Embracing Innovation: Spreading the “Breaking News” with Today’s Technology
October 30, 2011
Good morning brothers and sisters here in New York City and across this great country. Welcome to the West Coast, the blessed coast, the East Coast, and the Northeast, where a nor’easter unexpectedly hit (We had 24 inches of snow last night, even before the leaves were off the trees!). And welcome, brothers and sisters, in large congregations. In Los Angeles this morning our District Pastors are meeting, and they’re joining the congregation in watching today’s sermon at a movie theater. We have brothers and sisters in congregations all across our great country – in the Midwest, in Chicago and other cities, and in small homes. We’re an amazing congregation, so welcome, everybody!
Did you enjoy True Children’s Day and Foundation Day? Wasn’t it wonderful to see our True Parents. Father probably gave the shortest speech ever? But even so his and True Mother’s incredible love shone through.
I also bring greetings from our senior pastor, Rev. In Jin Moon, this morning, to all of you across America.
My theme this morning is how God works in unexpected ways in our lives, whereby we have to become flexible and open. Who’d have thought that Elvis would come to church? Our church is ever changing, ever growing. One thing I’ve learned is “God is totally out of the box.” Anybody who thought God was a boring figure in the sky with a long gray beard – uh, uh. No. Actually, God is dynamic. He’s young. She’s innovative. And we have to be that way, too.
Surviving “Hellfire and Damnation”
God is working in incredible ways in our lives, and we need to be open and flexible if we are going to be able to hear and experience God. I know that many of you are young too, and you also have young children. We should never underestimate what our children are thinking about. When I was seven years old, I went to a Catholic school. My family lived in the island nation of Mauritius, which is in the Indian Ocean, and I was schooled by Sister John, who looked like an eagle. She had sharp, piercing eyes. God bless Sister John. And she didn’t miss a thing.
I was just seven years old but I didn’t miss a thing, either. What I understood was that in order to go to heaven, one had to believe in Jesus. But what if you never met Jesus? What if you didn’t know? In this small island nation the people were very diverse. We had Muslims and Hindus. It was once a French colony, so we spoke French and there were French people there. So there was Catholicism, Hinduism, and Islam. At seven years old, I began to wonder, “What if you’re a really good Hindu? Can you go to heaven?”
Sister John talked about hellfire and damnation. I’m sure that in Catholic schools today it’s not like this, but at that time it was, and I remember my older sister, Vivienne, used to have tremendous nightmares about hellfire and damnation, and I began to wonder. So one day I was very brave and put up my hand in Sister John’s class. I said, “Excuse me, what if you’re a really good Hindu and you do everything Hindus are meant to do? You love your family, you love your children, you serve others. Can you go to heaven?” And of course Sister John said, “No, it doesn’t work like that.”
And I had this huge ah-ha moment, a realization dawned on me, “Wow, my heart is bigger than God’s because I’d let them in!” That’s the sort of things that seven-year-olds are thinking about. That’s why we’re a family church, and it’s so important as parents that we’re talking to our children about things that matter. That’s what I began to wonder about. And as I stayed in school, I just continued to wonder why this religion can’t answer all of my questions.
Searching for God, in and out of Catholic School
Then we moved back to Great Britain, and I continued in school. Then at 11 years old I failed the Eleven-Plus. Anybody from England knows what that means. It’s like an SAT for 11 year olds. It was a multiple-choice standardized test, and I do terrible on standardized tests because I have a creative mind. When the test gives a problem whose answer is A, B, C, or D, I’m going, “It could be A. On the other hand, it could be B if this were true, and wait a minute, no, C.” So I’m spending all this time trying to work out under what circumstances A, B, C, and D could be correct. Needless to say, I did dismally.
Of course after anyone fails the Eleven-Plus, the British system would require that the student go into vocational education. So my parents said, “We’ve got to do something about this,” and they sent me back to Catholic school, where there was a Sister John Michael who taught the religion class. I had lots of questions about religion by this time because it clearly couldn’t answer the questions I had about God and faith, but I studied hard. I was the only non-Catholic in the school, and I became top in religion. I was so proud, but they couldn’t give me the prize because I wasn’t Catholic!
I began to really question God and faith. My parents couldn’t answer my questions, the nuns couldn’t answer my questions, and I began to dabble in or study about world religions. I was on the slippery slope toward atheism. Then I hit college and that just about did me in because, in addition to nursing, I minored in anthropology, a discipline in which everything is relative, right?
I was struggling, “Does God exist? What is God like?” But it’s amazing to me. God was surely with me when I was seven years old in that class, even though I couldn’t necessarily feel that or know that. Looking back (they say hindsight is 20-20), I realize God was right with me all along, God was with me as I struggled with all the questions I had about my faith. He was beside me, encouraging me, encouraging me to ask questions, asking me to delve deeper – to find Him, actually.
Encountering the Principle, True Parents, and God
So I graduated from college, and I was still searching. I just kept searching. Once when I was going to a conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, from London, I bought a book at the store to read on the train, and it was the most unusual book. It was a history of the lives of nuns from 500 A.D. to the present. It was a series of excerpts from their diaries and personal accounts. I started reading it and was so engrossed by their lives. At that time, I was pretty much a social activist – give me a cause, I loved a cause, and I still do. As I began to read this book, I realized these women had found the ultimate cause: God. I discovered how amazing their lives and thoughts were, and how amazing what they were pursuing was.
On that train ride I began thinking, “I wish I could believe in God. If I could believe in God, I would become a nun!” When I got to Edinburgh, my friends met me and invited me out with them. I said, “I just want to stay home tonight. I’m reading this really good book right now and I want to finish it.” They said, “But, Heather, you’re an atheist. What kind of book is that for you to read?” In fact, I was intrigued. I realized that even though I had all these questions and didn’t have answers, God was beside me, guiding, coaching, and leading me. And a year later I had the privilege to meet the Unification Church in California.
I’m so grateful to God and True Parents for leading and guiding me in this way because all of my questions began to be answered. At first I was like, “The Principle is great. Too bad it’s got this God thing in it!” I began to think that if God exists, this must be what God is like. The Principle was beginning to explain God to me. I thought, “There’s nothing more important than for me to pursue this in my life.”
So began my spiritual journey with our True Parents, and that has led me all over the place, just as it has led you – through amazing circumstances. Sometimes True Parents have asked us to do incredible daring things, but it’s good that we’ve had that opportunity because it’s in the face of difficulty that we find ourselves and we find our relationship with God.
In one of True Father’s speeches, when he talked about being in a North Korean concentration camp, he said he missed those times. But that’s such a bizarre thing for someone to say. How could you miss being in that suffering situation? Of course, he didn’t miss the North Korean communist camp, but what he did miss was the kind of tight, intense relationship with God that you experience when you put yourself on the line, when you just step out and connect. That’s what he missed.
I’ve experienced that in my life too. Sometimes we’ve been asked to do things that require us to take a leap of faith, as it were. In 1992 our True Parents asked us to take the Divine Principle and the truth, the breaking news, out to 120 nations. I’m sure many of you went on a journey just like I did. I missed the meeting where we were allocated our countries and had a friend pick up the little slip of paper that identified my nation. Our family’s nation was Vanuatu. Where in the world is Vanuatu? That’s what I asked.
This may be funny for some of you who are young, or not so young. This was before the Internet. Can you imagine life before the Internet? So I went to the Ossining library and I asked, “Where on earth is Vanuatu?” The librarian searched and searched and could not tell me, because it used to be called the New Hebrides. But actually for those of you who know the musical “South Pacific,” that was set in Vanuatu. So here I was, off to the South Sea Islands. Sounds wonderful, right? Except I didn’t really have the money to go there, I had little kids, and it was all very complicated. How would I do this?
This is where I took a leap of faith. I asked a very important question, which was not, “Can I do this?” or “Can I not do this?” That’s like a yes–no answer. Many times in our lives we’re asked to do something and we say, “Well, can I do it?” Or we’re afraid to do it and we say, “I can’t do it.” Actually that’s asking the wrong question.
I began to pray and think, “How can I do this?” And immediately I started asking “How,” instead of “Can I or Can I not do this?” Everything opened up. My friend Catherine Nelson called me up one day and said, “Are you going to go to your nation? I was thinking maybe you don’t have the money. I’m wondering if I could lend you $3,000.” That’s what friends are for! It takes a community, doesn’t it?
Finding Barry Noel
And so began the long journey to Vanuatu. I’d never been a foreign missionary before, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do. We had a World Mission Department, so I called them up and said, “I’ve been assigned to Vanuatu and I’m wondering how to contact the missionary in that nation.” They replied, “Well, we sometimes we hear from him. He may be there, or he may not be.” I said, “What am I supposed to do?” God bless the World Mission Department. They said, “Go be a missionary”
I thought, “Go be a missionary!” So I got on a plane to Vanuatu and landed, but I didn’t have anywhere to stay. This was before the Internet so I couldn’t go online and check out all the places that I could stay in Vanuatu, but I did find somewhere to stay. And I began to think, “You know, God has known me all my life. God knows who I am and where I am.” When I was seven years old, God knew me as that little troublemaker talking about heaven and hell. God knows who we are and where we are.
I sat on the bed that night in this little room with no furniture, just a bed, and thought, “God knows who I am and that I’m here. And God knows Barry Noel, the missionary to Vanuatu. And more importantly, God knows where he is. I wonder if God could connect us.” So I prayed, and my prayer was, “Heavenly Father, if Barry Noel is on this island, I want to meet him tomorrow at the post office at 11 o’clock.”
So the next morning I got up, had breakfast, wandered around, and went to the post office at 11 o’clock. There on the steps was a Vanuatu man, who was black, and a white man. And I was thinking, “That could be Barry Noel.” But I wasn’t sure, so I went a little bit closer and closer still, until I could see the infamous ring. I thought, actually that all makes sense. God knew who I was and where I was, and God knew who Barry Noel was and He brought us together.
So I waited until they finished their conversation, I approached him, and I said, “Excuse me. Are you Barry Noel?” And he looked at me, shocked, and then I said, “My name’s Heather Thalheimer. I’ve come from America to help you as a missionary.” He said, “It’s amazing that you came today because in three hours I have to leave this country and we might never have met.” See how good God is?
So in those three hours he took me around to visit the three people who were studying Divine Principle at that time. We got into a rickety taxi that was so scary and went to three houses that were hardly houses, and he introduced me to the people I would spend the next 40 days with, studying the Divine Principle. It was such an awesome experience that brought me closer to our Heavenly Father.
Sometimes we have dramatic experiences and sometimes we have less dramatic experiences. It isn’t always in the dramatic that we meet God, but it’s often in our everyday lives, when we just acknowledge that He’s there. In that way, too, we can grow, develop, and deepen our faith.
The Development of the Church Service
I have realized that God is so innovative, always changing, and things are always changing. That’s why it’s so important to study history. In our family, we’re all history buffs. We’re addicted to the History Channel. We would rather watch a documentary film than a drama, romance, or comedy. We even have favorite wars. Our favorite war is World War II. It’s not that we want war, it’s just that World War II is the most awesome, incredible war if you’re going to have a war to study.
We have a tradition that the day after Christmas we watch Band of Brothers, all day. We get up in the morning and start with Episode One and go all the way through to the last episode, which takes 10 hours. We bring in food during the course of the episodes and we fall in love with the 101st Airborne all over again because we love the “Band of Brothers” – the brotherhood that those men forged in the face of difficulty, the incredible victories that they won.
In our family we love to study history. Studying history is so important because it gives you perspective. Without knowing history you could think things were always this way – that nothing ever changes. By studying how things have changed in history, you can get an idea about how things might change in the future, and it can help you to become more flexible, more open to that change. Often we shy away from change because change is scary.
We’re gathered today in a church, but this church looks very different from the early Christian church. I have been studying about how churches do church because I’m very interested, thanks to Lovin’ Life, in how church is done. In the early Christian church, of course, they had to witness in the Roman Empire, and they began to do church in the homes of wealthy people. Did you know that for the first 1,000 years of church, people stood up for the church service? If you go to Eastern Orthodox churches around the world today, you will stand up the whole time in church, although the service is two hours long. They stand up in church because the church was modeled after the Roman home.
In medieval or Norman churches, there is a huge area where the congregation gathers, and that was modeled after the atrium in a Roman home, which didn’t have a lot of furniture like there is today so people would just stand and talk. At one end of the atrium, one or two steps would lead up to a platform, and on that platform would be a table and chairs where the master of the house would sit with his sons, while the father and sons would do business. In the middle of the area would be a butcher’s block. Are you beginning to see a church? – the altar, the chairs at the side, and the congregation in the atrium. That is the model for the early Christian church, and it was kept that way for hundreds of years.
Then somebody who was innovative said, “Hey, what if we put benches in church and we all sat down?” Aren’t we grateful for whoever that innovative person was? But can you imagine the reaction of the early congregants? “Sit down in church! That’s not so holy. That’s not how we do church. That doesn’t feel holy. To be holy we must stand.” Right? It took time for them to change and start sitting down in church.
True Father’s Innovative Vision
Then more innovation came. David Eaton is writing a book about music, and he told me that in the early church everybody sang a cappella. There were no musical instruments because instruments were associated with bars, taverns, heathens, and people having fun: “We shouldn’t be having fun, right, in church?” Maybe that was the thought. And then someone said, “People love organ music. What if we bring organ music into church?” Can you imagine the reaction of the priests? “Whoa! That belongs in the bar, in the tavern. How could you bring organ music into the church?” And yet today when we think of organ music, we don’t think of wild music, we think of religious music because the organ became associated with church.
And in the Middle Ages people began to make beautiful stained glass windows and put them in the churches. Part of the reason for that is the church wanted to stimulate people’s hearts, to enable people to have an experience with God. As the sun would come through the beautiful stained glass windows, people could feel something in their hearts about God. This was before everybody could read, and so almost nobody could read the Bible. But if you go into an old church, you’ll see all these beautiful stained glass windows portraying the 12 stations of the cross, the stories in the Bible. There are pictures of Mary and Martha sitting at Jesus’ feet. And in this way visually people began to understand the Bible and learn about Jesus.
We can see that over time the way we do church has changed. But if we think about church today, we get stuck: “Well, it’s meant to be always like this.” And, who would have thought Elvis could be at church, right? Or we hear the holy songs and think, “Yes, that is religious music.” But can you imagine how sad God is when He’s only hearing holy songs? He probably gets bored!
But, where did the holy songs come from? They came from brothers and sisters and our True Father, who all wrote songs about their experience with God, with each other, and with life. These became our holy songs, and we sang them over and over again. Through that process they were identified as holy songs that would be sung on Sunday.
But not so many years ago our True Parents asked, how come nobody writes songs any more? Actually God expects us to continue to create and to be innovative. In fact, our True Parents have lots of questions about church. I think sometimes Father is so much a man in the future, a man before his time, if you like. I’d like to give you an example of that. This is from Father’s speech on July 6, 1978. Some of you weren’t even born yet. It was just before I met the church, when I was trying to figure out if God exists.
Here is this innovative man from Korea who is so out of the box, so wanting God to be dynamic and work in our lives. In his speech to the Go World Brass Band in England on July 6, 1978, he said, “We will begin an electronic church. I have a plan underway to witness through broadcasting. Nowadays people do not want to go to church. They want to stay at home, but they still want to worship if they can. I have already invested a million dollars in the Manhattan Center to make a good studio.” That’s this very place where we stand today.
Our True Father is so forward thinking: “We will show good musical performances, together with a good sermon for half an hour or an hour, and distribute tapes of this performance all over America and the English-speaking world, both on television and on radio.” Does this sound familiar, brothers and sisters? “Then no one will have to go to church. Our sermon will be 100 times better.” Have sermons gotten better with Rev. In Jin Moon? Oh, man.
We can be proud Unificationists. I remember when our international president, Hyung Jin Moon, came downstairs to the Hammerstein Ballroom a couple of years ago. His message was that we have to be proud Unificationists – proud of our faith and who we are. And now because of the work of True Children supporting our True Parents’ vision and mission, we can indeed be extremely proud.
Father is such a businessman, too. He said, “We will ask people to send contributions so that we can make even more tapes. Now we are making investments, but later we will be making money. Then we will build our own broadcasting station, like Studio One. The day for just building the church is already past.”
We’re always going to need community. We want to come together as brothers and sisters, but it’s amazing how God is working. We have to keep pace with the times. We have to be open and flexible because if we’re not, history can pass us by. We can get stuck in history.
Father continued by saying, “You will have a direct connection with this project.” How direct is it? We’re in Lovin’ Life right now! “When your performance is successful, you will become an important part of the electronic church. We need many band teams, even as many as 40.” So bands around the nation, keep practicing, because we need your band!
“Each team will make a live video recording that will introduce you to the public and to the television stations. If you’re selected to perform twice yearly, that will be enough to pay your own way. In this way the broadcasting providence can be expanded to all different countries. As our standard goes up and our spirit becomes greater, I would like to add dancers to the groups.”
Now wait for this next sentence. “This will be hot! Now we are beginning to organize this spiritually. After England is organized, then France, Germany, Italy, Spain will all organize their own teams. We will go on and become very active in this way. The band will also be a good recruiting station. The best people will be picked up to play for the New York City Symphony. You know, we have our own performing center in the Manhattan Center, once a famous opera house that we are now restoring.” Isn’t Father’s vision incredible?
Wait for this next one: “We are opening up a new age where we are witnessing to the truth with music.” This is why I love Sonic Cult, and I love In Jin Nim’s vision for Sonic Cult. What an outstanding performance today. I’m so proud of my church, and want to witness for my church. I’m saying, “Come to church; we have the best band!”
And you know what’s going to be amazing? When they go live, when they make recordings and become a famous band, people will listen to them just because they love the music. Then people are going to ask, “Where do you come from? What inspired you? What does Sonic Cult mean?” It’s an ingenious name, right? There’s so much power to witness through music.
“Music Is a Window to the Soul”
Many of you may know Pastor Warren from Saddleback Church. He has a successful ministry. He has multiplied ministry all over the globe. He has people going out and serving in many different nations. He was asked recently, “If you could start Saddleback all over again, would you do it the same, or what would you do it differently?” He said, “I would make it a music ministry. If I had my time over, I would make it a music ministry because people think that baseball is America’s national pastime, but I tell you, music is America’s national pastime.”
So we are on the cutting edge, right? Thanks to our True Parents and thanks to our senior pastor, Rev. In Jin Moon, for picking up the vision.
Father said we are opening up a new age when we’re witnessing to the truth with music. He said, “People don’t have to come to the church to hear the truth. They can watch television, listen to the radio, and become Unification Church members. Nowadays music often has no life to it, but when people hear your spirit-filled music more than three times, they will not be able to stop. They will want to hear more and more and they will come to your lectures.” Isn’t that incredible? “Actually music is a window into the soul. When you try these things, you know how to become one with nature.”
And Father went on to talk about music and prayer. He said music and prayer are really close and go hand in hand. “If you play in harmony with nature, your prayers will become harmonized, too. Even though you don’t know what you’re praying, those prayers will be answered.” Just like my prayers in Vanuatu, or the prayers I had in longing to find God. If you’re longing to find God, you will find God because your prayers will be answered.
“When you are sorrowful, as you all must be sometimes, you must shed tears in prayer. When you’re happy, you can smile. In natural prayer you can even be lying down and rolling in the grass. Prayer can happen anywhere, any time, any place. Harmonizing with nature and creation is the way to pray.”
That was preached in 1978. We couldn’t afford to buy this building today, but back then because of Father’s vision we could buy the Manhattan Center, the New Yorker building, and the Learning Center at 43rd Street, and these three buildings could become the hub of a magnificent ministry here in New York City that now has the power to spread around the world.
Today’s Technology and Today’s Vision
In the time of Rome, just imagine if Jesus could have been received, if he didn’t have to go the suffering way of the cross. There was a saying that all roads lead to Rome. That also means that all roads lead out from Rome: The roads led out all over Europe and the Western world at that time. Imagine if Jesus’ message could have been taken in his own lifetime throughout Europe and into the Western world and east through Russia and into Asia. Imagine what a difference that would have made!
But now we’re living in the time of the breaking news, the time of the Lord of the Second Advent, and what better way than to use the modern-day road, the Internet, to get the breaking news out all over the world? It doesn’t matter if you’re a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian or an atheist. This message can touch every corner of the globe because it’s broadcast out. That is the vision that our True Parents had in 1978.
I was speaking with David Eaton, and he said that at that time the vision couldn’t be realized because we didn’t have the technology. There’s an immense amount of technology that goes into broadcasting today’s sermon out across America. People are up at 3:00 a.m. or even midnight getting this beautiful place ready. The kind of technology that goes into it is way beyond me. Luckily we have people on our team who understand all of that, and because of that we can get the breaking news out across the world. It’s so amazing.
But it took more than just the technology, I’ve got to say. It took also the profound visionary leadership of True Children, of our senior pastor Rev. In Jin Moon. I’m so grateful for her visionary leadership because this speech that was given in 1978 could have been forgotten. It could have just lain in a pile of speeches on a bookcase somewhere, but In Jin Nim grabbed that vision and ran with it. Even when people were saying, “What are you doing, bringing benches into the church?! Organ music? Rock bands?! Is this religious? How can you have a religious experience listening to rock music?” We can. Absolutely we can.
The three songs before the sermon are preparatory, just like in these words from our True Parents – music and prayer are really close and go hand in hand. As we listen to the songs and watch the lyrics on the screen, our mind begins to go to God. Think of some of the rich lyrics this morning, about how God is always by your side. And you prepare your spirit then to receive the sermon. This music ministry is so important, as are all of the innovative things In Jin Nim has brought through Lovin’ Life ministries.
“We Have To Be Constantly Innovating”
We had so much fun last night at the costume party. I heard there were costume parties all around America, and we have received beautiful pictures from Atlanta and from parties all across America. For the dancing and for making church fun, I just have to say, “Thank you, In Jin Nim.”
For many years I was involved in youth ministry, and there was a notion, especially in the top leadership, that whenever you brought anyone together, you would speak to them for a minimum of three hours – or that’s what it felt like. But actually we need to come together as community. We need to have fun together. We need to share our lives together. And part of the way we do that is through music, dance, fun costume parties, small groups, and affinity groups doing the things we love. I heard in North Carolina there’s a firearms small group. You can do anything you want in your affinity group so long as you’re doing it together with God and with each other.
We’re opening up church so it can touch our lives, and the music is very much an important part of that because music can touch our souls. Bono said that when you play music you’re really opening up your soul to receive God. That is the important part that music plays in our lives.
I’m so grateful to our senior pastor, and the amazing thing place that Lovin’ Life Ministries takes all of us. Of course the vision comes from our True Parents, as we’ve just learned. And then In Jin Nim had the vision to say, “Let’s make Lovin’ Life Ministries,” but she couldn’t have done it without all of us because we’re the people in the community who make it happen. So she’s grateful to each and every brother and sister who is building Lovin’ Life Ministries, and it just requires our creativity. The possibilities are endless. We have tons and tons of interesting small groups. We have a million ways to express our pride as Unificationists.
I don’t know how many Boy Scouts are in the audience today, but now we have created a Unificationist religion medal so that as a Boy Scout you can express your pride as Unificationists.
It’s up to us. The possibilities are endless. In our communities we can make the church that we’ve always desired to have, a church where God is fully in our lives, God is part of everything – that is what is expressed through Lovin’ Life Ministries.
Our senior pastor is truly grateful to each and every one of us, and the communities reflect our spirit. As I mentioned earlier, Los Angeles worships in a movie theater. True Father will be so happy because that was his vision in 1978. And what better place is there to do church? Sometimes young people don’t want to go to church because it feels unfamiliar, or sometimes you look at a church and it looks so dark and there aren’t windows and it doesn’t feel comfortable. But everybody goes to the mall these days. And when the movie theater is in a mall, it’s really easy to go there and easy to invite your friends there.
When you have a performance like you had today and you see that on a movie screen and it’s big and it’s impactful, it’s like the modern-day stained glass window. All of it reaches you visually. If we want to reach America, we have to be constantly innovating. Today everything is so media saturated that if what we have is any less than stimulating, it won’t even be noticed. We have the most incredible truth on the planet. The Divine Principle is as relevant today as the day it was first written down. But if it’s just a book, it won’t get read.
What if it’s an app? A DP app? What if we make movies about Jesus’ life that express what the Divine Principle teaches us about his life, so his heart can be understood? What if you want to study True Parents’ words in the morning on the way to school? You could just click the HDH app and start reading. What if? Actually, it’s up to us. We are the people to create that. One person doesn’t make a movement, but we together with our True Parents, with Hyung Jin Nim, our international president, and with our senior pastor, Rev. In Jin Moon, we can make stuff happen.
Each of us is variously talented. Don’t be afraid of change. It’s so easy to want to hunker down and keep standing in church. Or it’s easy to say, “We shouldn’t have that kind of music in church. That organ music, I don’t know about that.” But we need to flow with the times because although the message is eternal and unchanging, the medium is contemporary. Yes. God wants to reach every single human being on this planet, and to do that we need a broadcast church.
One Family Under God
Also, one thing I think the broadcast church has done for us is make us much more of a family. Before we would worship in our individual locations and we would receive lots of great messages, but lots of different messages. But now we come together on a Sunday morning and we hear one message, and we’re all having give and take with the same message. We’re all dialoguing about the same thing. And different themes come up through these messages and we have a chance to talk to each other.
I have friends in California and Atlanta, in Wisconsin and Chicago, everywhere across the United States and the world and we can talk about the same things. We can talk about things that matter together. And by worshipping together as families, too, parents and children hear the same message so that when we go home we can dialogue together, and together we can grow.
I don’t know if you’ve read the book The Tipping Point. It takes so much to build when you’re creating an organization or initiative or a movement, and if you don’t reach that tipping point, you can’t expand to a truly meaningful level. We need to reach the tipping point; in order to do that, we need to dialogue about the same things. We need to hear the same messages. And I’ve got to say, under True Children’s leadership we are understanding more than, ever our True Parents’ heart. Don’t you agree?
I read many of True Father’s speeches over the years and now I read them again. I go back to speeches from the 1970s and 1980s and read them again, and am like, “Wow, that is what he was saying at that time.” I have a different window into True Parents’ heart because True Children are not only their spiritual children, they’re their biological children. The True Children are able to understand a deeper realm of True Parents’ heart and share that with us. So we have a deeper, more profound access than ever before to our True Parents. So I’m so grateful and proud to be a member of Lovin’ Life Ministries and to be a Unificationist.
In leaving you this morning, I want to encourage you to be open and to be flexible. Next time you see something new and you’re thinking, “Why is it done like that?” think of the benches. It took 1,000 years for people to sit down in church. Let’s not take 1,000 years to love Lovin’ Life Ministries.
Please allow God to speak to your heart and mind, and know that no matter how far away from God you may feel in any one particular moment, God is right there beside you. And God is answering your prayers, or in the process of answering them. What if I’d given up when I was still searching? What if on that train ride to Edinburgh I’d thrown that copy of the book out the window and said, “Who cares, whatever.” What if I’d done that?
But even though I didn’t believe or I couldn’t believe or I struggled to believe, there was this little thing inside of me, that part of God inside of me, that God could use to reach me. God could keep trying to catch my heart and soul, and I had the great blessing and good fortune to meet our true Parents.
I hope that as you go from service today you will go out and think about who you can share with, whose life you can touch – because someone, too, is waiting to meet our True Parents. Thank you very much, brothers and sisters. Have a great and blessed week.