Let Us Thank God
Sun Myung Moon
May 29, 1977
Belvedere, New York
Translator – Bo Hi Pak
Through the Divine Principle we learn that even though our actual stature is small compared to the entire universe, we indeed represent the entire universe. Man’s life derives from the life source of the universe; the universe exists because of man and man’s history is comparable to the history of the universe.
God created the entire universe with man as the model. Even though men commonly believe in evolution, evolution is only a resultant observation of the creation. The universe is not a random, arbitrary result of undirected forces. God planned out His creation from the most primitive to the most supreme forms of life. He had a definite plan from the very beginning, and knowing what kind of man He wanted to create as the ultimate glory of His creation, God planned the rest of the universe accordingly.
From the very beginning, a purpose preceded each creation. There are two kinds of purpose, internal and external, and subsequently man has one purpose for his physical body and another purpose for his internal man or mind. Together these two purposes pursue one common goal. God wanted His creation to have the two aspects of spiritual and physical, which would not contradict but harmonize with each other. This was God’s original plan, and His effort is reflected throughout all the different aspects of human nature. For instance, men and women have been constantly striving toward one common goal. Why should people as different as men and women try to unite around one central purpose?
All existence was preceded by one common purpose, around which everything wants to unite
Without being preceded by a common purpose which could unite both physical and spiritual energies around a common goal, evolution could never operate. It is our understanding, therefore, that before progress can ever take place, two types of energy must already exist which seek to sustain one common purpose. Through this mutual attempt by each to harmonize with the other, the value of their common goal becomes much higher.
The primitive levels of existence seem to have randomly evolved into higher, more complex beings, but some goal must have influenced them to go in that direction. Evolution itself cannot create a higher goal for the development of the world. Instead the direction of development must be derived from a certain goal or purpose which precedes existence itself. All of creation comes under this principle, and man is no exception. However, man differs from the rest of creation in that he has the built-in energy to progress by his own creative efforts. We are born to progress and to elevate our own value by pursuing higher and higher goals.
No man or woman wants to be alone or to stand still. Instead, we try to involve ourselves in something in order to be part of a higher purpose and goal. All of man’s literature and art, for example, are expressions of man trying to harmonize himself with his external surroundings. Each of us has this basic desire to harmonize with those around us and to bring about something greater than our moment-to-moment existence. Through having a certain direction we want to harmonize with each other and to ultimately achieve a goal of higher value than ourselves. This principle affects all the created beings in this universe. The theory of evolution describes only one small aspect of interaction in a very complex universe.
It is a fundamental principle that interaction can never occur when there is only one entity. There must be at least two elements in order for interaction to occur, and furthermore, the separate elements must seek some common benefit by their relationship. Otherwise, there will be no harmony in their give and take. Men and women strive to become one because they see that by doing so they each can derive some common benefit. If oneness is pursued for mutual benefit, then a mutual purpose must also exist. Everything has two basic features, existence and direction, and there is mutuality in every aspect of human activity.
Communists do not acknowledge that an inherent direction and goal preceded the universe, and their theories do not touch upon the fundamental basics of interaction. Instead, communists use dialectical materialism to justify the actions of the Communist Party, applying a false theory of spontaneous change to explain how miraculous results can be expected from a communist state. There is actually no such thing as a miracle in this universe. There must be a cause and direction for everything. From man’s perspective a certain action may seem sudden or miraculous, but viewed from a larger perspective it is apparent that no such thing is possible.
Has basic human nature evolved through history? Nowadays men and women love each other, but what about men and women who existed thousands of years ago? Would their love have been different from ours today, or was their impulse to seek harmony and the fulfillment of a goal as intense as ours?
Why should creation stop at the level of man? Why haven’t sudden total changes in species occurred recently? More and more complex animals appeared throughout the ages, but no creature has appeared which is more highly developed than man. Creation seems to have stopped with man. Do you think that happened because man shouted out, “We are perfectly happy, God. You can stop right here”? Since creation developed up to the level of man and then stopped, then we must conclude that there is a universal will and consciousness which preexisted man, and which had already planned the entire creation to conclude at the level of man.
Even if we select one small aspect of creation, such as man’s eyes, no scientist and none of man’s theories, such as dialectical materialism, can fully explain its functioning. We in the Unification Church are destined to fight against the false ideology of communism in the future, but in order to win over it we must clearly understand the true purpose and direction of creation. This is what will disprove dialectical materialism.
The whole dispute boils down to one simple question: Which came about first, matter or consciousness? Communism states that matter came first, while most people in the free world think that consciousness preceded matter. Where did the matter to construct an eyeball come from? What influenced matter to form eyes? Why does the nose on your face remain still, while your eyes blink frequently? If there is no consciousness or reason behind that phenomenon then why do your eyes blink at all? Do they move at random?
Your eyes move from left to right and up and down because they want to fulfill their purpose of providing vision. When you go out on a dusty, windy day much dust blows up your nose, but it still does not move. In the same situation, however, your eyes blink many times each minute. Why the difference? There is a reason and purpose behind it, namely that if your eyes became dry then they could not function. Your eyebrows are not on your face by accident but to help protect the eyes. Everything works out to have a certain purpose.
Could eyes have known ahead of time that they would need protection from dust and wind when they came into the world? No eye could know in advance what kind of world it would have to cope with, and. thus prepare in advance. However, instead of understanding that each creation has an internal cause, dialectical materialism states that everything just happened to occur the way we see it.
There must be some universal consciousness which existed before the eye, and which planned out how the eye would cope with the atmosphere and dust. Which came first then, matter or consciousness? Everything has a reason to exist which was planned out by some universal mind, and nothing under the sun exists on a whim or at random. This concept is the fundamental difference between our ideology and communism. My purpose is not to dwell on this subject this morning, but I want this point to be clear before going on to my main subject.
Only through love can man relate everything to his desire for a higher purpose
Why was man born? Someone planned ahead of time that man would be the supreme creature in all creation, having the supreme purpose, direction and goal in all tie universe. In studying our own lives it becomes evident that everything we do is for the purpose of receiving some benefit. You did not come here this morning, for example, in order to lose something but to gain something, even though it is intangible.
Are you now receiving something from me? Why isn’t it good to sleep when I am giving a sermon? The simple explanation is that by dozing instead of listening you are losing something. Sleeping at this time is a waste of your energy, of the universal energy, and of my energy. The position of leader is a very fearsome one. If I had no inspiration to give you then after two or three sermons you would see that there was nothing to gain by being here and you would not come. However, if you are benefited and inspired to a higher level after coming here, then you smile from ear to ear as you leave.
Why is love good? It is only through love that we can relate everything to a higher purpose. Every one of you sitting here has the built-in nature to want to reach higher levels and higher value by pursuing higher goals. Each day you want to be more righteous than the day before. In addition, you feel, “T want to succeed and become a center of attention. I want to be respected for giving much benefit to the world.” Where did you get such an idea? If everyone happens to feel that way then the theory of evolution might be correct. However, that particular ideal will never “evolve” into something else.
Nothing can change that constant ideal. If you received electric shocks, would it be possible to move that thought out of you? Would an atomic bomb change that human idea? Why not? No matter what happens to you, you will always return to that same direction and purpose. If you are whirled around until you are completely dizzy you will still resume that direction. Even if you are pushed down or beaten, some power within you will always bring you back to that certain posture.
The magnetic forces of the North and South Poles form the standard for all navigation. If the electrical fields of the two poles changed at random every day, what would happen to men at sea and in the air? Can the world make orderly progress if everything happens at random? There are many forces trying to influence you toward a certain direction, but some internal power pulls you right back. In spite of this fact, communism denies all these basic human traits, saying, “Men must be re-made and totally revolutionized; they must be turned around once and for all.”
Throughout this century communists have been “revolutionizing” men to live within communistic cultures, but if the Iron and Bamboo Curtains and the Berlin Wall suddenly did not exist, do you think any of the citizens in those countries would want to continue living under those systems? No matter how much people are indoctrinated, in the depths of their hearts they know that communism contradicts basic human nature as well as the basic nature of God. Any ideology that denies the basic, original nature of man will not last.
For what can we be thankful to God?
My topic is, “Let Us Thank God.” Why can we be thankful to God? First of all, we have been given the power to interact and become harmonized with the cosmos. Man’s universal desire to be harmonized with one another is not originally his own concept, but God’s. We are in the objective position, and God is the subject with a greater mind than ours, a mind which is interacting with our small minds and influencing us to interact with each other. Intuitively we want to engage in certain actions and achieve certain results.
It is common for people to think, “Thank heaven,” when they receive some blessing or favor. Most people habitually think in terms of material rewards, but have you ever been grateful for the built-in, God-given nature which motivates you to seek happiness in a goal and purpose? Have you thought about this intangible gift from God? Men and women want to find happiness by uniting with each other, but are grateful for this desire only after meeting their mates.
You have ample reason to be thankful to God far before your marriage, because you have the beautiful nature that seeks to make progress, and to unite in harmony with all else. Do not neglect being thankful until your marriage; this nature within your heart that seeks interaction is reason alone for thanksgiving. Have you been thankful for it?
Older teen-agers automatically turn their heads when someone handsome or beautiful passes by; some power pulls their eyes in that direction. Did you ever realize the significance of that energy moving within you? At a certain age women start to feel some admiration for men and to pay more attention to them. Have you ever been thankful for that instinctive energy? You act in that fashion because it is your nature to parallel the rhythm and direction of the universe.
At a certain age women have the desire to move toward men and men have the desire to move toward women, responding to the universal energy which gives them a higher purpose for being together. What are you going to fulfill by being united? As both parties move toward the point of harmony and unity by loving each other, a new power to create is released and new life is born. By thus fulfilling his position as a representative of God, man will elevate himself to be the lord of creation.
In giving birth to their children, men and women are exercising their most precious power of creation. A woman’s most supreme role is that of bearing children. Bearing children is not just an ordinary, random thing; the power and energy of the universe is focused in your own body to bring about the greatest event in your life. When you women conceive your children you must realize that the universe is moving within your womb and making new life. In preparing for your children you will think vertically high and horizontally wide, linking the universe and your vision and dream for the future. Most of you have not had this experience but your time will come. Your age is the age of dreams.
Through universal energy men and women come toward each other, and in having a child their dream will become reality. When men and women are united in their ideal then through their children their love can become deeper and wider. The love of young people before marriage is directed horizontally toward each other, but when they have children their love deepens to become vertical as well, uniting parent and child.
It is the power of love that unites people both horizontally and vertically. A startling phenomenon in America is the increasing divorce rate. However, even parents who seek divorce from each other will fight over custody of their children. Why don’t they just abandon them instead? Horizontal love can be broken and terminated, but the vertical line of love is irreplaceable and parents do not want to lose it. No one wants to separate themselves from God, and through their vertical love with their children they want to keep themselves within God’s sight.
A husband and wife may come to despise each other and decide to separate, but no parent can despise his child and want to end the relationship forever. The wife may become an evil woman and the husband may become an evil man, but no one wants to curse his own child. Why are people like that? There is a vertical relation between heaven and earth and ultimately no one can separate himself from God. Everyone, whether consciously or unconsciously, recognizes this vertical longing and wants to secure God’s love for themselves.
Without being devoted to your children, you do not even deserve to be married
Many people deny the past and future, wanting only to live for the carnal pleasure of the present time. If you truly dwell in eternal love, however, then your love has the power to harmonize the past, present and future; in true love there is no such thing as dwelling only in the present. Love cannot be spoken only in the moment. There is no such thing as a husband and wife who enjoy life while their children cry out, or children who are happy while their parents grieve. The husband and wife of a broken family will cling to their vertical connection with their children because they know that ultimately that relationship will bring them life or salvation. Man’s inner nature tells him that he has some hope of salvation by clinging to the vertical love between God, parents and children.
Have you women ever been thankful that as you reach a certain age your body developed to enable you to bear children? This is the expression of the power of God. If you are really thankful to God for His gift of your body as His temple, then you will never be involved in a tragedy like divorce. For whom does your body change? Ultimately that change comes so that you can give birth to children. Your body structure changes in two areas mainly. Why do you have wider hips than men? God gave you a large foundation so that when you deliver a child you will not suffer too much. You have large breasts so you can feed your child.
Did God give you those features for you to indulge in your own carnal desires? Ultimately their purpose is for the creation of your children. The real gifts of God are your children, who are more important than your body. How many American women are thinking in that fashion? American women have failed God’s test. Shall we re-educate them?
Do you always know who your real father and mother are? Your parents are your parents, period. It is impossible for some other person to become your parent. How many here have parents who are divorced? Even though you may address your stepmother or stepfather as mother or father, you know you are not their child and your heart is elsewhere. Is there anyone who joyfully accepts their stepparent as their real parent? In Jin told us about one of her classmates whose mother recently re-married. The girl said, “I never want to call him my father. I would rather just call him by his name.”
The vertical love between parents and their children is closest to God’s love. I want you to realize that you have this mission and purpose. That is why God gave you the beauty of certain features as breasts and hips. Ultimately they are not even for your husband, and their misuse for carnal desire is utterly wrong. If you do not care about your own child and about his future but only live for your carnal desires, then God would want you to cut your breasts off because you would not deserve to have them. After that you might have the right to ignore your baby. Divorced people who hear these remarks might feel uncomfortable, but I must tell the truth.
Unification Church members are very fortunate people because they know the truth. If you do not like your husband or wife then you should not have children. Your goal is to have good children for the future, and without that desire you have no right to get married or to live with your mate. If you use love only to take advantage of someone in satisfying your carnal desire then you are actually a violator of universal law.
Keeping American women happy is an incredible job and American men have practically no time to think about anything else. After being divorced many men refuse to get married again, grumbling, “I’ll just have another messy situation. I’m sick and tired of it. No more.” There are many women in America who marry a man just to get his money; after a divorce the law is such that it favors women and they can become very rich after divorcing.
Unification Church women, have you ever thought about divorce? You could certainly do it, couldn’t you? Why not? Now you know why; everything you have, including your own body, is not yours. Even your love is not for yourself but for the sake of the universe. When you have a universal mind to embrace a universal purpose and to embrace God, as you become an older teenager and are sensitive to surrounding nature you become very sentimental and emotional in your reaction to the universe. Why are you built that way? It is a sign that you are maturing in love. God gave you a certain sensitivity which enables you to relate to the world with love.
Your ultimate source of pride is your love
What can men and women be most proud of? Are diamonds and gold the things men and women can be proud of in this universe? A woman’s source of pride is her husband, and a man’s is his wife. Why is that? When you are growing up and reaching for maturity you do not appreciate the sacrificial love of parents. As children, none of us really appreciated our parent’s love. Hyo Jin, for example, is interested in so many things that sometimes he does not truly appreciate his parents’ tender love. He is showing signs of maturity though. Sometimes I see him standing in front of the mirror and studying his face. It is a natural law that he wants to be handsome and capture the attention of other girls. It shows that when he is mature and ready to be married that his wife can be proud of him because he has been making himself attractive.
For eternity a man can be proud of his wife, and for eternity a woman can be proud of her husband. Nothing else matters in the universe except your love; ultimately things like knowledge or money do not matter. When you have someone you can truly be proud of and love with all your energy then you are a happy person.
Even if you are poverty-stricken and have nothing to eat or drink but a cup of water, you can be one in flesh with your mate if you can truly understand and be proud of one another. You may have to sleep under trees at night, but if you have understanding and pride in each other then you will dwell in happiness. If you were to ask God what He would be most proud of in this universe, God would answer, “I am most proud of men and women who are totally in love and utterly proud of each other. Their love is the most beautiful possible thing to behold.” Love is the one thing which can make everyone laugh, even the entire universe.
Each of you is working toward that day when you will be proud of your husband and wife and want to shout out to the universe in your joy. With love you can conquer your husband and with your love you can conquer your wife. Love creates horizontal unity and vertical unity, and through this love you can even make God your prisoner. Through love you can conquer and occupy everything. God will become helpless before your love.
A dog or a tree, anything in the universe which you touch with a loving heart will appreciate your love. When you look at nature you should realize that everything is a God-given gift which you can use to express your love toward your mate. God already knew that you would have the mind which would want to express your love in the form of a gift, so He provided the entire universe to you as a gift item. If you see a little kitten with soft fur, you think, “My wife would like this kitten.”
Have you ever heard anything like this before? Do you really feel to your bones, “Yes, the universe should work like that”? This is a simple, fundamental universal truth. It is a simple yet gigantic truth, but no one noticed it. I have brought this special truth as a tremendous gift from God, and without any reservations I am giving it to you. It is the pride of the Unification Church.
There is nothing in this universe which is unrelated to you. When you are proud of your wife or husband then the entire universe becomes a gift item as the tangible expression of your love. That is why the universe exists. When a married man meets another woman he will notice how she is similar or different from his wife. He may glance at her, not because he is attracted to the woman, but because he loves his wife and is reminded of her. Women will notice a certain man in the same way.
We relate the people we meet to the members of our family. When you look at an elderly woman you think, “Oh, she is like my grandmother,” and when you look at younger people you think of your own children or of your younger brothers and sisters. In that way you expand your immediate family to include all mankind. If there is a God who has an ideal then this must be it; this is the only way God could have His ideal of one family of man spread throughout the world.
What can men and women be proud or. You women who do not yet have husbands are proud of the men. It is true. Whatever the time of day, women’s minds are occupied by men. Not being a woman, I cannot completely know your mind, but through the Principle I can see that your mind would probably be like that. Some women insist, “I don’t ever want to marry.” They are the greatest liars under the sun.
Through your mate, then your children and then your parents you can fully know God’s love
Have all of you ever been thankful that you are able to love another as an expression of God and the universe? A husband and wife together represent the entire universe. When a wife enters the place where her husband is she enters not merely as a wife or as an individual, but as a representative of the universe. Of course, this kind of thinking has been non-existent in your lives so far because the rest of the world never thinks in this way.
If a man and woman are dedicated to the universal purpose and recognize themselves as universal beings then what kind of child would they have? What can men and women be proud of after each other? Their sons and daughters. Men and women are proud of each other, but as soon as they have a family their focus will change from being proud of each other to being proud of their own children.
Giving your own testimony or hearing someone else’s testimony about what a wonderful husband or wife you have is always uplifting and everyone around will walk on cloud nine. It never fails. Your pride centers next on your children. We have to be aware of this basic human nature when dealing with parents; in order to capture the faith and good will of a parent the best thing to do is to praise his children. Even if the parents know your praise is exaggerated they will smile from ear to ear anyway.
Men and women are proud of each other first and next they are proud of their children. What comes after that? Thirdly, they are proud of their parents. After having your own children you will all of a sudden realize the value of your own parents and be proud of them. It is not good enough to think you love your parents; not until you have your own children will you begin to truly understand and appreciate your parents.
This explains the reason that God created man’s life to be centered around the family. God knew that no matter how much we thought we appreciated and loved Him, we could never truly appreciate and love Him as our Father until we had our own children. Only by first growing up as children and then loving as husband and wife and giving birth to our children could we fully appreciate God as our parent.
Do you think God, as the one true Parent, feels bad that the realization of the parents’ position comes third, with husband and wife first and children next? God does not mind that He is not fully understood until man reaches the level of perfection. God does not want to settle for anything immature or incomplete. Instead He wants us to grow through the formation and growth levels and then come together as mature personalities to stand before Him. From this point of view, no matter how much a husband and wife were in love they would still be immature and imperfect without having their children. Their love would be crippled and incomplete.
After receiving love as children and experiencing the conjugal love of husband and wife you will ultimately come to the realization that the most wholesome, sacrificial and fundamental love is parental love. In an ideal life you would fully enjoy and experience all these three loves.
Because the perfection of love is actualized as parental love the center of a home should be the older people. If grandparents live there then they should be the center because they are the parents of the parents. They are the host and hostess of the home and after they pass away your parents would become the center.
Why should the oldest people be the central people of the universe? Who is the oldest person in the universe? God is the oldest, and since He is the center of everything we must follow that tradition. Following this understanding through, which tradition or culture is closer to the universal, God-centered culture? Do you American people feet good when you hear that the Oriental culture is closer? I did not come to America to import the Oriental culture. That is not my concern. Externally speaking there is much in the American culture to be appreciated. Speaking internally of God’s tradition and culture, however, what I am teaching is neither the Oriental tradition nor the Western tradition, but God’s tradition.
It is sad to see American society today with its cruel disregard for its senior citizens. The other day in Central Park I saw a great many senior citizens who were sitting idle, watching passing cars and staring at the trees. I asked one of them, “Are you happy? Where do you live?” The person answered that he lives in a senior citizens home and that he is very unhappy. When I asked what would make him happy, he said he wanted to live and play with his children and grandchildren, but that they did not live in New York.
How many Americans really care about the old people? When children reach a certain age they just declare, “I’m free now. Good-bye, it’s my life now.” Yet it is not only older people who are ignored in America. Often parents are so busy with something that they do not care about their children or pay attention to them. These children are entirely on their own, feeling lonesome and abandoned.
In the Unification Church, however, we are going to change all of that. My concern is how to bring the heavenly culture into America’s way of life. I am not speaking only on behalf of senior citizens, but on behalf of all three levels of parents, husband and wife, and children. The whole of American culture needs to elevate its outlook. Externally this nation has already achieved much and made tremendous contributions to the world; once the heavenly way of life becomes an integral part of the American culture then America will be heaven.
There are so many things to be thankful to God for. We are thankful for being men and women, and for being husbands and wives, and for the blessing of having children. We are thankful to be the instruments of the creative energy of the universe. If we have truly grateful hearts, will God be unhappy to look down at us? When you are thankful for being what you are, the universe and all nature will respond to you in happiness.
All of creation, including man, has a perfected life if it is given for God’s purpose
In leading the fishing expeditions at Barrytown, where many hundreds of carp were caught, I thought very much about the universal principle of creation being killed to become food for man. Six big turtles lost their home as we dredged the Barrytown lake to accommodate more carp. I felt sorry for them and had them put in the Hudson River, thinking, “You turtles go and live in the wide world.”
When I go fishing I send the first fish back to its home. I thought that even a lowly creature like a carp appreciates love, and when someone appreciates their purpose for being what they are they even want to die for that person. In that sense the carp are not a sacrifice as they give themselves for the person who loves them. This was God’s idea for creation. By being loved and appreciated by the Unification Church members, all these creatures shall be thankful and proud of living and dying for the purpose for which they were created.
Love is supreme. Living for love and dying in love always brings happiness. When the moment of your death comes you will be smiling as you think about your love, and it will be your joy at that moment to be embraced by the one you love.
Suppose someone said, “I understand that Reverend Moon caught a lot of carp in the Hudson River. I’m sure those fish just curse him as they die.” How would you answer? Before hearing my explanation I’m sure you would have been confused, but now you know how carp have a perfected life if they can die for the sake of God’s purpose, becoming the flesh and blood of God-centered people. Is there any more precious cause carp could pursue? There is the difference of heaven and earth in your actions depending on how you are motivated.
How does this principle apply to you? If there were a place of death so honorable in the sight of God that there you could receive His love without limit, would you consider that to be a very unfortunate, tragic place, or would you revere it as an honorable place to be? If you could choose between living forever on earth or dying and finally receiving God’s love, which one would you take?
This principle applies the same way both to a carp and to a man. The ultimate question we have to ask ourselves then is, “Am I ready to die for the love of God?” What is your answer? If your answer is yes then your death is not death. Your flesh and your spirit become the spirit and flesh of all mankind and of all the universe. When you center your life on the higher level you will live for eternity.
We are in the midst of the greatest of all educational processes, with the greatest possible purpose of teaching mankind that each person must be able to give his life for the sake of love. This is a far more precious education than ten Ph.D. programs at Harvard.
Why are we gathered together in the Unification Church? We want to give our lives for the supreme love of the universe, the love of God. There is no greater education than the education you are receiving this morning, hearing that everything started out from love, and that love is the goal and direction for all things. God gave everything in creation to be gifts of love. When you realize this and live your life in appreciation of God’s love, then you shall be glorious when you go before the throne of God.
We must be thankful to be born as men and women. In a sense we are the curators of God’s own museum, the universe. Men have built their own museums, like the National Archives and the Museum of Natural History, but they are really trivial compared to God’s own museum. All museums of the entire world put together cannot compare to the mystery and beauty of one living leaf. God created a living, growing museum, not one which is stagnant and collects dust. But if we can create in our lives the beauty of the love of God then our museum is truly beautiful.
When I walk through a museum I see many people who really ponder the things there and appreciate them, but I often wonder how people can pay more attention to rocks that are just gathering dust than to God’s museum, which has much more beauty and mystery. If you go to the riverside and pick up one small grain of sand, can you say how old it is or what its personal history has been? There is much mystery in a grain of sand; nobody understands the hidden history of God which it contains.
An oak tree has a history of tens of thousands of years that reaches from acorn to acorn back to the very first tree. Have you ever asked a tree, “Where do your leaves come from? Where does your trunk come from?” What is the source of energy that is derived from the soil? Where does water come from? Here on the Belvedere grounds there is dirt from all over the world, from Europe, Asia, Africa. The universe is contained in even one grain of sand or one small particle of soil. When you look at yourself you are seeing a universal being, with your energy, flesh and blood gathered from the same source as the entire universe. You are truly a microcosm of the universe.
My flesh and blood are formed from food, and since I have traveled to all six continents and forty different countries I have eaten Asian food, American food, European food, Indian food and African food. My physical body is literally universal. My body is a museum because it is a collection of ingredients from all over the earth.
You can say to God, “I am Your museum piece. I am a microcosm of the universe and here I stand as a universal person. Are You proud of me?” God will definitely say, “I certainly am and I’m envious of you in a way. I’m invisible but you are physical and you can look at yourself as being universal. That’s exactly why I created you.”
As people who are indebted, we can only show our gratitude by giving to others
Where did your life come from originally? Your own parents invested themselves in you, and nature also gave you the food to make your flesh and blood and bone. If you were to repay all those to whom you were indebted you would have nothing left. In addition, you are also indebted to God who originally gave you life. What do you have left then? God, your parents and nature invested themselves in you, and therefore you are a chunk of indebtedness.
The important thing is, have you been grateful for that investment? An indebted person can be nothing but thankful. God, your parents and nature will say, “You don’t have to give anything back. You keep it for yourself.” What a wonderful gift your life is! Throughout your entire life you can be thankful. Have you ever thought about that?
Jesus told a story that parallels this, about a cruel man who had been forgiven a debt he could not pay, but who then threw a man into jail who was indebted to him. His lord spoke angrily to him for being so cruel after he himself had received mercy. We have nothing that is inherently ours; God gave us life unconditionally, without requiring that any contract be signed or interest paid or any loan paid back within a certain number of years. The only way we can repay Him or show our gratitude is by giving to others.
We can say we have parents on three levels; nature is one level of parent, as well as our physical parents who gave birth to us, and God is the ultimate parent. We are in the position to be thankful to all of these parents, and since everything we have does not really belong to us, we must be ready to give it out at any time, saying, “Nature, this is from you; my parents, this is yours; Heavenly Father, this is all Yours.”
You may think it is you who walk around, but you are not the one who makes you walk God is not greedy or trying to take everything back from you, but God created you for a special purpose and all He wants is for you to want to live up to that ideal. Until now you were probably grateful for only the trivial things in your life, but never thankful for the greatest things for which you are indebted.
How about sunlight? Without it you cannot survive, but how often are you thankful for it? At Barrytown we are enlarging the pond to accommodate more carp and the crew doing the work was very impatient at being hampered by the running water. I thought, “I know it is a hindrance, but don’t be upset because without water nothing could survive on this planet.” How many minutes could you survive without air? You do not feel any danger because you’re so secure, but what would happen if there was no air anywhere for five minutes?
You may be thankful for trivial things like a can of coke when you are hot and thirsty, but what about this gift of the universe which God gave us-the sun’s rays, the air, the fresh water, the sea and the land? Are you thankful that you can be a man or a woman and a husband or wife, that you can be children and then parents?
Instead of being thankful for all the universal gifts which God has provided people are many times impatient, cursing nature and cursing God’s work when something interferes with their desires. The wintertime brings cold weather and people complain about inconvenience, but nature needs both cold and hot weather. Different temperatures cause certain changes in the soil, and cause shrinking and expanding in nature. All things are harmonized and regulated by nature’s laws.
By only complaining about the creation we not only offend God but all of these great gifts. First of all we must be thankful to God; that is the beginning point of our lives. Then we can talk about being thankful to our own husband or wife and children and parents. Without God we could not exist for even one second. This world has become devoid of thanksgiving to God. Once you broaden your life of thanksgiving and gratitude to God then you will find that a more loving relationship between God and yourself will develop.
A wholesome God-centered personality begins with thanksgiving and deepens to embrace a relationship of love with God. You must think big! You must be able to embrace the universe and when you look at man you must see him as a universal being; when you look at nature you must feel that it is God’s masterpiece. That is the kind of personality God hopes to find in His children, and the Unification Church must become second to none in that way of life.
When you live in thankfulness here on earth, you can go with love to God’s own dwelling and live there in infinite love for eternity. When you train yourself through nature to live in gratitude then the universe will help you grow into a wholesome personality of love so that you can eventually reach the level of God’s glory. This is God’s whole dream.
In our lives we want to find the maximum benefit in the universe and to develop wholesome personalities, and to one day stand proudly in the sight of God and to enjoy His eternal love as His children. God knows when you suffer misfortune or are troubled, but when He sees that even at the bottom of misery and misfortune you still have room to be thankful to Him He will shed tears over you. When you overcome such a test with thanksgiving under any circumstances, you shall be blessed. You may feel that you are finished and are sinking down to the valley of death, but as long as you have this way of life you will never end your life at the bottom of the valley. Instead you will go over the mount of glory.
The Unification Church is going through a valley of persecution but I will never grumble or complain to God. We are attracting world attention by our extraordinary way of life and the whole world is watching as we go down into this valley.
We are like leading actors and actresses in an exciting movie spectacular. If the mountain we are crossing were just made of sand then the movie would not be very exciting, but because the mountain is rugged and steep, with sheer cliffs, forests and wild animals, it makes a much more exciting movie. If this were a calm relaxed movie it would not be memorable, but we are making the people strain forward in their chairs with the tension of the drama.
The world is our audience and God is watching the stage from the royal box in the center. I want you to move and inspire God so deeply that He weeps helplessly. Eventually God will bow down to you saying, “My son, my daughter, I’m proud of you.” What will the rest of the audience do when God bows down in tears? They will be completely melted.
This is our extraordinary way of life, living for the gigantic goal and purpose. There is no ending. There is no retirement waiting for us, only a life that is always more exciting. Are you thankful to be a member of this exciting team? Raise your hands if you are going to live in gratitude to God and be sons and daughters of appreciation. May God bless you. Let us pray.