The Words of the Tully Family
My beloved brothers and sisters…
We are gathered today for the holy purpose of sending our beloved elder brother, Joseph Allen Tully, triumphantly and securely on his journey homeward to the eternal Spiritual World. Joe Tully is a remarkable brother, who has lived an exemplary life of loyalty and dedication to our Heavenly Father and True Parents. Joe celebrated his 40th spiritual birthday earlier this year. 40 years of attendance to True Parents and service to his community and country is itself something of immeasurable historical value. Joe's life of steadfast love and loyalty is an example and inspiration for us all.
Joe Tully is a precious brother, one of our earliest American members… a man deeply loved by our Father and Mother. I stand here on behalf of True Parents, bringing with me the love and gratitude of the entire American membership. Although they could not be here, our International President, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, our National President and Senior Pastor, Rev. In Jin Moon, and the True Family send their warmest love and deepest prayers for Joe's peaceful and harmonious ascension. Joe's life of attendance to True Parents is respected and appreciated by our entire American movement, and countless others around the world.
Joe was raised on the "Big Island," and spent his last 21 years here. His family is joined today by lifelong friends, by brothers and sisters in faith, some of whom have travelled thousands of miles to celebrate and send him on with honor. Joe's life of leadership and service is deeply interwoven with God's providence in America: attending True Parents in their earliest days in this country; teaching the Divine Principle; leading the Victory over Communism movement, the American Constitution Committee, the Hawaii Freedom Coalition, and dozens of projects under the personal guidance of our True Parents.
But those who know and love Joe Tully remember him most for his loyalty, determination, and unwavering devotion to his faith, family, and friends. They will tell you that underneath his tough and strong-willed exterior beats the heart of an absolutely loyal son of True Parents. They will testify that in times of crisis or confusion, it was often Joe who kept his absolute focus on God's will, and became an anchor for everyone around him. While strict in his leadership, Joe was supportive and faithful to everyone he worked with- a man that could always be relied upon.
Joe's loyalty was most evident in his devotion to his wife of 34 years, Sanae. Through Sanae's battle with cancer, and ascension to the Spirit World 11 years ago, Joe's dedication and commitment toward her only increased. Joe and Sanae's fidelity and devotion are no doubt helping to bridge the Spiritual and Physical Worlds, ushering in the era of Cheon Il Guk as True Parents proclaimed. On that foundation we celebrate their reunion in the eternal realm of the heart and spirit.
We know that human beings were created by God to live naturally in two realms. Genesis says that God created man from the dust of the earth, our physical selves, and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and man became a living soul. This is our spiritual nature, endowed by God. Ecclesiastes tells us that "the dust returns to the earth from where it came, and the spirit returns to God, who gave it." Originally these two worlds should be in complete harmony, like our own mind and body. Our physical self is the soil in which our spirit grows through loving family relationships and a life lived for the sake of others.
The end of physical life has been mournful only because as descendants of the fall, our lives have been lived separate from God, and the average person is totally ignorant of the reality of Spirit World. Jesus overcame death through the power of true love expressed in his sacrifice and resurrection. St. Paul asked, "Death, where is thy sting? Grave, where is thy victory?" But even the dead in Christ await the final resurrection through the Lord's return, when they shall rise first, as the Lord comes with his holy myriads. We are now living in that incredible and exciting time.
Today, therefore, is truly a day to celebrate the ascension to glory of a sincere, genuine brother who lived a life of devotion and service. Father has taught us clearly that death is a sacred thing. "It is not," he said, "a synonym for sadness and suffering." It is the last of three great transitional events in our lifetime. Our physical birth marks the first transition, from preparation in the womb into our physical life on earth. True Parents have sanctified physical birth, and our spiritual rebirth, cleansing the stain of sinful, false love and restoring God's original love, life and lineage through the Blessing.
The marriage Blessing itself marks the second great transition in our lives. The third and final transition is physical death, which is, in fact, our birth into eternal life as an exclusively spiritual being. Like babies in the womb who cannot imagine life on earth, we who are living in this earthly world cannot easily understand the spirit world, where we will be reborn in our spiritual bodies, living and breathing true love. True Parents have sanctified physical death through the holy tradition of the Seunghwa Ceremony. "Seunghwa" literally means "peaceful and harmonious ascension." As Father mentioned in his recent providential message:
"The moment we enter the spirit world is the time that we enter a world of joy and victory with the fruits born of our lives on earth. It is a time for those of us remaining on earth to send off the departed with joy. It should be a time for great celebration. We should be shedding tears of joy instead of tears of sadness. That is the significance of the sacred and noble Seunghwa Ceremony. It is the first step toward enjoying eternal life in God's embrace. The moment of death should be a time of greater excitement than that of a newlywed bride going to her groom's home for the first time."
My dear brothers and sisters, let us send Joe onward to his eternal home, confident that his loving wife Sanae, his ancestors, Heung Jin Nim and many righteous elders and saints who have gone before him are joyfully celebrating his graduation from this earthly life, and welcoming him as a holy citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven. The era of Cheon Il Guk has dawned, and having lived his life in service to God and True Parents, Joe can return home to the heart of the one true God.
Of course, we cannot deny that Joe's departure from our earthly presence has left an empty place, where Joe's strong spirit and our warm memories will abide. Most of all our hearts go out to Bumi, Mi Hwa, Jamie, Hyo Ja and David [or… the Tully Family]. We can imagine that your parents' absolute and sacrificial dedication did not make life easy for your family. But if there are complicated or painful feelings now, please accept our profound condolences, and know how deeply your father has touched our lives, and the abiding love and respect that we and countless others carry for him. He will be remembered as a patriot of America, a hero of the Unification Movement, and a devoted son of God and True Parents.
And we can be sure that Joseph Allen Tully is deeply loved, and will forever be remembered by our True Parents. No doubt Father knows Joe's loyal heart. Hearing of Joe's passing, Father immediately proclaimed a national level ascension ceremony for him. Joe has lived his life loving God and True Parents, and they love him. What greater legacy can anyone ask for?
Beloved brothers and sisters, Joe's ascension is a journey we are all destined to make. The question for each of us is in what manner, and with what heart and spirit, will we make that journey? If we can inherit the absolute faith, love and obedience that Joe's life demonstrated; if we can serve God's will and love others as Joe has done, then ours will be as deep and rich a celebration of victory as Joe's is today.
Let us draw inspiration from the genuine character and exemplary life of our dear brother. Let us deepen our own devotion to God and True Parents, whom Joe served with his last full measure of devotion. Let us carry the hope and confidence that like Joe, our own eternal home is in God's heart, and that the life we live is our journey toward that home. Let us appreciate the privilege of knowing such an upright man as Joseph Allen Tully; let us honor a life so faithfully lived, and strive to live our own lives as truly; and let us remember that what is important is not how long one lives, but how well.
As we lift our brother with all our hearts and encourage him on his journey home, we should cast off any burdens, let go of any regrets, and make a new determination together to strive ever more earnestly to realize God's Kingdom here on earth, where there shall be no mourning, nor crying, nor suffering anymore.
Dear Joe, we send you all our love and blessings for your journey home. May it be a safe and steady one. We do not say goodbye, but fare-well, for we know you are close, and before too long, we will meet you on that beautiful shore.