The Words the Hose Family

The Desert -- Part III

David Hose
December 1985

From our very first hearing of the principle the point has been made countless times -- the inner, invisible, Sung Sang aspect of a thing is its essence, its most important part, what it is; while the outer, visible form is the reflection of the inner essence. With this statement as our compass, let us set our gaze together on the matter of entering Canaan.

The other evening I was lifted by a compliment from my wife while we waited for an elevator. She said, "David, whatever else, you are not a lazy man. I've never seen you take the easy way out of a job." I was grateful for her statement, but as we stand almost in sight of the Promised Land, I find myself pained as I reflect on this compliment. The ache comes from questions:

Through all the work, all the labors of indemnity, who am I becoming? How close am I to God, to my True Parents, to my brothers and sisters in the church, to my wife and children? How close am I to Canaan as I work to help bring in a new world with a thousand other members in a hundred different departments?

Like our Israelite forebears we all have borne the weight of many conditions during our sojourn in the wilderness -- long marches, long waits, days without food, nights without sleep. And along the way it has been said that if we fulfill these conditions, if we do all we can to pay the cost, God will take care of the rest and Canaan will come. I believe this, but for a person lacking honest-to-God self-reflection, this conviction holds within it the potential for treacherous false reflections, or "mirages;' as we seek the Holy Land.

The Temptation to Forget Our Selves

We are tempted to externalize the indemnity process, to judge our success by the achievement of strings of collective victories via mind-boggling schedules and Olympian feats of endurance. Of course, our Patriarch does give us, by the will of God, Olympian goals to achieve; the mobilization we now find ourselves involved in represents a tremendous individual and cooperative challenge. In these three years, the final three-year course to Canaan, there will be little time for the luxury of the individual contemplative life or for fellowship within the faith community. Here lies a treacherous strip of territory. However close to the promised gates, there are mirages here. This is the place of temptation, not only for the weak but for the strong among us too -- temptation to forget ourselves in the rush for Canaan. (This doesn't refer to the fallen "Egyptian" self, for we wish to lose that self in the desert, but rather to the self we've called the "citizen of Canaan," birthed in the wilderness.) When we lose our selves in the midst of all our rushing, we can lose God, our True Parents, and each other; and we can come to find that the old Egyptian self (a cat with nine lives) persists to the very gates of Canaan.

The example of Moses himself serves best to illustrate this point Think of all the miracles, the moments of intimacy, the revelations he had shared with God. The old patriarch had received from the hand of the Almighty the very central truth of the Old Testament. No doubt Moses had with him the confidence of a seasoned pilgrim and leader. He may have felt fully purged as he stood at the rock at Kadesh-Barnea, but it was the old "Egyptian" who rose up in indignation and struck the rock twice in anger. Here, in this unexamined moment in Moses' life, we see his mirage image of Canaan. In this moment he forgets that his own relationship to God is the central reality in entering Canaan -- without it, his Canaan is merely a mirage.

Note here that God is primarily concerned with the heart of Moses in the moment he is tempted toward rage; God is concerned that His great son can finally break the back of the old Egyptian self. But Moses loses his own self in anger toward the faithless people around him. He fails to honor or to love himself, as God loves him; and thus he fails as well to honor or to love the people around him with God's love.

Each pilgrim, you and I, must also face our own Kadesh-Barnea. Whether as a leader facing our membership, or as a member looking at our leadership, we are so quickly tempted to strike that rock with the same self-righteous anger, intolerance, and judgment as Moses did, losing touch with ourselves in the process. And though our Heavenly Father will probably not deny us entrance to the Promised Land as a result, we delay our entrance over and over again by making the mistake of Moses.

Keeping an Awareness of Our Destiny

You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
Mt 5:13

In a recent talk Father intimated that the most dangerous situation for any nation is when its people lose their sense of history, their sense of destiny. It follows that the most perilous thing for the Unification movement would be if you and I were to lose the awareness of our destiny in Canaan.

Actually, a good healthy Unificationist, as compared to the average person, usually has a very strong sense of history, of providence, of destiny. This beautiful consciousness, however, may also suffer temptation as Canaan comes closer.

As we take our steps toward the gates, the path seldom becomes easier. To prepare us for citizenship in the Holy Land, God finds a need to reach ever more deeply into each of our lives. He will use any manner of person, incident, or event to scrape our souls, to cleanse and purge us as we allow it in faith. But what surfaces when one doesn't see His holy hand behind the people, the incidents, the events; when one fails in one's life of prayer and inner reflection and closes the penetrating eye of faith? Only mounting aggravation and the search for relief.

There are for this person any number of "oases" that sooner or later present themselves. Lush, green, cool spots that offer respite from the painful steps of the Path. It is within the pull of these cool spots that one can lose the taste for the journey of faith and say, "Here is my Canaan, here I stay!"

The Problem Is Not the Oasis Itself

This isn't to say that all of us don't need a good watering hole or a rest once in a while -- we do, and we shouldn't feel guilty about it. The problem comes before the oasis -- if we lose our sense of God's historic hand working through the people and events in our everyday life, be they good or bad. It is then that the next oasis may turn out to be more than a rest stop. (I don't find a need to list the various oases; you can ponder in your own experience on the path what they may be for you.)

Behold, happy is the man whom God reproves; therefore despise not the chastening of the Almighty. For He wounds; but He binds up; He smites, but His hands heal. He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven there shall no evil touch you.
Job 5:17-19

Our True Father is the master of indemnity. In the course of his life, God and the devil have required of him a path more severe than any of us know. But what joy God must experience as He sees this magnificent son paying off the debts of history, opening the way, step by painful step, for both his followers and for those who hate him as well!

As we take this same historic way toward the fields of Canaan the same God will ask you and me to face a painful path many times. But his is joy is extreme as we conquer the "Egyptian' and affirm the new life and growth of the citizen of Canaan through the countless circumstances along our way. Make no mistake, we are led by the greatest love, one which will not settle for mirages, oases, or anything short of the very gates of heaven.

May God grant us insight, understanding, and courage as we enter the New Year. 

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