Unification Sermons and Talks

Rev. Shawn Byrne

See For Yourselves and Know That Summer is Near

By Rev. Shawn Byrne

This sermon was delivered at the UTS Spring Open House ecumenical service on May 3, 1992.

Our time separates people into those who see the cup as half full and those who see it as half empty. On the stage of very large events we have seen breathtaking things happen with startling suddenness.

Among these have been the liberation of Eastern Europe from the Soviet yoke, the demolition of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, the collapse of the Soviet commitment to Marxism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Important also is the decision in South Africa to abandon apartheid and the commitment to pursue peace in the Middle East.

These events represent the end of world-level winter, the breaking-up of winter ice. They are signs that world-level Spring is at hand. Still, Spring has yet to come to our world. It is as if, in the words of the song: "Even the hour when wings are frozen, He for fledging time has chosen". The chilling winds of winter still blow across the frozen tundras of this world.

There is still unresolved racism. Ethnicism, often colored by religious animosities, still fuels wars and dissolves nations. The influence of the Christian churches appears to continue to wane. Chronic poverty persists for many. The plague of AIDS steals across the earth. Economic recession persists. Moral decay appears to be unchecked. In the Western world at least, family breakdown continues unabated. And the young in America are, in large part, raised without clear education in spiritual and moral values. It is the best of times and the worst of times. The cup is half filled. Yet, it is half empty.

Unification Movement and these events.

Since we meet here for Spring Open House at Unification Theological Seminary, I propose that we reflect a little on the involvement in these world events of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of this seminary, and also on the relationship of UTS and its students to these events.

In the early 1970s Rev. Moon announced that Communism would collapse by 1987, seventy years after its consolidation through the Russian Revolution in 1917. Our movement even published a book years ago, entitled "The End of Communism". In 1976 at the Washington Monument rally, Rev. Moon announced that we would march on Moscow and rally there for God and freedom.

These prophecies and commitments were fulfilled when Rev. and Mrs. Moon met with former President Gorbachev of the former Soviet Union in 1990. They were further advanced when Rev. and Mrs. Moon met in late 1991 with the leader of North Korea, Kim Il Sung. The prophecies were even exceeded because these meetings were not hostile confrontations but warm meetings in brotherly friendship. The meetings were even more remarkable because they were the culmination of years of ideological battle against Communism in the forms of VOC (Victory over Communism), CAUSA, "The Washington Times" and exposes on film of Marxist expansionism in Nicaragua by Lee Shapiro, a graduate of this seminary, as well as in Afghanistan where he was killed by Communist troops while doing the same thing there.

Once Satan's icy grip was broken, positive steps could be taken to build a new world order centered on God.

That is what Rev. Moon and the Unification Movement have been doing for many years in ways far too numerous to mention here. But let me refer to a few. There is the basic activity of teaching and learning the Divine Principle and its applications. Similarly for Unification Thought, the philosophic expression of the Divine Principle. There are extensive dialogues between scientists and people of religion in terms of ICUS (International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences). Similarly for statesmen, politicians, media people, artists, lawyers, scholars, etc., etc.

There have been the ICCs (Interdenominational Conferences for Clergy) in which 7,000 American ministers studied Unificationism and visited its place of origin in Korea. There are many other ecumenical and inter-religious dialogues and activities which now have developed into the IRFWP (Inter-religious Federation for World Peace). There are ongoing visits of tens of thousands of Koreans to see and study Unificationism in the United States. There has been work with public leaders which now has developed into the IFWP (International Federation for World Peace). There are projects of service and dialogue by young people of various religions and races carried out under the auspices of RYS (Religious Youth Service).

In the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), the former Soviet Union, many thousands of students and teachers are studying the Divine Principle. Hundreds of American Unificationists have served overseas for several weeks each year through an international exchange program. They have also undertaken pioneer missions in America in terms of Home-town providence and Tribal Messiahship (extended family). In April Mrs. Moon took leadership of IFWP (International Federation of Women for World Peace). And, just recently, an affiliate of the Unification Movement, the PWPA (Professors' World Peace Academy), has acquired Bridgeport University.

This lengthy list of the activities of Rev. Moon and the Unification Movement is but a partial thumbnail sketch. The saga is being created and its pace accelerates at a bewildering rate. What is going on? What is it all about?

Involvement in contemporary events

Some people are concerned about the implications. PBS is, as manifested in its documentary a few months ago, entitled "The Resurrection of Rev. Moon". Some are at Bridgeport University. At various times, Rev. Moon and/or members of the Unification Movement have been accused of anti-semitism, racism, brain-washing, power-grabbing, greed, etc. It's quite a list.

I want to offer now the perspective of a Unificationist, of one who has sought always to live religiously, who joined the Unification Church as a mature adult and who has chosen to remain with it and invest his whole being in it for the past 18 years.

Mystics, theologians, philosophers and psychologists as well as ordinary men and women have long recognized that there is something the matter, in a fundamental way, with people. We are prone to conflict and disharmony both within ourselves and between ourselves and with nature. We desire good and we often do evil. It is often referred to as alienation. In modern times, Marxism endeavored to solve the alienation. It saw the cause in ownership of private property and promoted class conflict as a means to the solution.

Rev. Moon called this analysis and solution the lie it proved to be, a Satanic decoy. He was proven right by the dramatic collapse of Communism from within under the weight of its own falsehood. Some Jews, on the other hand, await the coming of the Messiah. Some Christians offer the solution that Jesus will return to establish his Kingdom. And they wait.

Rev. Moon offers another analysis and solution to alienation. He explains you can study it in Divine Principle that humankind was party to a primeval fall or deviation from God's intended ideal. Central to this fall was the perversion of love. Love turned in on itself. Instead of reaching out to others it sought self-satisfaction. We largely lost the power to love, which is why it has been the Holy Grail of humankind throughout history. We seek what is inherently ours but which we have lost.

Vestiges of it do remain; we are not entirely corrupt. Spouses, parents, friends can and do love. But if their love does not extend beyond family or friend it remains largely a form of extended self-interest. This perversion of love, this dominance of self-interest, underlies human relationships and human history. It is the cause of our alienation from God, self, people and nature.

Rev. Moon offers a solution to alienation. By whatever mysterious process known in depth only to God and himself, he has, as a matter of fact, become a man of true love. His life is lived entirely in the service of God and people. Yes, he gains influence. He spends great sums of money. He wields power. But, observe what he does with these things. They are always reinvested at a higher level to achieve a greater good.

In our times he is like Jacob. Jacob offered all his store of treasure, accumulated in the sweat of his brow during 21 years of servitude, to his brother Esau so they could be reconciled (Gen. 32-33).

Rev. Moon has urged Unificationists: "To restore the world let us go forth with the Father's heart in the shoes of a servant, shedding tears for man, sweat for the earth, and our blood for heaven". With reference to his life of suffering and rejection as well as to his relationship with God, Rev. Moon has said: "I never prayed from weakness. I never complained. I was never angry at my situation. I never even asked (God's) help, but was always busy comforting Him and telling Him not to worry about me. The Father knows me so well. He already knew my suffering. How could I tell Him about my suffering and cause His heart to grieve still more? I could only tell Him that I would never be defeated by my suffering". (Both quotes from "New Hope: 12 Talks".).

In Rev. Moon we observe a new man. One who is totally loving. Yes, Jesus was, and probably Buddha and others. And this one Rev. Moon is victorious and successful even in this world's terms. This is new. For many, even religious people, it is challenging or threatening.

Until now, religions and religious leaders have normally encouraged separation from the world. But here is the capacity and, I would add, the intention to change the world into God-centered paths. Rev. Moon has a comprehensive plan of action to achieve this. It includes strategies to deal with "kings" and nations and also blueprints of action for the "restoration" of individuals, families and societies. "Restoration" means simply to bring people and relationships to ways of true love.

Therefore and this is what PBS and University of Bridgeport protesters miss the Unification Movement is essentially a religious movement. At its core, it is all about the restoration of individuals, families (through the Blessing) and tribes (extended family). It is about the restoration and multiplication of men and women of true love (that is, who live for the sake of God and others). It is about the restoration of all and any men and women of any faith or race.

It is not primarily a movement for the conversion of people to the Unification Church. It is essentially a movement for the conversion of people to the Divine Principle. Therefore, the Unification Movement is inherently and naturally ecumenical. This was expressed by Rev. Moon's blessing in April of Muslim couples, people who are not members of the Unification Church.

The Unification Church and Movement, then, does not exist for itself. It is for the emergence of a new kind of person, namely, men and women of true love. Rev. and Mrs. Moon have pioneered the way. The fulfillment of the dream requires the cooperation of all kinds of people and all kinds of faiths. The God-centered and love-filled world which is being born will not be a dictatorship, not even a loving one. It is meant to be a world family, a commonwealth in which all freely participate. Therefore, the Unification Movement seeks dialogue and promotes cooperation.

The Unification Theological Seminary

In brief, Rev. Moon founded UTS to be a special place where people could develop of the quality and caliber needed to achieve the ideal of true love. And not only to achieve it in themselves, but to train themselves to be people who can lead others to that ideal, and to help God to lead the world to that ideal. In founding UTS in 1975, Rev. Moon had a special concern to restore spiritual and moral standards and values in America as well as to help Christianity achieve its full maturity.

In his address at the inaugural convocation of UTS in 1975, Rev. Moon stated that the cause of unhappiness and problems in life and society is that "man lost God". As a solution, he proposed the rediscovery of God, the establishment of an intimate father-son relationship between God and man and the resurrection of divine love. This is what Rev. Moon had achieved in his own life. He proposed it then as a goal for students at UTS so that they could become persons capable of pioneering this "new way for humanity" to solve its problems, so that they would become leaders in the "great revolution of human consciousness" back to God.

Rev. Moon wants students to deeply understand the Divine Principle and Unification Thought and to also understand other religions and philosophies as well as history. Therefore, UTS offers courses in philosophy as well as in Christian theology. There are courses in the Old and New Testaments, in Church history, in world religions. For all of this is the story of people searching for true love according to the circumstances of their times and cultures.

Seminarians are to be people of self-sacrifice and service of others. They are to be men and women of prayer and deep spirituality. And yet their religion is to be practical. They are to be capable of protecting others, of confronting and defeating evil, of being powerful teachers, of solving problems and of making money. They are to understand and love people. They are also to be at home with technology and to be able to use the mass media to educate multitudes. Rev. Moon wants UTS to graduate people who are creative leaders expressing their great hearts in "brilliant deeds and results", people who are "master builders of the ideal world" of true love.

Today at this tenth UTS Open House, we meet with so many awarenesses. We are aware of the state of humankind and of ourselves, of the great troubles and opportunities and of the pangs which signal the birth of a new world. We are aware now of how Rev. Moon and the Unification Movement have been and are responding to the needs of the time.

We are aware of the reasons for these responses, of the goal of true love that is aimed at, as well as of the place of UTS in the scheme of things. We fall quite short of the ideals we aim at. For this we repent. Yet, we have hope and commitment. I trust that you can share with us today the spirit of gratitude and joy we feel for this great cause we are involved in.

At this Spring Open House, then, "let's have a feast and celebrate" (Luke 15:23). For we were lost and have been found. We were dead and have at least begun to live. Winter is ended, and we can see for ourselves that when the trees sprout leaves "summer is near" (Luke 21:30).

Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents
Copyright Information
Tparents Home