Unification News for September 2002
In Memory of Jin Joo Ellen Byrne
Jin Joo Ellen Byrne, 1984. 2002
It is with a painful mixture of profound regret tempered with fierce pride and respect for her devotion that we must announce the passing to spirit world of Jin Joo Ellen Byrne, one of our youngest volunteers on the STF program in the United States.
While fundraising in Charlotte, North Carolina, Jin Joo was abducted and killed by a young man just three years older than herself, in a crime that shook the entire Unification community in North America and became national and international news.
Although the soul-searching for how this could happen will long continue, Jin Joo’s parents, Martin and Izabella Byrne amazingly encouraged everyone to share their own deeply faithful view that, somehow, God could use the loss and sacrifice of this precious young life to accomplish his greater purpose.
Her Seung Hwa was held on September 4th, 2002 in Washington DC in an emotional national level ceremony attended by more than 500 people. She received the rare honor of an ascension title from True Parents, Daughter of Goodness and Beauty, Mansei!
In her short life, Jin Joo lived for the sake of others. She was truly God’s Pearl, and we will always miss her.
Seung Hwa Address
The following are excerpts from an address given by Rev. Michael Jenkins at the Washington Family Church on September 4, 2002.
Brothers and Sisters we have gathered for a National Seung Hwa Ceremony. The Seung Hwa Tradition was originally to begin when True Parents went to the spirit world. However, due to the sacrifice of Heung Jin Nim our True Parents' second son, a World Level Seung Hwa ceremony was initiated at Belvedere and at the Little Angels School in Korea. It is only because of Heung Jin Nim's sacrifice for True Parents that the tradition of the Seung Hwa Ceremony could begin. Based on his dedication and establishment of unity and order in the Spirit world, blessed members can now receive the foundation of the Seung Hwa Ceremony.
Until the establishment of the Seung Hwa the passing of a loved one was seen as a sad occasion in which to mourn. However, the Seung Hwa Ceremony is the celebration of the commencement of one's life as an exclusively spiritual being. According to the Principle, the Seung Hwa Ceremony is to be regarded as more beautiful, enlightening, and joyful than even the Blessing ceremony.
How can we celebrate Jin Joo's beautiful life and understand the meaning of such a tragic moment? How can we gather strength, meaning and value from this precious child who True Father has immortalized as God's "Daughter of Beauty and Goodness."
To comprehend this moment in time let us relate with God and bind ourselves to God's infinitely deep heart of love. Let us now connect our hearts to God and our True Parents who have shed an endless river of tears to restore humanity. When we look at God's history we see that the course of Jin Joo is that of God's path. It is a path of sacrifice.
The great transitional moments in history all began with tragedy. Yet in the midst of tragedy God was able to bring blessing and victory. How? When a pure sacrifice could be given God could exercise his authority and power to bring great transformation in the people. This was the course of Jesus, who Saint Stephen stated in the Book of Acts was betrayed and murdered.
Yet in that tragic circumstance Jesus transcended the cross that led to death and opened a path that leads to resurrection that brings life. How did life emerge from death? Because of purity and love. In the midst of his immense suffering Jesus transcended the hatred of the world saying "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."
Love is the power that brings life. Jesus was pure, with no sin or malice. Therefore his purity and sacrificial love allowed him to create a path out of the darkness into life. However, we see that in these tragic moments love is not passive. It must be aggressively applied to the wounds of history to bring healing. Love must be given to allow its full power to shine. Look at Jesus upon the cross. Did God feel an explosion of anger, torment and wrath? Yes, the cross was not a peaceful tranquil setting. The scripture said that from the 6th hour to the 9th hour the sun was darkened and the earth quaked and fear came upon the people. Don't you think God wanted to destroy everything at that moment? So it is natural that during our process of transforming tragedy into hope that we pass through darkness. But Jesus applied love and said, Father forgive them. From that moment of purity and love, darkness was transformed into light.
Such is the testimony that we find with Heung Jin Nim. Out of tragic and horrifying circumstances True Father aggressively applied love and transformed this moment of loss and sorrow into one of life, hope and victory for God. When we first heard of Heung Jin Nim's accident, our collective shock, sorrow and pain was immense. Many of us were there at Belvedere when Heung Jin returned. Though their pain, shock and remorse was something we cannot begin to understand, True Father and Mother braced themselves and showed absolute unwavering gratitude to God in such a circumstance and proclaimed love and forgiveness for all humanity. True Parents walked this path together with Heung Jin Nim. Therefore the sacrifice, which was pure and selfless became a turning point in which True Father could send Heung Jin Nim victoriously into the Spirit World as a General to prepare the way for the Heavenly Kingdom to come.
As so it is now with Jin Joo. Father has made her Seung Hwa a National Level Seung Hwa. Father, upon hearing about Jin Joo's sacrifice, also said that a National Level Seung Hwa cannot be given easily. If the person receiving such National Level honor cannot be recognized as a person who truly lived for the nation, when they get to the spirit world, they will not be recognized naturally and this title would become a great burden. Therefore she can only be given such a title because, she representing our beloved Second Generation could give her life on the front live while serving the nation. She gave her life gloriously on this great march with True Parents and Hyun Jin Nim into the Settlement Age.
When Father heard about Jin Joo he also said, we should realize that we all make this journey. We are all going to the Spirit World. The question is, with what spirit do we make this transition? It is made with absolute faith, love and obedience to heaven. Is it made while living for the sake of humanity. If it is, then it becomes a time of joy and celebration. This is the case with Jin Joo. Heaven is celebrating now because a saint is now about to arrive in heaven. Thank you second generation for this example for all of history to mark and remember.
This morning we gather in the quiet of this sanctuary to pay our last tribute of respect to this beautiful child of God. She entered onto the stage of history just a few years ago, and in the brief years that she was privileged to act on this mortal stage, she played her part exceedingly well. Now the curtain falls; she moves through the exit; the drama of her earthly life comes to a close and she begins her glorious eternal life forever and evermore.
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