The title of this morning's sermon is "Love Forever." Do you like love? More than you like to eat? More than becoming successful? Certainly, "Love Forever" is a fitting title.
Although you can say that God exists, perhaps you feel, "So He does, but what does He have to do with me? And what do I have to do with Him?" The relationship may seem to be distant to you. You might think about God's qualities, such as His omnipotence and His omnipresence. Those are qualities which people often think of first when they think about God. But just knowing these things does not make us feel closer to God. In fact, some people think, "I don't particularly like the fact that I have no privacy before God and that He has power over my life!"
There is one quality of God, however, which automatically draws us closer to Him and that is His true love. Don't you feel good when you think that God loves you?
Many times young people think, "My parents are the ones who always tell me what to do and what not to do." Especially in America, the relationship between parents and children is often strained. However, we have to realize how important our parents are to us, particularly their love. Even though as children we were spanked and disciplined, we feel grateful as adult for their care and concern for us. Children want to tag along with their parents, even though they may have just been spanked and are crying. They feel they cannot live without their parents.
What about school? Is there anyone who enjoys having to study hard and take examinations? Even though such things are difficult, they help to prepare us for the future. A good teacher will always push his students to apply themselves and study hard, yet the students do not hate their teacher. They know that he is trying to guide them toward a good relationship with society and the world. Thus, students feel a bond of love with their teacher, even though he may punish them if they don't study.
The love of a teacher and his guidance can in fact serve as a bridge to connect us with the world. The certificate of graduation from the teacher becomes a token of his love. In that sense, the teacher is in a special position, one which is different from the parents. If a parent signs a paper testifying that his child is a good student, it doesn't mean so much to the rest of the world. But when a teacher signs such a certificate, it has much more credibility.
School is like the first gateway or connecting point to society and the world at large. We go to school and do the best we can to conform with the teachers' expectations. Through that experience, we find a new kind of love, a type of relationship which is not found within our family. The love between students and teacher is a different kind of love; it represents the love within the community, the society, and the world. That is the way schooling ought to be. A student ought to be motivated and inspired by the care and concern of his teachers. Through our schooling, we should grow in our own concern and love for the society and world. This is how beautiful and how valuable school is meant to be.
Are there many schools like that in America? No matter how well-educated a person may think he is, if he does not feel any love towards his country, then there was something deeply lacking in his education.
The American citizen who loves his country will be concerned about what the President says and does. Whenever the President makes an announcement, he will want to hear it because he knows that whatever the President does has a direct connection with him. That is a noble way to feel. We should feel close to the President because both he and we, as citizens, are very concerned about this country. We always hope that whatever the President does or says will make a contribution of love for the country.
By loving our country, we can eventually be qualified for a certificate signed by the President declaring us a patriotic citizen of America. A teacher cannot do that. It takes the head of the country to sign such a declaration of patriotism. Isn't that true? The teacher sends us on to the level of the nation, and the national leader sends us on to the level of the world.
Eventually the world will have one leader, like a world president, instead of the current situation with so many countries divided against each other. Without a doubt, history is moving in the direction of one united world and one world president. Such a world leader might sign a certificate to testify that a particular individual has loved and served the world, thus declaring that that individual is worthy of going beyond the world. We would call such a person a saint, since he had reached that high level of worthiness.
Our topic today is Love Forever. Many people are not so certain that God exists since they can see so much evil in the world. Many people think, "I don't really know whether or not God exists, but if He does, what has He got to do with me?" This is a very basic point, philosophically, politically, socially, as well as religiously. Whether or not God exists and what He has to do with each of us is a very important question.
If there were some certificate which a person could receive, showing that he knows clearly that God exists, it would be much more valuable than a certificate issued by any university on earth, more valuable than any Ph.D. Although people often do not realize it, there is nothing more important than knowing whether or not God exists and how to relate with Him. This is certainly more important than eating, loving our spouses and families or any worldly or temporal matter. Knowing God is the most important of all our activities. Do you agree?
If it is really true that knowing God is the most important activity of our lives, then the most important kind of understanding is religious understanding. If this is true, how much tuition are you willing to pay for that kind of training? This question can be answered by each individual: how much are you willing to pay for the course that will teach you about God? Suppose you owned all the land in the United States-would that be enough to pay for such a course? No, that wouldn't be enough. How about the whole world? Even if you owned the whole world and were willing to give that, it still wouldn't be enough. The truth is that this kind of training is priceless, beyond anything in the world.
Can you Moonies say that you know God exists, without any doubt? How do you know that you know God? Just saying that you have some feeling about God is not enough of an answer. The only sufficient answer to that question is this: "I know it by my own experience." One's own experience of God is the key-thus your mind, your heart and feelings as well as your five senses must all know God by experience. Do you really know God in that sense?
Which is more likely: that we can relax in bed and think about God and through that come to know Him? Or to work with great pain, balanced on the edge of failure and success, gaining the victory and through that coming to know God? Certainly in the second situation you will be able to know God because you will be able to experience His reality directly. Knowing God requires going beyond one's physical limitations.
Can each of you say that you have had these kinds of experiences of going beyond your body and soul? Do you pray to God for success and lots of knowledge and power? Once you know that God exists and you understand the power of prayer, then you must humble yourself and obey God. Do you like the idea of obedience? Normally people do not like that. God understands; He knows human beings. He knows that people have tremendous ambition, needs and desires. That's the way people are made, so don't you think God knows it?
When a little baby is crying, his mother can give him a bottle and he will quit crying because his needs are satisfied. By the same token, don't you think God knows what is needed to satisfy you when you cry out? God knows that you won't be satisfied by any amount of money, knowledge, or power but only by the "milk bottle" of true love. Once people are fed by that, they are fulfilled and they quiet down.
This is a serious point. Do you really know that this is true, or is this still just a concept to you? If God is omniscient and omnipotent, He knows that people do not easily succumb and become obedient to anyone. Thus,
don't you suppose that God has already thought out how He could receive the full response from mankind, as His object? He has thought, "What can I give to people so that they will be only too happy to obey me?" Can He give people golden nuggets or diamonds and say, "This ought to make you completely happy"? No, God knows better than that.
God's love is as real as a diamond. Is that true to you? Certainly the knowledge which you gain through the Principle is special; through that understanding, you gain new power in your relationships with other people. But beyond that realm you must experience God's true love. Until and unless you experience that, you cannot say, "I know who God is."
From this perspective, the teachings of Jesus become very clear. He taught a lot of seemingly paradoxical things, especially in regard to love. On the one hand, he said, "You must follow me and love me more than anyone else." On the other, he said that there is no more valuable love than for one's neighbor. He also said, "If you want to live, then you must give up your life." All of Jesus' words have one basic teaching: love is of the utmost value. That is why Jesus' teaching was so meaningful and had such historical impact. Love is also what you are learning from me. Do you understand?
Are you determined to invest your entire self for this one goal of experiencing God's love? Are you really willing to give everything, including your time, your money? On a purely personal level, what are you willing to give for the purpose of finding God? What about your eye? If God's dispensation needed your eye very badly, would you be willing to give it to Him? How about your nose? This is not in the realm of concept; this is flesh and blood reality.
You must ask yourself very seriously, "What have I got to invest? What does God need from me?" Before God can give His approval to our creativity, we must ask God what He needs. The most important thing that we can give to God is our love. Will God be interested in any sort of false love? Will He say, "Well, since there is no true love, I will accept false love"? No, not at all. Have you reached the level of true love yet? If not, when are you going to?
This is a very serious question indeed. How do we distinguish between false love and true love? We can observe whether someone is motivated for himself or for the sake of something larger. False love is self-centered whereas true love is public. This is the reason God has always taught mankind to give love and live for the sake of other people.
This has been God's endeavor since His dispensation of restoration began-to teach mankind true love. Do you understand? True love is more than just one's thoughts or one's feelings. True love is living for and even saving others. That is the only way true love can be found. In that endeavor, God Himself can be found. You will never find God in any other place; but wherever a person is working for the sake of others, God will be working there, too. God works through such a selfless individual, family, or country.
With that yardstick, it's very simple to distinguish between false love and true love. If you are evaluating two people, you can judge which one thinks more about others and which one thinks more about himself. That is the criterion. God will always raise up those who are on the side of true love, bringing them higher and higher, while those who are on the side of false love will diminish below God's domain.
Even though this sounds very simple, it is a crucial point which people in history have never fully realized. The most learned and intelligent scholars never had this criterion. But now you know it clearly; now you have the formula which always works. This formula goes beyond the individual level and can be applied to the national level.
Suppose there is a great war going on, with hundreds of thousands of people fighting against each other, as in the American Civil War. If you were living then, you could apply God's standard and you could discern which side was the truer one and which was on the side of falseness. In other words, which side would God favor? You could clearly judge that the side which was fighting for the largest purpose was the more righteous one. Abraham Lincoln was leading the North for the purpose of equality between black and white people; that was definitely a much more public and lofty purpose than the other side's.
In our own times we can see this principle in action. There is the communist world, centered on the Soviet Union, and the democratic world, centered on the United States. The side which thinks first about the welfare of the world and the realization of one world without borders is in the superior position to the side which just thinks of itself and its own interests.
The fact is that communism at least espouses a world view while the United States has been in a very self-serving position for many years. Therefore, God might be inclined to support the communist side, except for the obvious fact that they deny His reality. Therefore, which side will God support? Since the democratic world is not complete, He will supplement it through the Unification Church. Through the Unification Church, the democratic world can stand on God's side. This is simply because the goal and the activity of the Unification Church is to sacrifice ourselves for the greater and higher entity. We know that God exists in such an atmosphere.
When I started my work for God's dispensation, I was completely alone. Then many capable people started to follow me and joined the Unification Church. Many were good, philanthropic and Abel-type people, some of them with worldly power; but as time went by, many were washed away. However, I have always remained. That is because I will always be true to the final goal. I have never compromised or deluded myself about this. That is why I am where I am today while so many capable people have given up. I have been working all this time, intensely loving God with the determination to continue forever, alone, if necessary.
Even with this court case, I have continued to confront the government single-handedly. But the Principle is alive and God will take the righteous side. What determines the righteous side? The righteous side is the pure, public side. If I am thinking in a more public way, then I will win. If America is thinking in a more public way, then it will win. It's as simple as that.
America is coming against me now and rejecting my efforts to help it, so it is in the position of my enemy. But the commandment says, "Love thy enemy," which is precisely what I and the Unification Church are doing. We are more than confident that God will support us; we know that as a reality.
Someone might challenge me, saying, "Reverend Moon, your teaching is too far-fetched." But there are others who say, "No matter how many oppose you or misunderstand you, what you say is right." Why do we do the things we do in the Unification Church? Why do we fund-raise and witness, for example? We do those things because they are the most public ways of living. Therefore, God will take our side no matter what.
Even though I am in the middle of this court battle, most of the time I do not even think about it. My mind is concerned with working for the largest goals of our movement. I couldn't care less about the court case, in the individual sense. I know clearly that God loves me.
What kind of standard are you going to live your life by? Can you say that even if you have to sacrifice everything most dear to you, including your spouse and family, you will continue to go this way and work for the cause of God's love? As the leader of the Unification Church, I am sacrificing for the sake of the world; therefore, as members, you are being called on to follow my example. I love Unification Church members very much. Are you going to follow in my footsteps? Why? Everybody wants to experience and share true love; there is no exception to this rule. We want to achieve this kind of love forever.
You do not need help from other people to know what degree of genuineness you have achieved. You must analyze yourself and then adjust yourself accordingly. In that sense, you don't need any further education: you know the goal and now you just have to pursue it, investing everything to achieve it.
Knowing that goal, it's very foolish to look around to see whether or not other people see you doing the right thing. Likewise, what is the sense in saying, "That other fellow is not doing the right thing, so I'm not going to, either"? Why do I always push you to go out and work hard for your missions? I know very well how difficult your life is, so why do I always push you harder? It is because all of us want to dwell in true love forever.
We can clearly understand that God always follows this rule and law, the law of public life. If we also do that, then God will always be with us, helping us. That is exactly where God operates. Thus He will have no more need to command us; if we are in that position, God will automatically come to be with us. In other words, at that point we will be dwelling in true love. Every time you come to Belvedere, the basic point I teach you over and over is simply this: to live and sacrifice yourself for the sake of others, to become more public-minded. Why is that? When you do that, God will be with you. When He is with you, you are in true love. It is as simple as that.
Because I love the members of the Unification Church as my own children, I give the best advice and teaching to you. I know there is nothing children hate more sometimes than their parents telling them to do this and that, especially if they don't understand the reasons. The heart of a teacher or a parent is the same: even though he knows the students or the children don't like it, he always tells them to work harder so that they can succeed.
As a matter of fact, every human being will have to receive certification from the True Parents stating that he is indeed a child of God. With that kind of certificate you can go anywhere in the world and be respected. Do you need that kind of certification?
Let me ask you a question: how many times have you complained since joining the Unification Church? Even though a person might not be a chronic complainer, still everyone complains at times. Let's bring it out in the open. Those of you who never complained against me, raise your hands. I don't believe you. Maybe I didn't give you a strong enough push! For me to appear in public is not as simple as you might think. Communists are very much aware that the Unification Church is a major obstruction to their goals. Perhaps one day soon, I will have to give these sermons by telephone or television.
When I lost my beloved son, Heung Jin, it could easily have been a source of complaint for me. But I have an iron-clad rule; as long as I can say, "My head is still connected to my torso," in other words, as long as I am still alive and breathing, then I can say, "Heavenly Father, I am grateful for that." I have already dedicated my life to God, over and over again. It belongs to Him and He can use it any way He wants. Therefore, even if I lose my life or one of my children's lives, that is up to God. When we lose someone precious, it is all right to weep if he died in a public way; but if he did not, or if we just cry for our own sake, that is not all right. As Unification Church members, we must have the attitude to never cry except from the public position. I especially must live that way.
There is nothing I am afraid of. I may lose the Unification Church itself all of a sudden. If so, I would start it all over again. I am confident that I could do that and it would become bigger than it is today. When I have that unswerving determination and confidence, God will always come to take my side, helping me to accomplish my task. Nothing is impossible for God. That is the standard of the truth.
A Unification Church member might say, "I have worked in the Church for such a long time and it has been so hard, more than anybody can imagine." But I will not buy that; I do know what it is like. But as long as you still have your life, how can you say that you have done enough? It's as simple and as clear as that.
This is why the Unification Church is great. We follow the age-old rule of absolute dedication. This rule never changes in history; it will continue to work for the rest of time. I know that. Have you really come to appreciate this? For whom is love forever? We must be able to say, "My true love is for God and mankind and my True Parents. This is my own true love."
When we master that love, God will become our closest friend. We can climb up on top of God; we can ride on His back; we can become truly one with Him. God is vertical and we are horizontal, but then we change positions, and one becomes vertical and the other becomes horizontal. So long as we maintain ninety degrees, that's all that is necessary. Then we can move around and around.
This is where happiness is; it is nowhere else. The person who has this quality of relationship with God is the happiest on earth. The king of happiness is the one who is living with that love of God. At that point, he couldn't care less about worldly knowledge, power and authority or money. The only thing that matters is the omnipotent love of God. Truly the only knowledge we need is knowledge about love.
How do we have dominion over the world? We have dominion by love. In true love a person never minds being controlled by the beloved; he only wants more and more of that sort of domination. Within your marriage relationships, do you women want your husband to love you in a relaxed, weak way? No, you want him to love you with his fullest power.
God is streaming into the very cells of your body. How can you not feel close to Him, knowing that He will be with you 24 hours a day, just as long as you work publicly? We must know that God is not a concept; He is not anything less than love itself. All He wants is to make us the perfect objects to Him as the perfect subject.
Thus each person must be proud and recognize his or her privileged position. Imperfect as you may be, God Himself wants you as His loving object. That is indeed our privilege and our authority and that is the value of every human being.
Be immensely proud and hopeful in this year of 1984. Let us all swim in the great big pool of God's love. And let us win first place in the marathon race of love. How wonderful it is to have love forever! Those who are determined this morning to become the perfect object to God, raise your hands. God bless you.