Monday, January 19, 2015

Honor another Peace-Maker: Martin Luther King

In an earlier blog I wrote about peace makers. 

Since today is a national holiday, where we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, it is appropriate to write about his contribution to peace making.  Here is the link to his Nobel Peace acceptance speech: The Nobel Peace Prize 1964.
We all have heard about Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech and are touched by his determination to fight for that dream.  Dr. King’s greatest contribution to peacemaking is portraited in the recent release movie: Selma.   In Selma we witness a chronicle of Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.

As the story goes, from January to March of 1965 Dr. King along with hundreds and thousands of fellow African-Americans as well as some white folks from the northern states participated in marches between Selma and Montgomery, the capital of Alabama.  Even though the demonstrations were peaceful several protesters were injured and some even died.  Their demands?  The equal rights of American citizens to vote.  Finally, in August, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.

I like to finish my tribute to Dr. King with a quote by the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon who considered MLK “The Greatest American Citizen of the 20th Century.”

“On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, we recall Martin Luther King’s stirring ‘I Have A Dream’ speech which captivated and inspired all of us to put an end to racial injustice and bigotry. We have before us the responsibility of fulfilling that dream. Whether the coming future will bring war or peace depends largely upon our efforts today.”
~ Reverend Sun Myung Moon



Monday, January 12, 2015

You Reap as You Sow

Jesus Christ's teachings hit the very core of this fundamental truth. The more you give the more you receive. God rewards total giving with total love, and total sacrifice with total life. Giving creates room for God's love to enter. The more room and the greater the vacuum created by your giving, the faster you will be filled by the flow of God's love.

To be treated well you must first treat others well. You reap as you sow. Sow evil to reap evil; sow goodness to reap goodness. Your concern should be how to give, and how to give well. As for the return to you, you must trust in God. He will take care of it.

Let us take an illustration of a good man and a bad man. Let us say there is one man who has ten friends. Day in and day out this man is unselfishly serving his ten friends. People cannot help but love this man. He can become the very best friend to-ten people. Then his influence will spread to the relatives and friends of those first ten people. By giving and serving unselfishly this man becomes prosperous. He is a center of harmony and unity because he lives God's principle. Unselfishness brings prosperity. Here is a-good man.

But suppose, on the contrary, this man said to his friends, "You ten, bring everything to me; you are here to serve me." Before he spoke this way to his friends three times, everyone would end all connection with him. They would want to have nothing at all to do with him. So he would be left all alone. Isn't that true, even in our society? It is universally true. A self-centered doctrine, a self-centered philosophy, a self-centered way of life will fling you head over heels down the tragic road of self-destruction. But if you live your life in service to others, you will find prosperity. It may seem that such a route would lead you to ruin, but it will not. The only reason it may not always bring prosperity to you is because you do not give to the very end. In the middle you suddenly become skeptical. You change your heart or pity yourself and thus shrink from God's law of total giving. The good result never materializes. Total giving is the way of prosperity because it is the way of God.

If any individual sacrifices himself for another individual, he becomes a hero to others. If one family is sacrificial for the well-being of another family, then that family becomes a heroic family among all families. Peoples and nations who sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others become champions of nations. A man who gives his life for his parents is a pious son. A man who gives his life for his king is a loyal subject. And a man who gives his life for all mankind is a saint.

Jesus Christ proclaimed this very truth you are hearing tonight. He strove for the fulfillment of God's truth on earth. He came not to satisfy his nation's selfish purpose, but to achieve salvation for the entire world.

God intended the chosen people of Israel to serve as the prepared instrument of the Messiah for his mission of world salvation. The people of Israel did not know this. They conceived of the coming Messiah as an invincible military conqueror who would restore the political empire of King David for the glory of the Jews. How wrong they were!

God's purpose is not the salvation of any particular man, church, or nation. God's purpose is to save the whole world. Therefore, the true church would give itself as a sacrifice for the benefit of the world. Yes, true Christians must be willing to sacrifice their own lives for the salvation of the world and all mankind. However, Christian teachings today are self-centered. Christians are seeking their own personal salvation. Christians are crying out for "my salvation" and "my heaven.'' This is contrary to God's truth and contrary to God's ideal. We must steadfastly give, love, sacrifice, and live for the sake of others.

We must all work for the ideal way of life. I exist for my family, my family exists for our society, our society exists for our nation, our nation exists for the world, all the world exists for God, and God exists for you and me, for all mankind. In this great circle of give and take there is harmony, there is unity, and there is an eternal process of increasing prosperity. Furthermore, since in this circuit all existence will fulfill its purpose of creation, there is abundant and profound joy. This is the Kingdom of Heaven, in which feelings of happiness overflow.

In this world, selfishness ruins everything. Selfishness in the family causes disharmony, which then erupts into bitterness and strife. Everyone wants to be served instead of serving others. Wives tell their husbands what to do and then seek to be served. Husbands want to be served by their wives. Parents expect service from their children and the children take their parents for granted. This is demonstrated in our families, in our societies, and in our nations.

In this world today the nations are existing solely for their own national interests. They plot, connive, cheat, and lie. They destroy other nations for their own national benefit. Is there even one nation on earth which pledges to God, "God, you may use this nation as your sacrifice and as your altar, if that is the way you can save the world?" Tell me, where is such a nation? Where?

It is a recognized fact that when America demonstrated the spirit of service and sacrificial duty in the world, and went out of her way to help others in their need-when America gave lives, money, and a helping hand-she enjoyed a golden age. But now America has a selfish attitude. The domestic problems today are very difficult. America's situation is chaotic. Today there are greater divisions, more corruption, and graver problems choking this land.

I am not criticizing any people or nation. I am merely proclaiming the heavenly truth that all mankind is seeking.

I started the Unification Church. If this Unification Church exists solely for the benefit of the welfare of the Unification Church itself, then it is doomed to perish. I founded the Church so that I could give my life, my heart, and my soul for the advancement of the salvation of the world. Among this audience there are many members of the Unification Church. Their great desire, their only motivation is to serve others, to save this nation and the world.

Jesus did not teach his disciples laws of retaliation. He told them, "... if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; ... and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." (Matt 5:39-41) You never have to retaliate; all you have to do is completely and totally give, and then God will return to you more and more abundantly.

When Jesus was crucified, Roman soldiers pierced him. And Jesus prayed for his enemies: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) Even at the moment of death on the cross, Jesus was so earnest in forgiving. His very last act was motivated by his love for his enemies. He was the supreme form of giving--a paragon of love. The example of Jesus Christ is the absolute standard for all mankind. Just imagine an entire nation composed of Jesus-like men. What would you call it? The Kingdom of Heaven on earth: it could be nothing less.

Jesus Christ was lord over all life because of his unparalleled form of loving, giving, and sacrifice. He will remain the Lord forever. In the same way, no one in this universe surpasses the total giving and loving of God. So God is God forever. He reigns over all creation.

Look at the decline of Rome. The entire Roman Empire collapsed in front of an army with no weapons, the army of Jesus Christ. By what means did the Christians conquer Rome? They conquered by love, sacrifice, and total giving, up to the cost of their very lives. History is a witness that no empire can withstand the army of sacrificial love. And this history shall be repeated.

Up to now in our lives we did not know clearly the definition of good and evil. We could not be certain where to commit ourselves, when to act, what to serve. This has been the source of the greatest confusion in human lives. We must not become the Christians who merely crave their own well-being. As Christians, we must live the life of Jesus and give ourselves totally for the benefit of others, so that others might have life. This is God's way.

This present world is evoking the wrath of God. It truly deserves His uncompromising judgment. But God is love, and He is long-suffering. God is suppressing His anger because He wants to save us. He is giving us a chance to change. He is waiting.

I know that Western culture is characterized by individualism. However, selfish individualism is doomed. Sacrificial individualism will blossom. Individuality in itself is good. God gave each one of us a unique way to serve. But individualism without God can only build castles on the sands of decay.

Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon: God’s Hope for Man – Lisner Auditorium, Washington, D.C., October 20, 1973

Monday, January 5, 2015

Who are the Peace Makers?

Last month I wrote about "peace by any other name."  This time I want to elaborate some more on the nature of peace makers.  Making peace is an action; it is not just enough to love peace or declare peace.  It is an ongoing task to bring reconciliation among all people and show them a common denominator (ideal).

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."

What is the Nature of a Peacemaker?
·       Acts as a servant leader
·       Adopts the discipline of the parent/leader
·       Becomes a mediator between the physical and the spiritual realms
·       Brings reconciliation among all religions
·       Empathetic to others, and willing to help
·       Encourages compassion/communication
·       Exercises spiritual muscles
·       Has the innocence of a child
·       Lives in the present moment/the NOW
·       Lives by the heavenly rules and values
·       Opposes violence
·       Practices obedience to God, the parent
·       Resolves conflict among followers
·       Speaks the truth
·       Takes responsibility for mistakes
·       Teaches atonement
·       Understands human nature 

Jesus is a Peacemaker
The words from the Beatitudes by Jesus show us the essence of the New Testament.  Jesus taught us that God is our Heavenly Parent, who can unite all His children.  Jesus was not only a great teacher but he was the utmost example of a Son of God by demonstrating how to live and how to love.  With His compassion He took upon himself the role of a peacemaker, calling all of us to follow his standard.

Throughout the ages there were many who called upon the goodness in mankind and demonstrated a better way of life.  They made an important contribution and brought us through the dark ages to a time of greater tolerance and unity.  Here are some people who made a great impact for peace in their country and with that for the larger good:

“Women are, in my view, natural peacemakers. As givers and nurturers of life, through their focus on human relationships and their engagement with the demanding work of raising children and protecting family life, they develop a deep sense of empathy that cuts through to underlying human realities.”
~ Daisaku Ikeda (1928), Japanese Author on Buddhism and leader of Soka Gakkai.

“Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds.”

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Leader of the Indian Independence Movement

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”
~ Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India (1917-1984)
"One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means."
~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (1928-1968),  American Pastor and Civil Rights Leader

"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
~ Peace Pilgrim (1908-1981)  American Peace Activist

“People respond in accordance to how you relate to them. If you approach them on the basis of violence, that's how they'll react. But if you say, 'We want peace, we want stability,' we can then do a lot of things that will contribute towards the progress of our society.”
~ Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), South African Apartheid Leader and President of South Africa

“Forgiving is not forgetting; it’s actually remembering--remembering and not using your right to hit back. It’s a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly important. Especially if you don’t want to repeat what happened.”
~ Desmond Tutu  promoting Ubuntu.  Ubuntu (philosophy) is an ancient African word meaning 'humanity to others.'

"The order of existence in the universe is rooted in acting for the sake of others.
The world of true peace, true love and the true ideal is both the ideal of God's creation and the desire of humankind.
Therefore, the origin of happiness and peace lies in living for the sake of others."
~ Sun Myung Moon,  (1920-1992), Korean Religious leader, author of Philosophy of Peace

Sun Myung Moon is a Peacemaker
Rev.Moon has lived his whole life promoting peace.  It has been his deepest desire to teach mankind that we are God’s sons and daughters and as such are meant to live together as one family.  He has revealed to us the heart of God which is broken because of the way we live: fighting wars, living in strive, killing and conquering each other.  He has inspired members and leaders around the world to overcome differences in religious beliefs, cultural traditions, political opinions and scientific viewpoints to find the common denominator through his conferences and rallies.

The following video was recorded in 2012 and portraits the life and works of Rev. Moon.

“Rev. Moon has emerged as a great peacemaker and unifier on the world stage. He is a leading force for interreligious dialogue and understanding between people of all backgrounds, and for global peace and security.”
~ Alexander Haig, (1924-1990) former Secretary of State (59th)

Our greatest challenge today is to resolve the conflicts among people of different opinions and viewpoints.  It is not just enough to fight wars with weapons, overpower another country with strategies or battle the enemy.  By recognizing the spiritual nature of man, we need to develop that spiritual quality and absorb each other’s resentment and ill feelings.  We can exercise our spiritual muscles with forgiveness and tolerance.  By accepting each other for who we are and seeing the “Christ-consciousness” in each other peace can be a way of life.  It can only be possible when we see each other from God’s point of view, the view of the parent looking down on His children.  On the world scene politics have taken the upper hand over religious practices.  Or religious opinions have taken the liberty to dominate other’s beliefs rather than demonstrating the mastery of their principles by manifesting acceptance, forgiveness, kindness, tolerance, and other forms of love.

Even science has now confirmed that we are hard-wired to have a relationship with God, the creator.  That connection lays in the foundation for internal unity between mind and body.  Even those who are not looking for a spiritual experience like artists, athletes and inventors have had profound ‘aha’ moments where they could encounter an internal peace.  For most of us these kind of ephemeral moments come and go. 

Here is an historical example of how enemies can make peace: 

I like to finish with the words of the song by John Lennon:

“Imagine there's no country,
It isn't hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.”
John Lennon, British musician (1940-1980)