The Words of the Burley Family
Having been a member of the family of the true children of God for four short months, I had waited anxiously for the arrival of Children's Day to be held at the San Francisco Center for some weeks. Being some distance from California, it was necessary to travel by air. This I was sure would be the most joyful event of my life thus far.
As the jet lifted off the ground climbing towards the heavens, I uttered a short prayer and my entire being was filled with an over-powering joy, manifested in chills. "Oh Father, Thou are truly with us," I muttered as the feeling of elation grew. I wanted to shout from the sky praises unto His name.
In flight I periodically glanced out the window to the earth below. There I saw through new eyes; ribbon-width winding rivers and streams, and blue shining lakes, rolling grassy fields and meadows, stretches of vast plains and hills, forests of rich green fir trees mingled with autumn-colored foliage, and great chains of raised mountain peaks capped with glistening, blue-white snow.
For the first time in fullness I realized how very minute man is compared to the cosmos. But as minute and seemingly insignificant as man is, God has loved him beyond belief. "Truly Thou art great, my God and Father, Thou art great!" I exclaimed as I continued to view.
Upon reaching the Unification Center in San Francisco, I was elated to meet our Mother and teacher Miss Kim and was greeted with open arms and vigorous handshakes by all. And Children's Day was three days away, some of the group had already arrived. It was like coming home at last after a separation of many, many years. I did not meet everyone the first day, but still I concluded just from the observation of a few: No where else in the world could anyone find such a binding, undeniable force of love and truth as is manifested here." What is more, this conclusion and conviction did not change but grew deeper after meeting the other members in the days that followed.
An interesting and inspiring story was related to me upon my arrival. It seams that three or four members of the group from Los Angeles, California, had hitch-hiked their way to San Francisco some days prior. After hitch-hiking to within 50 miles of San Francisco, it was decided that they would walk the rest of the way. Only Peter, the smallest in stature, was to complete the walk. He beamed with a bright smile as he told how "at times it was almost impossible to continue," but God gave him strength for he said that his feet did not move of their own strength but by singing the hymn, "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord... His truth is marching on," he was able to go on and finally reached San Francisco, Peter is a former atheist.
Little time was wasted, for we began studying the Divine Principle immediately. From early morning until late at night we learned together through prayers, singing, and organized study. Late the first night after a rigorous and stimulating day of study another member and I were commenting just before going to sleep; "It seems almost like a dream, doesn't it?" He answered me by saying; "Yes, I feel like I am living in the days of Jesus."
By Friday evening more of the family arrived and the house became more vibrant with the feeling created by the give and take of minds and hearts in doing the work for the Father.
Early Saturday morning, Nov. 16, 1963 the anticipation for the celebration of Children's Day was apparent by the expression on everyone's face. Every face was radiant with a smile and every eye shined with the thought of the day which was to unfold. The morning session began with prayers spoken from the depths of the hearts of those who spoke them. From the beginning and throughout the day the presence of God, our Leader and the spirit world was undeniable. After prayers we sang songs of praise and love to God and our Leader. For a few minutes I closed my eyes and just as the voices sang in unison songs in Korean: Pit nanun Eden; Sori Chigo and Sonji son yul. The expression of their feelings in song told me that there was something different and unique about this group; "Truly our song is a new song for a new age." Their voices continued together sounding like a choir of angels as they sang; "This is my Father's world" and "The Comforter has come."
Dressed in a beautiful, purple, floor-length native costume of her country, Miss Kim stood graciously with clasped hands before the group as she spoke of the Leader and his life of suffering. Each of us listened intently as she related high-lights of his life to us. Our hearts were deeply moved and many cried outwardly both in joy and sorrow. In that hour we all came closer to our Master and Leader.
Miss Kim's presentation was followed by a prayer of thanks to God and that the world might know and awaken to the dawn of the new day. Gordon gave this I believe.
Altogether there were about 50 people present from seven different countries: Korea, Norway, Holland, Japan, Indonesia, Germany and the United States. Some had come as far as 450 to 1500 miles for the celebration. Area progress reports were given by a representative from each area. The reports were encouraging and the comment was made to the fact that the growth of the group since last Children's Day was very encouraging, but all agreed that we must work much harder.
Rather than wasting time on eating a noon meal, dishes of candy, cookies and fruit were passed around as the celebration continued. It was now early afternoon and personal testimonies began. Although most of the testimonies are too long to record, some of the comments made about finding and first coming into the Principle were: "It was just wonderful."; "I had always been searching …"; "I didn't think such a thing as this was possible,"; "I am so thankful to God"; and on and on. Each testimony added to our conviction and gave us greater courage and unity,
The testimonies lasted for several hours after which we ate a large evening feast of turkey, dressing, cranberries, salad, and pie and kimchi.
The final session (about 3 hours) was spent vicariously traveling through Korea -- New Israel -- and its capital Seoul -- New Jerusalem -- via some 300 slides taken by a member of the group between June 62 and June 63 while he was serving in Korea with the American forces. Comments were made to the effect that the pictures had given the group as a whole a new insight and more knowledge of the chosen nation.
With the final hour of the holiday coming to end and we assembled in our Leader's room and united in prayer and to pay homage due him as our Master and the Lord of creation.
The day did not suddenly die but faded slowly away into morning. The day had been more than any of us could comprehend, the love and joy overwhelming. All that could summarize the day and the feelings that prevailed in our hearts are the words: "Father, Thou are great." Thus, I closed my diary that night by writing:
"The lights burn late in the hours of darkness in the house of the Lord's God's children, all too joyous with the love of the Father and His Son in their hearts, in their minds and on their lips at the nocturnal hour of 1:30 am, finally hurry off to their rooms to sleep, bidding brothers and sisters a warm good night... Where, where can we see such joy but in the dwelling place of God."
Obscure from the eyes of the world, ridiculed by many - we, desiring to be true children of God, gathered together to celebrate Children's Day; a day that shall remain in the minds and hearts of men and women for an eternity. It was a most joyful, blessed Children's Day.