Unification Sermons and Talks
Second Level Life of Faith
by D. Michael Hentrich
(Published in the May, 1986 Today's World under the title:
"Are We Really Seeking God's Love)
Originally, Christianity stemmed from the pure message of heart and love that Jesus left to us: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.... You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mt.22:37-39). In many instances, however, Christianity today has eroded into intellectualism, materialism, spiritism, emotionalism, ritualism, and other external pursuits.
Somehow, over the years, the heart and love of Christ have often evaporated out of the practice of Christianity. Theological introspection has often become the act of "doing theology" without necessitating any connection with God's reality. Acts such as praying and tithing and baptism have sometimes become mere duties or formulas, and even the experience of spiritual phenomena has, for some people, become a measure of godliness or salvation. Many Christians are lulled into the illusion that they are wholly acceptable to the living God. Religious people who posit their lives of faith on these or other external things may, sadly, come to have little to do with the living God. We must be on guard that the same drying tendency does not steal the life from Father's message to us.
Of course, secular society has no less been Satan's playground. Well- meaning people scratch for value and meaning in the many idols that society has to offer. Things which may certainly have a valuable place in a balanced life often become false gods in the effort to fill the caverns of human emptiness. Academia, glamour, sports, fitness, and music can and often do become the longed-for gods of life and fulfillment for so many people -- not to mention the common vices.
As we grow up, our schools and mass media teach us anything but heart and love. God is thrown out, respect disappears, discipline is outlawed, heroes are no more, and absolute values are mostly considered a joke.
The nuclear family, the last real hope in the search for heart and love, has become cancer-ridden. The increase in broken homes, careless day care centers, unwed mothers, and pairs of working parents who prefer to be called "Betty and John" instead of "Mom and Dad" all rip the rug out from under our hopes and desperation to find fulfillment and joy in this world. We tend to build psychological and spiritual walls and fences around ourselves to protect our hearts. Where can we go? Who can help? What will revive our dying soul? Often there appears to be no one; no living God, no real friends, no hope... nothing.
One day we were gently touched by the warm hand of our spiritual parent and we discovered a new message, a new promise, and a new glimmer of hope emerged in our heart. Father explained everything so beautifully, and for once the world made sense. We could breathe at last. Father's message was that heart and love, the very things we were looking for, do exist.
Through Principle study, sacrifice, hard work, long hours, and making conditions we strove to move spirit world. Sometimes we underwent painful separations. With effort and experience, our personalities expanded. For some of us, the hope and anticipation of a life with God carried us for months and years. Some of us experienced the living God; others of us just persevered. But all the while our Father's message was consistently the necessity of receiving and giving God's heart and love.
The way in which the Principle and Unification Thought explain the nature of the living God can be understood through a diagram in which universal prime energy fills the outer ring or third level; law, concepts, emotion, will, and intellect fill the second level; and heart occupies the first level or core. Our Father's message reveals God's heart and love as the prime motivation for all creation.
Our activities, even our seemingly internal pursuits, may be actually paths of only the "second level"... knowledge and intellectual education, psychological introspection, behavioral positivity, etc. If these pursuits do not connect us with the core "first level" of heart and love, they can never really fulfill us. Most of the religious world searches for salvation in the material and external realms through theological rationalization, ceremony, ritual, tithes, and formulas. And the seemingly internal avenues of the "gifts of the Spirit" are often only "second-level" emotional experiences, distantly removed from the core heart and love of the living God.
Are we Unificationists able to rise above it all? Father's message is realizing God's parental heart and love, the core and "first-level" life of faith. But haven't we often missed the "first-level" message of Father? In good faith, but partly by cultural habit, we have sometimes mistakenly thought that a "second-level" path through material and external realms would lead us to our fulfillment. The reality is that it never will. We sometimes deceive ourselves into believing, for example, that reflection, repentance, and recommitment, which may not really involve our deepest heart, can restore us, and that sacrifice alone, apart from the heart, can result in spiritual growth.
We eventually discover that conditions, goals, results, and perseverance, without connection to heart, become as prisons to us. Even The Divine Principle, viewed through "second level" spectacles, can seem like a sponge of legalism to tire the soul rather than fill it with life. The seemingly internal aspects of our life, such as "moving the spirit world," can also remain "second-level" external experiences unless they touch and penetrate the core "first level" of God's parental heart.
Some of us may remember picking up Father's speech entitled, "How to Witness: To State Leaders," and thinking "How great! Now Father will reveal to us all the techniques and strategies that will enable us to bring spiritual children." But, of course, what we found was quite different; we found simply that we must convey God's message of heart and love. Father encouraged us to feel enough love to cry for people. Our spiritual children should be on our minds night and day. We must yearn for them in our hearts as if they were our own lost children. There are no techniques, strategies, or social skills for this. Father has said that we can sweat and toil all the days of our life, but if our actions are not connected to God's heart, nothing will remain.
The casualties of "second-level" lives of faith can mount up. The dusty roads of existence without heart can lead to just that -- mere existence. Unless even holy songs are sung in a way that the heart and spirit are involved, singing them has little value. Too often, as we get caught up in the bigger aspects of our public life, we overlook the simple point of truth that heart must be our core motivation.
The question is, are we really seeking God's love, longing for God's parental heart as the core motivation, direction, and purpose for everything we do? Or are we deceiving ourselves by thinking that love should come directly from brothers and sisters, or from husband or wife, or from children, or even from Father? We should know that the heart and love we seek ultimately come from the living God as we relate in a principled way with all of them, including Father himself.
That is Father's message. As soon as we begin to look beyond the "second-level" life of faith, which until now may have been our subsistence diet, and center our attention on the quest for the bountiful and compassionate heart and love of God which lies beneath it all, then without question our lives will be filled with genuine value and meaning. Father's message has always directed us to find the heart and love of God beneath every single aspect of our lives. We must seek and find our loving, compassionate, just, tender, empathizing, embracing, living Father in Heaven. Nothing else will ever get us to where we are going.
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