Unification Sermons and Talks
by Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak
Fellow Travelers on a Mission for God
by Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak
This is the address on behalf of the founder given to the participants of the Council for the World's Religions Spain Conference, March 19 - 21, 1993.
As time goes by, and daily reports of both national and international scope appear in our newspapers, it becomes increasingly clear that little is as crucial for the welfare of society than substantial progress in the world of inter religious relations. In no time in recent history has it been more the case that social and international events so pervasively implicate religion, bombings throughout India, the war in former Yugoslavia, even bombings in the heart of New York city. Global tensions cry for peace among religious believers.
With each arena of conflict, with each incident of terror, the whole family of believers suffer, the very cause of God himself is tarnished. Religious strife turns ever greater numbers of young people away from religion only to find themselves imprisoned in the clutches of evil and life-destroying addictions. For the time being, in certain lands such as Spain, the intensity of such tensions and their side effects may seem elsewhere, but all of us know that it is now the nature of the global village that the deep troubles inevitably arrive at our doorstep.
In each case it is just a matter of time, and with each passing day the time grows shorter. Elite religious leaders such as yourselves know this reality all too well, and it is exactly for this vision and integrity that I commend you, and I thank you for substantiating your commitments by coming to work hard at gatherings such as these.
I have portrayed briefly how drastically our world suffers from inter religious conflict and discord. But alleviating disease should not be our only vision for inter religious activity. In truth, the health of every society depends fully on the spiritual health of its leaders and its citizens. For better or worse the vitality and health required lies in the vast majority in the hands of the established religions. So we seek not only some minimal cold war type peace among religions.
We envision a family of religions in each nation sharing the mission of empowering and ennobling the nation's leaders and citizens, and especially our youth. In some areas we must work urgently to prevent full scale war, in others we may be seeking an example or model of religious harmony and the benefits which result in the welfare of a land. You know better than I where Spain is positioned on this spectrum. I know that Spain has long been governed by a strong Catholic majority, but this by no means needs to suggest that even with the ongoing presence of such a majority, that Spain may not emerge as a model nation for others to emulate in its example of inter religious relations.
In recent years Spain has shown itself to be one of the wonderful success stories of increasing prosperity and national order. Perhaps too, through the work of leaders such as yourselves, a similar position may be attained in the arena of inter religious relations. I pray that your work together this weekend may produce an honest assessment of the current spiritual vitality of the nation, and that all of you may commit yourself to ways that the religious world may serve the needs of the Spanish people.
Perhaps many of you may be learning of the Council for the World's Religions and the IRFWP for the first time. As far as the externals are concerned, the nature and scope of its activities, you may easily acquire this through your own study of the available literature. If I may, I would like to take a moment to present some words about the internal history and vision of these organizations, which are now sought after by many national governments and international groups to provide programs and guidelines by which inter religious peace may be encouraged in their respective societies.
First it should be known that this family of inter religious organizations, which includes The Council for the World's Religions, the New Ecumenical Research Association, the Religious Youth Service, the World Scripture Project, and the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace, has arisen from the decades old vision and lifelong commitment of Reverend Moon. Having said that, however, it immediately should be pointed out that the enormous fruits of these organizations grow out of the shared commitment and cooperation of visionary religious leaders from all the world's great religious traditions.
In 1967 Reverend Moon founded an ecumenical organization to work among the Christian denominations in Korea. In the early 1970's as his efforts expanded to the world-wide level, so too did his inter religious efforts. These then expanded to include, not only Christian denominations, but all major world religions. Now as this effort moves beyond its 25th year of extensive investment of both material and human resources, this world-wide, inter religious foundation is well positioned to respond to issues of inter religious relations just as they explode into our lives with seeming overwhelming proportions.
The world is literally crying for a program to guide us out of the age old entanglements and conflict-ridden history of inter religious relations. Fortunately this foundation of experience and commitment has worked quietly and effectively through the years so that it may now respond to the life or death needs of our conflict and terror ridden world.
One most important aspect of the effectiveness of the CWR and the IRFWP is its commitment to authentic dialogue and to cooperation with indigenous leadership. As experts in religion, you all know that each nation and each region have their own unique religious landscape, problems, and possibilities. While there may indeed be universal revealed principles which must be applied in all occasions of restoring peace and reconciliation, from another important perspective no single program is applicable to every situation.
It is precisely because these Unification based interfaith organization are so committed to national and regional integrity that our work has been so successful. Each nation or region provides the on-sight data, interpretations and plans, and works hand in hand with the international network to guide local inter religious relations toward the ideal of harmony. Our recent work in India, the Middle East and elsewhere is guided strongly by leaders and scholars from those regions.
More important perhaps is the fact that this work is and always has been guided by religionists and religious believers, rather than disinterested and non-spiritual "experts" speaking from posh offices in Washington, or Geneva or wherever. This element of authentic faith, of deep love for God, and of humbly seeking heavenly guidance for our course of action is the most distinguishing aspect of the Council for the World's Religions and the IRFWP. For those of you who are new this week, please ask your friends here who have participated in other CWR activities in Spain about this point.
Our world-wide network of over 7,000 believers and leaders from all religions and from all corners of the earth share at least one important thing in common, humility before the one true God of love (by whatever name), and confidence that God himself longs for all religious believers to rejoice together in shared love and prosperity. This effort to manifest in ourselves purity and sacrificial love, and to conform ourselves to the Will of the living God, is the thing above all which holds us fast to this urgent work for peace, and gives us joy to make your acquaintance as fellow travelers on this mission.
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