The red carpet had been unraveled, and the enthusiastic crowd greeted the bus as it rolled onto the Belvedere holy ground last summer. As it came closer, I could read the words clearly emblazoned across the front, “God’s Hope for America: Remember · Revive · Reimagine.”
Reading those words made my mind wander back to a time when I was 24 years old and was listening intently to a lecturer, not much older than I, speak about how God had intended the world to be a much better place — a place in which God’s love and heart would be at the center of all societal interactions (i.e., political, economic, artistic, medical, etc.) rather than a never-ending quest for more money or greater power and prestige. I was so inspired by those words because several months earlier I had taken a leave of absence from my graduate program in search of such a group, and I knew then that I wanted to become part of this noble crusade.
Now, seeing this bus, 34 years later, I wondered if, through all the difficulties and disappointments, both on a personal and institutional (church) level, this vision were still possible to achieve. And if we should keep striving to achieve it, how can we “reimagine” in order to accomplish that?
As part of a “reimagining” process, I think we need to begin by asking certain questions. How can we present a consistent message to the public which reflects our unique Unificationist perspective? What could someone who walks into one of our churches for the first time see, feel and experience which could not be found anywhere else? How can we express our message in a way which will inspire more people inside and outside (even those who have left) our Church to want to take an active role in our Movement?
The distinctive message which I believe we should clearly and consistently present to the public is that God’s desire, from the very beginning, has been to realize the kingdom on earth in a substantial way. Reverend Moon emphasized that message in many of the early holy songs that he wrote, such as “Garden of Restoration.”