Unification Sermons and Talks

by Reverends Saunders

The Profundity of Transcribing Father's Speeches

by June Saunders-NYC

Father's profundity is almost ineffable, and we fumble to express it to others. Yet there are times when the very stones themselves ("sermons in stones"!) seem to cry out with the same words and testify to him, as Jesus told the doubting Israelites that the stones themselves would testify to him if the people were silenced.

I had one experience this summer that brought Father's profundity home to me in a unique way. I live in the idyllic little town of Red Hook, in the seminary environs. There are tire swings on the trees, white houses, red barns, fruit falling from the trees, and the young people tend to be friendly and respectful. At times it seems to me I have somehow stumbled upon a time warp and am walking down the streets of Small Town, America around the turn of the century. I can hear the clip-clop of horses, I can feel the ambiance, the church-centeredness of community life, the closeness to the earth, the wistful purity and simplicity that is America at its very best.

This spring there were blossoms everywhere and to amble down the quiet side streets of Red Hook where there is a Civil War-era graveyard was to enter into a dream-like state.

However, this summer there was a dreadful stabbing murder right downtown on the main street. The town was up in arms and everyone was shocked and frightened. For weeks the atmosphere was so punctured that people walked around with dour faces. "It will be a little less happy place to live now," said one resident, accurately.

But all things pass out of mind and consciousness and over the weeks, Red Hook's ambiance reasserted itself. I went back under its spell until one day I was walking along with my children, admiring a bright bevy of spring flowers, when the very ground seemed to cry out to me in anguish: "I am blood-stained! This is blood-stained land!" I was several blocks from where it had taken place, but, of course, the earth is one. The memory of the murder and of Father's words rushed back to me.

I have had the honor of transcribing and editing many of Father's speeches. Father' has referred numerous times to a 200-volume set of his sermons which exists in Korean. Hyo Jin Nim has also mentioned at Belvedere that he has studied some of the material himself. Both Father and Hyo Jin Nim assured us that there is ample material for guidance within them and enjoined us to learn Korean. Father, in his mercy, has decided that the very wondrous and profound guidance from his weekly Sunday sermons starting in 1953 on should be translated into English. It is an enormous concession and grace to the English- speaking world.

When I first heard that such a volume of work existed, my fingers contracted with desire, and I said to myself, "How I'd love to get my hands on that as an editor!" And I prayed to Heavenly Father that if Father ever, ever, by any chance had those 200 volumes of sermons translated into English (I never thought he would) I wanted to be the editor.

Now that wish has come true and these rich and profound speeches, most of which deal with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, are now being made available in English through the HSA-UWC publications department.

In one of the speeches I had been working on, Father had repeatedly referred to this "blood-stained" land. He was referring specifically to Korea, but of course, all of the earth is one. It is round, it is whole, it is connected. All land then, since the death of Abel, is really blood-stained. But in the sleepy little town of Red Hook, that is sometimes hard to fathom. The ideal of life seems closer than the horrendous reality of the fallen world. But when the very ground called out to me with Father's words, my complacency was shaken.

We go along and become inured to the travails of life unless they touch us directly. But Father does not become inured. He hears the cry of the blood-stained land, crying since the time of Abel. He feels it, and he preaches about it, and he takes action to restore it.

I believe that these books of Father's sermons have the power to revitalize the American movement; therefore, they have the power to revitalize America through us. When I have used Father's prayers at the beginning of each sermon as the material for my own prayers, even reading the prayers aloud in substitution for my own fumblings and grapplings toward communing with the Almighty-I have felt a unity and connectedness with other members that lit up hearts. I have felt the grace of God pour down upon my altar. I have literally felt myself in front of "the Father's knees" as True Father put it, bathed in the whiteness of His robe, cowering before the throne, not daring to lift my face, begging to wipe my tears on the hem of His garment, begging if I might kiss one stitch on the hem of His garment.

We are now working on Volume 3 of the speeches. Volume I is now available and Volume II is being printed. Each Volume contains about 20 speeches and so far all of them have been about Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. This is wondrous witnessing material for anyone who deals with Christians. Father's heart-and-bone relationship with Jesus, his enormous praise for Jesus, his analysis of the heavenly accomplishments of Jesus, and his ability to bring you right into the streets of Jerusalem, gazing into Jesus' eyes through Peter's, reaching for the resurrected body with Mary Magdalene, would deepen anyone's relationship with Jesus Christ.

Father's depiction of Jesus' heart and pain is the most vivid and detailed we have ever heard. Many intricate theological points are thoroughly explained-about the Trinity, about why Jesus said he was the "way, the truth, and the life" and many other points. For anyone who has ever misunderstood our teachings about why and how Jesus' mission is considered to be incomplete, using the harsh word "failure" in an erroneous fashion, these sermons stand as a great correction. The full tragedy of the death of Jesus is elaborately explained and re-explained with enormous empathy, respect, and sorrow for the man Father calls God's "hero of the Word." More than God's son, Father tells us that Jesus was the very body of God, God's love incarnate. He carried the very heart of God in his heart, and he knowingly achieved accomplishments he knew would resound for thousands of years-before, after, and during the crucifixion.

I see Father as he was in 1953-a young man, in his prime, Jesus' age, impassioned, with a great deal of pain and a great deal of hope. He is speaking very much to the Korean-Christian foundation for the reception of the Lord of the Second Advent. He is not declaring himself; he is pointing out the need and the way to prepare.

I really pray that members (and non-members, especially Christians) can read these books and glean from them how terribly much Father loves God and Jesus-and how terribly much the heart of God and yes, the earth itself, cry out to us to right the awful wrongs through the great grace of our era.

A sample from Father's prayers:

"On our hands and feet are the scars left by Satan's arrows, and in our bodies we carry the battle wounds. So, Father of compassion! Please extend Your divine grace to hold our hands and feet full of the scars of Satan's arrows, to grip our wounded bodies, to apply the oil of life on us, and to wrap our bodies with the bandages of resurrection. We yearn for a word of counsel, so Father, please advise us. We desperately desire it."

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