The Words of the Burton Family

Rev. Hyung Jin Moon Leads Experiential Worship in Las Vegas

Douglas Burton
March 9, 2011
Las Vegas

Tears of gratitude and repentance were the common experience of Unificationists and friends of the Unification movement at the Lovin' Life worship service at Caesar's Palace on March 6, 2011.

One day after his father, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, had made a historic proclamation in the same ballroom, the Rev. Hyung Jin Moon pioneered, on American soil, his signature worship style of sermon combined with responsive readings, congregational singing, chanting, meditation, and physical movement.

Rev. Moon began by telling the gathering of 1,400 worshipers that repentance for sin is key both for ministers as well as all members, and that he himself is a sinner in need of redemption. Echoing the words of St. Paul, he said, "all of us are unworthy, all of us have fallen short of the glory of God."

"There are two kinds of sinners. The first kind says: 'Tell me what the laws of God are, and I will break all of them, quickly," he said to laughter. "The second kind keeps all of the laws, and believes that they can go before God," he said. "But the reason that I can go before God is because of the Son who He has sent to redeem me," Rev. Moon added. "God loves us not because we are worthy but because His love is worthy, not because of what we have done, but because of what they [True Parents] have done."

Rev. Moon then led the congregation in responsive readings in which the pastor reads a sentence [on screen] and the congregation reads in unison the response [also on the screen]. The reading starts with the congregation asking if the pastor acknowledges his own sinfulness before God. Such worship, familiar to many Protestant and Roman Catholic denominations, is new to the Unification Church.

The congregation was then guided by the pastor to place their hands over their chests, and to pray while inhaling: "I am alive," and to pray while exhaling: "Thank you, Heavenly Father." All then followed Rev. Moon to sing the musical chant, "Chambumonim [True Parents] Eog Mansei," for 30 minutes. During this interval many were visibly moved.

The Sonic Cult band concluded the service with rousing renditions of "God Gave Rock and Roll to You," and "Everlasting Love." Several of those present noticed the high contrast between the deeply felt worship and the loud but entertaining rock music of the acclaimed Sonic Cult band. "It was a profound, unforgettable weekend," said Lovin' Life producer David Eaton afterwards, adding: "it was the blending of absolute Hyung Sang and absolute Sung Sang, the internal and the external, Yin and Yang." 

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