusing today's age with the age of the Reformation and saying that today's age is also in need of the kind of reformation we had several centuries ago.
Of course the fact that we were born is grace. We are alive by grace. We are able by grace to keep going. From the time we wake up in the morning until the time we go to bed at night, from the time we are born until we die, we are always receiving grace. The fact that we are able to be here in good health is by grace. It is by grace that we are able to have a loving spouse and children. More than anything else, the greatest grace is that we have a teacher who teaches the significance and purpose and path of life.
What is the savior? It is the person who saves the world. We can say that it is the one person who is saving while living in the midst of the world.
Daemo Nim will be here. She is in the spirit world as a spirit person, but she will appear before us through a physical form. We have conquered ignorance, but because of our remaining fallen nature we are sometimes not quite sure about the next world and have questions about it. Our members know who Daemo Nim is. She is the mother of True Mother. She was born in 1914, and she passed into the spirit world in 1989. I will not go into detail about her life here on earth.
Rather, I want to talk about how she has participated in the providence and the mission that she has received from True Parents, and how that relates to our lives. While Daemo Nim was on earth, she lived a life of very deep and strong faith. In 1948, seven years before she met Rev. Moon, she was able spiritually to recognize who he was and what his mission was. For seven years she prayed, and at the end of that time she met Rev. Moon in Chung Pa Dong. As you entered the sanctuary you received a table of contents with your program, and this talks about how we can understand Daemo Nim's mission.
The essence of God's salvation is restoration. How does restoration come about? Restoration means to recover that which was lost. But we cannot recover things in just any way. There have to be certain conditions set in order to recover that which was lost. That is the meaning of indemnity. We call it restoration through indemnity. In order to carry out restoration through indemnity, there have to be certain conditions. Those are the conditions or foundations in order to receive the Messiah.
The same is true with Daemo Nim. Just like us, she needed a foundation of faith and a foundation of substance in order to prepare the foundation to receive the Messiah. The course that she walked in order to prepare that foundation was really an incredibly difficult path which transcended life itself.
Jungsung (Devotion) and Love. Truly those two words characterized Daemo Nim's life. Through devotion and through love she prepared her foundation to receive the messiah. But no matter what great faith she had, it would not have been enough unless she had connected herself to True Parents. If she did not have the order or approval of True Parents to carry out this mission, she would not be able to do what she is doing now.
God has established True Parents in this world today in order to bring a conclusion to His providence, and so it is only with the appointment and approval of True Parents that Daemo Nim or anyone else can carry out the providence. If you read my paper carefully, you will see that it explains the connection between God and True Parents, Daemo Nim, and Mrs. Kim, and how the connection is established here so that the providential work that Daemo Nim is doing now can come about.
When Daemo Nim passed into spirit world in 1989, I was a regional director in Seoul and I participated in the seung-hwa ceremonies for her. On the 6th and 7th of November Father very clearly gave her four missions. The first of those was to act as a bridge of heart between the spirit world and the physical world. The second was to facilitate the relationship between Heung Jin Nim and Jesus. He said that this was to make the Unification Church one with Christianity based on the foundation of Judaism.
The third mission Father gave to Daemo Nim was to unite all the blessed families of the Unification Church centering on Heung Jin Nim and former President Eu. The fourth was to pave a road that leads all the way from the top of heaven, from the seat next to God, all the way down to the bottom of hell. At the moment that Daemo Nim was going into spirit world, True Parents gave her these four missions. As soon as she passed into spirit world she began making preparations so that she could return to the physical world.
The reason that True Parents were able to give that kind of direction to her is that while she was on earth she saw the unprincipled life that members were living and she saw the various things that were going on that were not right. She approached that with a mother's heart and prayed that even at the sacrifice of herself that members could be liberated from their ignorance. When Father concluded his prayer for her, he said, "I appoint her in the name of True Parents, so God, please help her to carry out the work that she has been appointed to accomplish."
The next important thing is how is it that Daemo Nim was able to appear again on earth through Mrs. Kim. The important thing is that heaven appointed Mrs. Kim to fulfill this mission, and that even while Daemo Nim was on earth, Mrs. Kim prepared herself, working parallel with Grandmother Hong. But the most important thing is the recognition of True Parents.
In order for Daemo Nim to work on earth there has to be a four position foundation prepared in this world. The first of the six points was the blessing of Hyun Jin Kim, Mrs. Kim's oldest son. He was then adopted by Daemo Nim as her son, and at the age of 17 he was blessed by True Parents as Daemo Nim's son.
Before the 360,000 couple blessing, on August 23, 1995, four families in spirit world were blessed. This was actually the time when the spiritual blessing began, and the four couples were Daemo Nim's couple, also Dae Hyung Nim, an older brother of Father's who worked with him and protected him very well. Then Choongmo Nim, Father's mother, and also Hyun Jin, who was blessed as Daemo Nim's son.
These blessings were conducted so that Daemo Nim's substantial four position foundation could be formed on earth. Then we know very well about the blessing of spirit world in Washington DC, when Daemo Nim was appointed by Father to conduct blessings in the spirit world. After the blessing, as you know there has to be a three day ceremony, and there was a three day ceremony for Daemo Nim, conducted through the physical bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Kim.
All the foundations were laid in the physical world so that Daemo Nim could work in this world. Then she returned to the house in Seoul where she had lived during her time on earth and Mrs. Kim began to live there and doing the work. After the RFK blessing there was Father's benediction called "Declaration of opening the door for spiritual blessing." There is a photograph of this moment in time, where Father and Mother took the hand of Mrs. Kim and prayed with her and blessed her work.
Then she began working in Chung Pyung, doing the points described in four and five, doing the work of ancestor liberation and cooperation of the resurrected blessed good spirits. From that time, working through Madison Square Garden and up to the present, Daemo Nim and Heung Jin Nim have been the central points in working for the blessing and liberation of spirit world.
Our members need to understand clearly that this is not just some spiritual phenomenon that is going on in Chung Pyung, or something that Daemo Nim or Mrs. Kim are doing on their own individually. We are living in the final stage of the providence. Father is going through the final chapter of the 6,000 years of God's providential history. Father needs to completely liberate the spirit world and earth, and needs to establish at least the framework for the Kingdom of Heaven in spirit world and on earth before he passes into spirit world.
As long as there are unliberated spirits remaining on earth, we cannot say that Father has accomplished his mission as True Parents. In the same way, until everyone on earth has taken the holy wine and the lineage of Satan has been completely broken and rooted out, then True Parents cannot say that they have really accomplished their mission. So Daemo Nim now is acting as the assistant for Father not only in acting in the position of mother and the substantiation of the Holy Spirit, the central point for resurrection, but also to liberate all spirit world and all the people of the earth.
In the context of the principle of resurrection, this is now the time of the completion stage of resurrection. Now through Daemo Nim we are liberating seven generations of ancestors. This means that they are resurrected into the perfection stage. They must understand clearly the principle of resurrection.
There are four basic principles of resurrection. The first and most important of those principles is the grace of the age. We are all products of history. If we compare history to a relay race then we are all the final runners in our family's lineage. We have received the baton and it is we who are rushing toward the finish line. You have no idea how many people are lined up behind you, so you have to take the right direction. You have to be careful how you go so that you won't have an accident along the way.
You saw the movie "Ghost," didn't you? In that movie there was a spirit man who could see what was going on in the world. Spirit world is trying to unite with the physical world, but it is very frustrated. We are living in an amazing time, in the victory realm of True Parents when we can receive their grace.
Look at yourself in your mirror at home. Can you with your own strength and power liberate even one of your ancestors? Would any amount of money be enough to liberate your ancestors? If you fasted 40 days, would that be enough to liberate even one generation? No matter how much dedication and sincerity you offer, that would not compare even a little to God's grace. We receive salvation only through grace. Behind that grace, in the background we always need to know there is True Parents' blood and sweat and tears and sacrifice.
Martin Luther said Sola Gratia, only through grace, but it's not just through grace that we are saved. We also have responsibility. Grace may be as much as 99 percent, but at least there is one percent responsibility that falls on the descendants. That is our responsibility. That is what Dr. Sang Hun Lee mentions in his book. Our dedication, our prayers and our commitment and the material conditions that we offer, those are the things necessary in order to liberate our ancestors in the spirit world.
Another important principle of resurrection is that there has to be a physical body. Without a physical body spirit men cannot be resurrected and elevate themselves. As Dr. Lee says in his letters, once a person passes into spirit world, he can go thousands of years without being able to move up in the spirit world. Without a physical body a spirit man cannot grow. We are incredibly important because we have physical bodies. That is why we say the body is like a temple. It is a tool that we can use in order to liberate the spirit world. That is why Paul said we should honor our physical bodies. They should be used for righteousness.
We need to believe that the offerings we make and the conditions we set are the things that are necessary to liberate our ancestors. In Luke 16:19-31, we see the story of Lazarus, a man who was living in a rich household, eating the scraps from the rich man's table. In the Bible he was described as a beggar. I think he was probably not a beggar, but a man living on the lands of the rich man. The important thing is that both of them went to spirit world, but the rich man went to hell and Lazarus went to a good level of spirit world, perhaps because he used whatever money he had to do good works.
The Bible gives a very clear description of hell, saying the rich man went to hell and he was so thirsty that he begged Lazarus to put even just one drop of water on his tongue. But Abraham said, no, you can't do that, because the gap between Lazarus and the rich man was too wide and too deep. The rich man asked one favor, to go to his five brothers on earth and tell them not to live the way he lived. The Bible says even that cannot be done so easily.
All of us will go to the spirit world, whether rich or poor. Everyone will meet final judgment. We cannot receive salvation in the spirit world. We have to prepare ourselves for the spirit world while we are still on earth.
In the late 80s in Korea there was an incident involving the passing of the father of one our church ministers, Rev. Im, an 1800 couple, who was the youngest of three brothers. The older brothers and the father had continuously opposed our church, and the father went into spirit world with that attitude. The father had completely stopped breathing and was dead, with his children gathered around. But suddenly the father came back to life. With his eyes still closed he started speaking. He said, what is a membership application (ip-pyo won-so)? People in spirit world keep asking me, "Where is your ip-pyo won-so, and I don't know what it is."
The youngest son, Rev. Im, of course knew what it was, the application form that people signed in order to join Unification Church. So he brought one and signed his father's name, and the father signed it, and then he died again. But a few minutes later he sighed a very deep sigh and came back to life again. This time he said, "What are spiritual children? What is this I hear in the spirit world about having to have three spiritual children?" Then the Rev. Im explained what spiritual children were.
The two older brothers who were there then repented and said, "We will also sign the application to join the Unification Church." But the oldest son had hurt his father's heart very much during his father's life, and the father said, "No, I don't want him." The oldest son repented very deeply to his father and said, "Please, let me sign this form." Because of his repentance the father said, "Okay", and let him sign. Then he died again, but revived for a third time. This time he asked, "What is this about an indemnity fund?"
As you know, this fund originates in the fact that money was paid in order for Jesus to be betrayed. So we pay money in order to indemnify that. Everyone pays that when you receive the blessing.
Rev. Im explained the fund and the father made arrangements for that to be paid, and then returned to spirit world and did not return. This has become a very famous story in our church. Probably all of our ancestors would like to do that, come back to life and make arrangements for them to go to a better place in spirit world.
There was a famous book in Korea written by a Buddhist monk, entitled "Listen: What will you take with you when you go to the next world?" If that question were put to you, how would you answer? We need to go with the recognition that we have completed our mission. We need to be recognized as having saved ourselves and as having liberated our ancestors and liberated God.
I believe that everyone has been preparing for Daemo Nim's upcoming visit by offering special dedication at home. In preparation for her visit I am communicating every day with Chung Pyung. Last night a phone call came at 1 a.m. and I called back at 5 a.m. Already the list of couples has been sent to Chung Pyung. That list has been placed in the prayer room at Chung Pyung and Daemo Nim and Mrs. Kim are praying there to establish the conditions in order to find the seven generations of ancestors in spirit world.
This ceremony of liberating seven generations of ancestors is being conducted by the special grace and instructions of True Parents. People who are outside those seven generations cannot participate. It's a very precious opportunity. Your physical brothers and sisters who may have passed away can participate, children can participate, and ancestors up to the seventh generation can participate. This is the grace of all graces that has been given to blessed couples of the Unification Church in this final chapter of the providence.
We need to represent our family's lineage, our family tree, dedicating and offering ourselves sincerely in order to prepare. We need to prepare with all our heart, all our mind and all our body. Of course we need to offer prayers. We also need to make a monetary offering representing our ancestors. But the important thing is that no matter how much you pray or how large an offering you make, that itself is not nearly enough to liberate the ancestors. Salvation and liberation is received by grace.
One of the standards that we must establish as descendants is that we do the best we can in the offering. I've heard that many members are having great difficulty because of the monetary offering. I understand it is difficult, but think of it this way. Compared to what we have received from our ancestors, this offering really is not that much. We love our spouse, love our children; how could we have met our spouse or had our children unless our ancestors had prepared the way for us during their lives? No matter how much we need to sacrifice ourselves or how much dedication and sincerity we have to offer in order to liberate our ancestors, we should be grateful that we have that opportunity.
There are many religions in the world that emphasize respect and dedication and sacrifice for ancestors. One representative case is the Mormon church. I have been to Mormon headquarters in Utah. I asked if I could see their sanctuary, but was told that I did not qualify and could not be let in. Maybe I should have told them I had been in this room in a former Mormon church in Washington. In the basement of our church there is a former baptismal room where people would be baptized for the sake of their ancestors.
Buddhists will offer 100 or 1,000 days of special dedication after someone dies so that their ancestors can go to a better place in spirit world. We understand that if a person really prepares himself in the spirit world and works for the Messiah then when they go to spirit world they will be greeted by 70 candles. But if a person goes without much merit then they will be greeted by only 35 or so. We have to have at least 50 lights in order to go into the good spirit world.
People pass into spirit world with less than 50 lights, but they will remain around their descendants, hoping to establish the conditions that they will go to a better place in spirit world later on. It is only through the descendants that spirit people can be saved. Our ancestors in a sense have two gods—God and True Parents, and then their descendants here. If you really offer your dedication and sincerity then your ancestors will appear in your dreams. Some people have reported to me about having this experience.
We really need to offer our full heart, our full will and our full dedication in order to prepare for Daemo Nim's visit. In Mark 12:42-44 we see the story of a very poor woman, a widow who was living alone. Jesus described how at the temple she offered two copper coins worth a few cents. Jesus evaluated her offering very highly. He said that she contributed more than all the others who donated from their surplus wealth. She gave from her want, all that she had to live on.
If your child is out playing at school and suddenly falls and is hurt badly, do you go to the emergency room or not? Of course there is medical insurance, but you have to pay a lot of money to go to the emergency room. In the same way, we are going to the emergency room in order to give salvation to our ancestors. If you really cannot afford the offering, just come anyway. Bring your truly dedicated and sincere heart. Maybe your ancestors will give you some kind of wisdom.
If we love our children, we need to love our ancestors even more so that they can help our children. Daemo Nim wants everyone to come. This is not a benefit that can be bought with even $10,000. It is a grace. The offering is a small offering on our part, and we need to prepare our hearts with sincerity and gratitude. Daemo Nim really wants all members to come. Please, also invite the people you have blessed, your 185 tribe members. Especially people who participated in the blessings at RFK and MSG, who received True Parents' benediction directly are qualified to participate in Daemo Nim's ceremony. If they feel gratitude then they will determine in their hearts at that time to give an offering.
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