The Words of Reverend Chong Jik Woo
Lets have a Joyful, Prayful, Thankful Mind
Rev. Chong Jik Woo
January 3, 1993 - Washington DC
I Thessalonians 5:12-22
How are you this morning?
This is the first Sunday Sermon of the new year, so my heart and mind are overflowing with joy and inspiration. It is very hard to express in words all that I feel this morning.
God said, "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end". So goodness should be the same. Our year began in goodness, it should end in goodness. Last year, Father gaveus many directions and words. We tried our best, but we could not fulfill, therefore we need to repent. I am afraid we might repeat last years mistakes, so I am determined that we should do better thanlast year.
We seek Father's clear direction. When Father asks us, "Will you do it"? we always respond in aloud voice, "YES"! When we answer in that way we are making our pledge to God. But after our many pledges, we don't have so much result to show. Because of this fact, we should have a repentful mind. Without this kind of attitude, we cannot start the. new year.
In order to establish the country of God, God and mankind have been paying indemnity for 6000years. Also, the history of the Unification Church has been a history of indemnity. We are still in the pioneer era like the early christian church. St. Paul's letter to the church at Thessalonica is relevant to our day. The church at Thessalonica was going through very difficult days when Paul wrote his letter. He wanted to give them hope and courage so that they could endure the trials of the life of faith. Even though this letter was written over 1900 years ago to the church at Thessalonica, it could just as well been addressed to the church at Washington in the year 1993. So I will share the main point of his letter with you today.
These words have been a guiding light for me through many difficult times and I hope that they will serve to strengthen you as well.
2. Be Always Joyful
First, he said that we should be always joyful. Human Beings are searching for the truest road to their destiny. Before we were born, after we are born and after we die, there is a road which leads us to the highest righteousness. To find that particular road is not easy, however, because there are so many roads that we could take. But only one road will lead us to that truest destination. We are greatly blessed because we have True Parents and the Divine Principle. This is like having a very clear road map which always points to the way of our highest destiny. If we follow this map we can find the deepest levels of truth and beauty while we become the best person we could ever hope to be. No other path could lead us to such a high destiny. No other path could give us the ability to bear such great and noble fruit as the path of true religion.
We are people who are born with 5 senses. We see, taste, touch, smell and feel. This seems to indicate that God must have some purpose for my life. Even before I was born, God must have had some purpose for my life. According to the Divine Principle, God created mankind in order to feel joy. We could say that God's purpose and Man's purpose is the same purpose. We have a common purpose and destiny. God's will and our will is the same. Therefore the fulfillment of that will must be the source of happiness and the well-spring of life and love. Although a person may die totally destitute, God must bear fruit. God is absolute and therefore God's will must be accomplished absolutely. A person who cannot connect to God's will is like a tree that doesn't produce any fruit. No matter how comfortable he is externally, his inner self feels dissatisfied and longs for the way of true joy. Somehow, the inner self knows that the purpose of life is to live for the sake of others. For example, before he began his spiritual search, Buddha was a prince living in the regal splendor of the palace.
Even though he could have any material thing that he desired, he was very unsatisfied with his life....he was not happy. He realized that happiness was not produce by just gathering material possessions. We can see another example if we observe the structure and function of our body. No organ of our body is existing for itself. Every organ in our body is existing in relationship to other organs. We could say that there is a fundamental principle in the universe which causes everything in creation to live in relationship to something else.
Nothing exists for it's own benefit. Therefore, We could conclude that goodness is accomplished when we live for the sake of others. This is why the way of true religion has been the way of self-denial. God's purpose in creating was to carry out that ideal of living for the sake of others. That is the basic will of God. Thats why if we live for the sake of God's will, we will be living for the sake of others and we will feel true joy and lasting value.
Jesus said, "blessed are the poor in spirit" and "the meek shall inherit the earth". This means that the root of humility is the life of serving others. The secret to win over the evil world is to maintain a humble and meek attitude. This means an attitude of service to others. Jesus also said, "the servant among you will be exalted". Evil never likes to be humble and never likes to serve. To serve others is the action of love. For the sake of love we will give up our life, but for the sake of our life, we would never give up our love.
This is because love is precious above all things. In the ideal world of love, we would all share the same perspective on the things of greatest value and importance. We would not see conflict and struggle centering around our own self-interests. The human culture would be like a beautiful symphony in which we could find our most common basis for human relationship. God's love would be that harmonizing aspect in human culture.
God created an object to produce joy. How important to God is that object? When God's object fell away from him and caused him to suffer so much, even then, God could not abandon his object. God knew he could never be happy without his object of love. So we should realize that we cannot create joy in our mind by ourself. We also need to have a reciprocal relationship with an object in order to produce joy. That's why the reciprocal relationship between mother and child, artist and his art-work, a spiritual parent and spiritual child produces a feeling of lasting joy. When Father gave us the goal of 1-1-1, he was giving us a way to produce ongoing joy in our life. If I just have one child then I have only one joy. If I fulfill the goal of 1-1-1 then my joy is always expanding and developing.
In order to maintain a joyful life we must live for others, to make others happy. We must be joy creators. Someone who lives only for themselves never has the experience of true joy. We should always live for others, always live a front-line life. How much deep joyful content do we have in our lives. Usually, if we experience joy, it is only for a few seconds and then it is over. Last year when the Redskins won the Super Bowl many people in Washington were very joyful. But what about this year? Do we still maintain the same joy from last years Super Bowl victory?
During this tribulation time, we can collect many deep experiences that we will never forget. These memories will become a part of my "joy bank". Whenever I recall some deep memory of some meaningful event, the sense of deep joy and satisfaction is still fresh and new. Always remember if you can endure through hardships with a joyful smile, you can generate new power. Lets collect joyful testimonies for a bright future. Saving people's eternal lives is the greatest and most enduring joy. Therefore, sharing our faith must be the key to the deepest joy in life. So lets receive Father's direction 100%.
3. Prayer without end
First, we should be joyful and next, we should be always prayerful. St. Paul tells us to pray without end. To maintain biological survival can be achieved with marginal effort. However, to maintain a life of righteousness, value and deep-meaning is most important and much more challenging. In order to do so, we need to know clearly the meaning and purpose of life. We need a strong vertical pole goals are plainly stated. We need a clear philosophy of life in order to assess good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness. We have to manage our life so we can avoid producing conditions that would cause us shame. We need to accomplish a sense of true pride and dignity in God which would be a true and valuable life.
Believers need a clear sense of the purpose of the life of faith. They need a sense of unchanging commitment, passionate conviction and the humility to constantly evaluate myself; repenting and making a new start. That's why Jesus told us to pray without end. Through prayer we can accomplish our life of faith and bring it to the perfection level.
The life of unending pray is the life of the True Parents. True Parents change the impossible into the possible, sad things into joy, suffering into glory, disunity into harmony, and hell into heaven. This can only happen through the life of unending prayer. Through the faith of taking action, the power of prayer and the adventurous pioneer spirit, we can make miracles happen. In order to accomplish this years motto (The New Family and The Unified Fatherland) we must strive to the life of unending prayer. Whether we are asleep or awake, coming or going, well-fed or hungry, sorrowful or joyful, we must maintain this kind of prayer life.
If we seek to embrace God deeply through our life of prayer, we will see miracles rise up before us. Without this beseeching heart, God cannot answer our prayer. The attitude of our prayer should be the same as a baby crying out for mother's milk and mother's love. It should be like a thirsty man crying out in the desert for the cool taste of water. This desperate longing of heart is the essence of true prayer. Conditional, gratuitous ritualistic prayers are difficult for God to answer. We must, therefore, assess our life of faith to see if we have within us this deep heart which is passionately seeking the intimate embrace of God. The two eyes of prayer should be looking toward the highest ideals, like the sun.
The lips of prayer should produce hopeful sounds, like a spring breeze. The heart of prayer should be a clean conscience, like a green meadow. The life of prayer should be the structure of our life like the foundation of the earth.
Prayer without end also means that we shouldn't give up and lose hope that God will answer your prayer. We can consider the story of Domonai. He was a descendant of Genghis Khan. Domonai was a warrior. His army was badly defeated in one battle. Domonai had to flee for his life from his enemy. He hid for a period of time in a broken down, shack. He had really lost all hope for the future. At that time he began to notice one small tiny ant that was struggling up the wall carrying one grain of rice. The tiny ant was trying to reach the ant-hole which was half-way up the wall. Domonai watched carefully as the tiny ant made 69 failed attempts to reach the ant hole until finally on the 70 attempt the ant accomplished his goal. This tiny ant gave Domonai such great hope and inspiration to go on. Later he reformed his army and, like the ant, he was victorious. So don't give up. God will answer you. One prayer cannot accomplish God's will. If we continue, we will get success.
4. Thankful Mind
Finally, St. Paul told us to maintain a thankful mind. In everything give thanks. A person without a thankful mind is a sorrowful, empty person. That person is like someone who is in a coma. He isn't aware of the full reality around him. The faith which does not produce a thankful mind is a dead faith, an empty faith. The person with a thankful mind is a beautiful, noble, gracious and forward-thinking person. We would make a very serious mistake if we thought that the only time we need to feel thankful is once a year on Thanksgiving Day. The Bible says, ".....in all things, give thanks". One of the challenges of the life of faith is to maintain our thankful mind even during times of great suffering and difficulty. Usually people like to compare themselves with those that have a better situation then they do. Through that they feel they are also deserving of that better situation.
For example, if a person hears that someone received more money for doing the same job, heimmediately feels he should get more. This is how most people think. But the thankful mind never thinks that way. The thankful mind only compares with those who are less fortunate than myself. The thankful mind concludes, "I should get less".
If we are going to compare ourselves with others, we should compare ourselves with the starving children of Somalia. If anyone could complain about his life after considering their real plight, it would be very hard to trust that person. We must know that even the starving children of Somalia why if we feel that we have license to lose our thankful mind, we are mistaken. That is why if we complain, we immediately lose the possibility to keep intimacy with God.
Think of the life of the past saints who gave their life without having any possibility to meet True Parents and to receive their blessing. They must have an feeling of envy toward us. Probably, they feel, if they could have a second chance to live on earth, they would be far more thankful for the blessing than we are today. How deeply, compared to those departed saints, do we value our blessing and God's will? Can you imagine how offensive it must be for them if we complain about our situation. How much more so for God when he hears our complaints.
In this world the measure of success is measured by the amount of money and power a person has. But in the world of true love a successful life will be measured by the quality of a person's personality, the graciousness of his mind, the true love of his heart and to what extent he is living for the sake of others. How do we measure by this standard?
Think of the life of the early Christians and how severely they suffered for their faith. They were thrown to the lions and yet they were willing to die without regret. They didn't lose their thankful mind. They were thankful that they could have the opportunity to die for the sake of God's providence. Since we joined the Unification Church, how much have we displayed the same thankful heart to God and True Parents? How prepared are we to go through a suffering course and not lose our thankful mind. Many people have survived suffering. But the most difficult test in the true way of religion is to suffer while maintaining my thankful mind. That is the meaning of Father's life in Hungnam and throughout his suffering life course. Father never lost his thankful mind. Therefore, we can never be qualified to lose our own thankful mind. The person with a thankful mind compared to a person without a thankful mind is the difference between heaven and hell.
A person who complains is losing God and moving closer to hell. A faith of thankfulness is beautiful, noble, gracious and guarantees eternal prosperity. A person with the faith of thankfulness will bear fruit a thousand times over. If I give some thanks today but tomorrow I complain, I am living a foolish life. I must endure, day after day, to maintain my mind of thankfulness because the quantity of giving thanks can determine the success or failure of my life of faith.
We have had bad habits in the past. We have had the habit of complaining before I give thanks. We must overcome these past bad habits and styles in order to maintain a healthy life of faith. Even though we may be externally poor, if we keep a thankful mind, we are truly rich. Such a family will always have peace and happiness. The state and city leaders, for example, are working so hard with very little resources, so they have no time to complain.
That means they are happy. A person with a public mission is someone who is externally poor but internally rich. Even a person without a public mission, but lives publically for the sake of others and follows Father's tradition, will be happy. So no matter how difficult our life is, lets maintain thanks in all things.
Father said in 1992 the 7 year tribulation would begin. The most difficult time for True Parents, True Family and our church is beginning. This is happening because satan knows that he will be dying soon. This is his final scream. The evil history is coming to an end and the history of good is now beginning. During this kind of transition time, everything is turned upside-down. St. Paul's guidance is very relevant for us today. This tribulation will end in 3 and a half year. We should go through this time with the right heart and attitude.
We should remember first, that my suffering is never greater that God's and True Parent's. We should have the attitude that I'm going to prison until 1996 or that we are in the middle of a desperate war that will last through this tribulation time. From 1996 we begin to prepare of the Kingdom of 1000 years, which is God's Kingdom on Earth. Because of this we have to contribute our best effort, heart and tears. Let us go on continuously until we arrive at our final destination in our own hometowns with joyful, prayful, thankful minds. Let us march on in 1993 with God and True Parent's directions. Thank you for your help and support in 1992. God Bless you and your family in 1993.
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