The Will of God and Thanksgiving
Abridged from a speech given February 12, 1978, New York, NY
By Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon
All of us assembled in this auditorium have various, different backgrounds. We have had different ways of life in the past and come from various cultural backgrounds, and furthermore, in your ancestral lines there are combined a variety of situations, traditions and cultures. Even now our way of life is varied because of our different cultural backgrounds.
Even though our histories are different and our ways of life and traditions are different, our goal is the same. We have one common goal around which we gather together. The most important thing to determine is whether or not that goal is self-centered or world-centered. Indeed, our common goal is the benefit and well-being of the entire world. That common goal is truly the aspiration of all mankind, and some day when we reach that goal everyone on this earth will be happy. That ideal goal cannot happen by money alone, and no matter how much knowledge or power you might possess, they will not make that goal possible either. That goal must be everyone’s aspiration, something which makes everyone on this earth happy and protects their well-being.
What is that common goal; how can we define it? We commonly call it love. We are talking about love here, and must decide whether that love is man’s standard of love or whether it transcends man, whether that love should be changing and tarnished by time, or eternal and unchanging in character. Our common goal must be love, a love which must be eternal and absolute and unchanging in quality. If that kind of love is our goal and if there is a God, then it must be linked to Him.
The question is whether we as men can obtain that kind of love. If that permanent and eternal love is an obtainable goal, then we must consider first that the prerequisite to that love is the existence of God. Why couldn’t an almighty and eternal God make that love prevail with men? Why hasn’t it been fulfilled already? That is the fundamental question which all religious men of history have struggled with. The Unification Church is no exception; however, unlike the rest we know that mankind could not obtain this permanent and absolute love of God because of the fall of man.
Then what is the fall? In one word, the fall is departure — not departure from power or position or a certain understanding, but departure from the very love of God that we have been talking about. The perfection of men hinges upon that particular love, and once there is a way to obtain that love for man there will be perfection. If there is a God then He must be almighty, eternal and omnipresent, and then God’s love must also be eternal and unchanging. Therefore, once we obtain that love then we obtain everything, including God and the universe.
Obtaining that love of God leads to perfection for everything. As you know, there are different parts in our physical bodies, but once that goal of love is obtained, every part of the body will respond to that love and give thanks. That particular love will also fulfill our spirit man. The spirit man and physical body are supposed to echo each other so that they can act as one in harmony. Actually, soundless, perfect harmony should be established between the two.
At what point can our spirit men and physical bodies be united? True music is the love of God. When the love of God resounds through the spirit man and physical body, they both respond to it in harmony together. Striking one object will create sound waves, and when they hit another object it will respond and create the same sound. In the same way, when God’s love hits something it will resound throughout the universe, the spiritual and physical worlds together. When God’s love reaches man, his entire body must unanimously respond to that vibration of love.
How would it feel to reverberate to the sound of love? When that wave of love hits you it will create absolute fullness in your spiritual and physical bodies, leaving no extra room available. That should be the feeling you get when the love of God hits you. It not only fills your entire body, however; it will remain forever, never disappearing. As a result you will become a dynamo, a central energy source for everything surrounding you, and in that atmosphere the whole environment will echo you.
Once that love of God fills you and you live in that love for ten, twenty or thirty years, you always know that the original source is God, who is constant, almighty and eternal. As long as He is supplying you with that energy of love, you are really pulled in His direction and are always moving closer to Him. We are guided by the direction of God’s love. We are not like a ship without a compass; we have a compass which clearly shows due north. That is the direction of God, and is to set the direction of everyone’s life. Every man is supposed to be perfected by going in that direction closer to God’s love, and every woman is supposed to be perfected by going in that direction. Then along the way they can meet, together creating unity and perfecting their love, growing closer to and ultimately uniting with God. That is the ideal of creation.
If mankind were living in this natural pattern that God designed, would there normally be pain and suffering involved, or would life develop in a natural way? There would have been no haziness in life before the fall, only a clear-cut goal and direction ensuring that no one would live in chaos or confusion. In that world each person would know what kind of life he should live here on earth, and would clearly know that the end of life on earth is but the beginning of an eternal life. Happy men were supposed to be born of love, grow up and become perfect in love and totally unite with the source of love, which is God. Whoever lives such a life can be called a happy man. In that world, love is given equally to all and there each person has equal privilege. There each person can go in the same direction, dwell together in the same world and end up at the same goal. If that kind of world is available, there is no better ideal.
This means that money is not the ultimate goal, nor power or knowledge. Neither the democratic ideology nor communistic ideology is the ultimate goal. The realm of love transcends all these manmade ideologies and that is the world in which we are supposed to dwell. If we can grasp this much even in our limited brains, then how much bigger would the ideal be in the mind of God? God is much more knowledgeable and wise, and in His wisdom He is thinking of an even more beautiful realm of love.
Putting ourselves in the position of God for a moment, what would be the most ideal world we could construct? God has to come to the same conclusion that we have drawn: Unity in the world of love is the most ideal world God could design. If God is truly almighty then He would not design men to be born into suffering and grow up in pain, only to attain love at the very end. If that were the only happiness God could design, then He certainly could not be almighty. Then why is our world like this? Because of the fall, man departed from the position God originally designed for him in His ideal.
God and man were supposed to echo each other, but presently there is no connection between the two and each is going in a separate direction. That is a consequence of the fall. Furthermore, man’s mind and body were supposed to parallel and echo each other, but they are separated as well. If this is the external result, then mustn’t something be wrong with God? No, God has not changed; the error occurred in man, never in God. Therefore, we must remake and reassemble man. That is God’s mandate.
The repair work cannot be done all at once, however. There must first be some step-by-step master plan which sets out principles for beginning restoration work. Then where can we start this work of restoration? It must begin with what is closest to God, something which God made first. Of the mind and body, which is closest to God? Of course the mind is closest, so naturally God started to straighten out the mind of man first.
Even though you are all looking in one direction, your minds are thinking about many things right at this moment. God’s first mandate, therefore, is to straighten out the direction of the mind and bring all mankind’s diverse thinking together into one common direction: the love of God. God must declare one ultimate destiny to all men, showing them what they need in order to become one with Him. All the minds of men should be brought to this one principle. In his mind, each man should understand the individual goal, tribal goal, national goal and world goal, and also how the same goal ultimately penetrates all of these. That’s the way God started to work, giving instruction about what the mind should head toward.
This world is certainly chaotic and confused, but at least here in the Unification Church we have a goal and direction. We are not hazy or confused in our minds about our goal…. Our common goal is the attainment of the love of God, and in order to fulfill it we must make a long journey. Naturally you need stimulation to spur yourselves on to attain that goal faster. The person who is really making efforts toward that goal is truly a happy person. Once you have found the ultimate goal, then the more you suffer, the more experience and stamina you will have to spur yourself on. Your struggle then becomes your asset.
For people like us who truly live with a high-minded goal, are suffering and pain necessarily evil things? Can the person who never suffered or felt pain appreciate the true value of happiness? If truth is obtained too easily then you will never appreciate it, but the person who pursues that truth, and finally obtains it one day, will be so appreciative that he will understand every bit of its value. If a great big blessing is bestowed upon a person who never experienced any suffering or hardship, he will just take it for granted and never know whether it is a diamond or a rock. Someone who really experiences suffering first hand, however, will understand the value of that love and will rejoice at obtaining that love and truth. The more you suffer, the more you will rejoice.
When you look at the biological makeup of your body you see all different functions, but is there anything which is trying to bring all these activities into one harmonious standard? The eyes move as they please, the ears listen and all the limbs move in different directions. There seems to be no harmony. Imagine that both hands are trying to go in different directions but one hand says to the other, “I will take you in the right direction. Here is the source of love.” Will the other hand draw back when it feels the warmth of love? No, it would want to stay. Once it is attached to the source of love, nothing can separate it. That’s the power of love.
Love is the one power which will draw every bit of energy into one direction. The hands want to stay there, and the eyes want to move in that direction along with the nose and mouth and ears and the whole body. Love acts like a magnet. What about the mind; is it also pulled by the power of love? The mind is very greedy and has no barriers to disturb it, so it seeks to penetrate all the way into the core of the love of God. The mind wants to be close and it has a way of getting in. Only one power will activate your every organ toward one direction. Neither threats at gunpoint nor money will do it; only through the power of love can all the actions of your organs be focused in the same direction.
Suppose you attain that most intensive love of God. How much would you be grateful? Perhaps you would shout out so loud that the entire universe is torn apart. Even then you would not have exhausted your entire thanksgiving, for no shout can truly express enough thanks.
The most precious things of infinite value were made invisible, like love and like God. Your mind is precious; would you like to be able to see your mind and carry it around in your pocket like a handkerchief? The mind is precious because in that container alone can God be enclosed. Only an invisible container could contain the invisible God. This is the most precious thing of all, and nobody can take it away because no one knows where it is.
When asked how love looks, one person will describe love as being round like the moon or wide like the ocean. Some harsh person might say love is like a wild desert. A romantic person might say it is like a beautiful, rocky mountain, while yet another person might say it is powerful like Niagara Falls. All these would be correct answers because they all describe certain aspects of love. Someone might say love is like a beggar, and that is a correct answer too. Someone might say love is smoother than glass and that would be correct, or that love is like bubble gum because it can be stretched out as much as anyone likes. This is why love is intriguing.
The three most precious things are the mind, love and God. All these are precious, eternal and absolute, yet invisible. What power will unite them all into one? Invisible love will unite them.
Once you have God dwelling in your heart, you realize that it is more precious than anything under the sun, more than the nation and the whole world. No matter if a whole nation comes against you, it will not stop you. Even the entire world will not stop you. You have no hesitation because you have something of greater value. In our hearts we pursue the highest value and nothing will take it away. I am armed and toughened by the love of God and whatever difficulty comes doesn’t bother me; I can move forward and go beyond it.
One thing is true; if you are truly a slave of the love of God then you are the happiest person under the sun. That has been my own goal. Whether you are a laborer, merchant or dock-worker doesn’t make any difference. Ultimately men’s hearts crave being slaves of God’s love. I am pursuing the same goal, and I want to be the number one slave of God’s love.
Now you can see why I am giving this particular sermon. We are becoming possessors of God’s love and thanksgiving is overflowing in our hearts. Without love no thanksgiving can be complete, and without love the will of God cannot be consummated.♦
Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012) was Co-Founder of Unification Theological Seminary. He founded the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (Unification Church) in Korea in 1954. Although this talk was not given on Thanksgiving Day, it discusses an internal attitude of thanksgiving appropriate to each day of our lives.