The Words The Kwak Family
The Tradition: Book Two is now in preparation. It will cover internal aspects of True Parents' tradition.
In preserving the tradition of our True Parents, we need to be concerned with the practice of Sunday service; in particular, we should learn from Father the importance of weekly sermons.
A sermon is not simply a part of the Sunday service; it is the opportunity for a leader to educate his members and give guidance for their eternal lives. Leaders who give a sermon regularly each Sunday are wise to make a week-by-week sermon plan for the year. If the congregation is composed primarily of young members, the main purpose of education should be preparation for the Blessing. Young members should quickly become strong in the precepts of the Principle in order to be able to witness to others. They especially need guidance on how to apply the Principle in their daily lives.
For a sermon topic, a leader might reflect upon his own early days and recall what he needed when he first confronted and struggled with certain points of faith. He could even consider the problems that face him today and use his sermon to teach not only the members but himself. How can a leader generate internal guidance when he himself needs it? He should dissect the struggle that confronts him, examining it in the light of the Principle and True Parents' lifestyle. A leader should focus primarily on teaching brothers and sisters how to reach the goal of attendance. Although every person has to walk the path himself, teaching the meaning of attendance -- toward God and True Parents, the True Family, our spiritual elders, and brothers and sisters -- is the real substance of "internal guidance."
Many members claim to already know the Principle. Because they have heard it so often, they feel they don't need to hear it again. This attitude creates many problems in one's life of faith. All members, including leaders, need to constantly refresh themselves in the Principle -- to understand the basis of each precept and how to use it effectively in life. Those who feel that study is no longer necessary do not understand its value. A leader can make the Principle exciting, make it come alive, through a well-prepared sermon.
If the congregation is comprised mainly of blessed members, the leader should focus his sermons on building the ideal world. Here, too, the emphasis should be on following and inheriting the tradition of True Parents.
Prior to each of the five Holy Days, as well as the other holidays commemorated by our church, a leader can help the members prepare for them by explaining their significance. Speeches that Father has given on those days are excellent reference material for sermons.
Leaders should realize that the sermon, the songs, the Bible reading, and every other aspect of the Sunday service can bring tremendous benefit to brothers and sisters. Not only the leader but each individual should be encouraged to feel that in attending service he is making an offering of himself. Leaders should help members be aware of God's instructions to Abraham to divide his offering. To successfully "divide" ourselves, we need to separate the evil from the good within our mind. In this sense, Sunday service is a time for repentance. Through repenting, a person can check if he harbors resentment or self-centered motivation. Without repentance, attending a service does not have the richness and meaning it could. Members should be encouraged to take this time to cleanse and renew their hearts, but it is even more necessary for the leader to repent in prayer before conducting the service and delivering his sermon.
Father has prayed intensely with tears for each member he guided and cared for. No doubt he visualized them and received spiritual inspiration about what each person needed to nurture his or her faith. The early Korean members testify that they felt an unexplainable urge to go to church. By the law of spiritual gravity -- because of the sincere motivation of Father in wanting to care for them -- they fervently desired to go to church service, despite the difficulties they may have faced with their own family. They considered the words of True Father to be of great spiritual magnitude, coming directly from the heart of God. In the same way, a leader who prays for the people in his congregation -- those both inside and outside the movement -- may discover that they are spiritually drawn to attend church every week and are eager to listen to the message of his sermons.
Like Father, a leader must become a pure channel for the spirit and love of God. Some leaders may prepare their sermon in a methodical way, typing it out or making note cards and practicing before a mirror. Some leaders may want to speak extemporaneously. Either way, the truth of God and His love can shine forth only if the most important ingredient in preparation has been included: prayer. Without fervent, even desperate prayer and sincere repentance, a leader cannot be assured that he will be a free-flowing channel for God to use. Prayer is the key.