by Rev. Young Hwi Kim
December 11, 1984
I'm happy to celebrate this day with you. As Karl read the history of the German church I was thinking that Peter didn't choose this day very well. If he had chosen the summertime, more people could have come to celebrate. December isn't such a good time to have a big meeting, and thus few people are here today. More people should have come to celebrate this day. I'd like to suggest that, since Father first spoke publicly in Europe on August 1st 1965, we should celebrate that day as the founding of the European church. Then we can have bigger and better celebrations in the future.
We learn from history that whenever something new is started the initiator must pay a high price. When Peter Koch came to Germany he suffered much in order to lay a foundation for God's church. It is important to maintain the same spirit of sacrifice throughout one's entire mission. It's easy to start with strong determination and a good spirit, but extremely difficult to maintain over a long period of time. One reason we celebrate this day is to renew our determination and connect to the original spirit with which Peter Koch started his mission in Germany. Each one of us must reflect upon this and restart our work. This is why we are here.
First I would like to reflect upon how God sees this day. Is God happy to celebrate this day? I don't know how you feel. Some of you may feel that God is happy, others may not. Can we be proud of the present situation of our church in Europe? Can we be proud of ourselves; our lives, our faith and our activities before God and our True Parents? Unfortunately it is difficult to feel that God can be proud of us, that He can be happy seeing our church today.
The purpose of establishing a church is to give God's words, God's love and God's heart to the world. So the first ones to receive these things should be our members, not outsiders. Our members must learn God's truth and heart and be equipped with God's love before they can spread them to the world. If our members don't possess God's love and heart as they should, we must repent. We must apologize to our Heavenly Father. Our True Parents have suffered so much for our sake, for our families and our descendants and to give us the heavenly tradition. Our church should show the world the example of God's love and His way of life, but sometimes we see the opposite in our church, things God doesn't want at all. Church leaders and elders should give God's words, heart and love to the members but sometimes this isn't done. Who should take responsibility for this? We leaders must take responsibility. When leaders do well, members have a good example to follow. On the other hand when leaders make mistakes, the whole movement suffers.
The position and work of leaders is so important. It's not easy to be a leader. Sometimes I think I'd be happier if I could follow as an ordinary member, then I wouldn't suffer so much. When I was moved from my position as president of the Korean church I was happy to be relieved of my burden. Actually, as I have already told the German members, I wanted to work in home church, but Father sent me to Europe. Just because I am president of the Unification Church doesn't mean I am entitled to enter Heaven. If I don't fulfill my home church responsibility, as president I will have an even worse destiny. I came here at Father's request. I couldn't resist. I had to accept his request. I must confess though; it isn't easy to be a leader.
If you block your members' path to the Kingdom of Heaven, they will accuse you forever. Even if you do well in your own life, if you lead others astray, you will be held responsible. You may be able to conceal your mistakes in this world, but in the spirit world you can't hide anything. Everything will be revealed. There is nowhere to hide. Your members will remember exactly what they experienced in their relationship with you. You must always be aware of this. Members have the right to receive God's words and guidance that enables them to become good members. Leaders must set a good example for their members. How can we expect them to follow us otherwise? Whatever we do for our members, we will receive from them or someone else in return. I always say that there is no credit without payment; if we borrow something, we must pay it back. The Bible teaches: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This means that we should treat others as we ourselves would like be treated. If you hate someone, you will be hated in return. This is the principle of restoration through indemnity. There is no exception; it makes no difference whether you are a church president or a young member. That is why we must be so careful. We cannot say we acted out of ignorance. That's no excuse; our sin remains.
There is a Korean folk tale that illustrates this lesson well. It is about an old man, his son and his son's son. The grandfather was so old he couldn't move or walk. He lived with his son's family and they took take care of him. After a while though, he became such a nuisance that his son thought of taking him out in the woods and letting him die. So he put his aged father on his back on a kind of rucksack frame and, along with his son, went up into the mountains. There he laid the old man down and told his son to return home. The son started for home, taking the rucksack with him, but the father said they wouldn't need it anymore. The son replied, "But I'll need it when you get old!" Upon hearing this, the father repented and brought the old man back home. This is a good story to keep in mind. It is short and humorous and expresses the lesson "you reap what you sow" very well.
It is difficult to put this teaching into practice, but if we keep it in mind, our church will become happier and brighter. We should feel that our members are a part of ourselves, not separate. This is what our True Parents have taught us and what Heavenly Father expects of us. We must truly create a family of love by working together and feeling, "I am not here for myself." If we just work for ourselves, we easily make mistakes, but if we work for Heavenly Father, True Parents, our members and the church, we won't make mistakes so easily. Our motivation is the decisive factor, whether we are self-centered or centered upon God and the welfare of family members. The initial difference may be small, but it makes a big difference in the end result.
We often seek revenge when wronged, but the Bible says we should leave it in God's hands, that He will take care of it. If we do something to get even, the situation will continue endlessly. So we shouldn't think of vengeance. God is aware of everything we do. Sometimes we do evil things, God knows that, but He doesn't punish us immediately. He waits for us to repent and change instead. If we don't repent though and continue doing evil, when the amount of evil reaches its limit, He punishes us. Until that time, however, He perseveres and waits for us to change. So we should do the same.
Germany is one of the four major nations in God's providence. It is the only European nation in such a position. I have often asked myself why Germany was chosen. I'm not a historian, but when I briefly examined German history? I noticed that the Germans had a cosmopolitan spirit in the past. I don't know how strong that spirit is now, but in the past it was quite strong. So as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the German Church we should have the attitude that we want it to exist for the benefit of all children of God, not just Germany. Children of God come from every race and nation. This is one reason why so many foreign members are here working for God. We are building God's kingdom, not a human kingdom, so God should be able to come and go freely. This also means that every child of God should be free to come here and live with God and the people in peace and harmony.
We all know that Germany caused much grief in recent history. To make up for this we must build the Kingdom of God in this nation and spread a positive influence to Europe. I think many Germans in the spirit world are anxiously waiting for a chance to participate in the construction of the Kingdom of Heaven in Germany. We must resolve their resentment, thus freeing them to work for God. This task is on our shoulders; they cannot resolve their resentment without outside help. Our mission is to resolve the resentment of the German people and make this a country where all spirits can freely help build the Kingdom of God.
Twenty years have passed since the German church was founded. The past twenty years and those to come will be different. The past twenty years are precious because we planted our roots in that time. What we have done will bear fruit and influence our future. Today we should reflect on our past. If we made mistakes, we must correct them. Otherwise, there is no sense celebrating this day; God won't be pleased. But if we correct ourselves and change, this day will gain great meaning. Everyone has shortcomings, so we should all examine ourselves, repent and make a new start. Then next year when we celebrate the 21st anniversary we will have a better feeling and be able to return great joy to Heavenly Father and True Parents. A new history begins today. Tomorrow the 21st year of the European church starts. We must make a new start so that God, True Parents and good spirits can work with us more and more to construct the Kingdom of Heaven here in Europe. Thank you.