The Words of the Brazil Family
Our beloved Father, today, the [third] of October, is truly a special day -- is the day in which we celebrate the twenty-second Foundation Day for the Nation of the Unified World. And as well, in this nation of Korea, we are celebrating the Chuseok harvest day, in which truly we want to give thanks to our ancestors. Thank You, Heavenly Father, because we live in this special time of hope. Because of our True Parents, we know this hope can be realized, and human suffering can be ended.
Thank You, our beloved Heavenly Father, for the ministry of Hyung Jin Nim and Yeon Ah Nim. You have blessed this ministry to be one of love. Through it we can feel so much Your presence and so much Your personal care. Today we want to be again together with You.
It is also the first Saturday of the month of October, and we know that this new month is really full of events. We know we are preparing our hearts for the upcoming Blessing.
We want to be together with You today. We want to share each other’s heart. We want to come closer together, and we want to renew our desire and determination to give Your love to the world. Please be with Hyung Jin Nim and Yeon Ah Nim today, in America, and with our True Parents and with all the True Children.
And please, we ask that You can speak through our pastor Reverend Michael Brazil so that we can receive guidance for the week to come.
I would like to offer this prayer with all my brothers and sisters, in our own names as a Blessed Central Family. Aju.
Welcome brothers and sisters. We’re so happy that you are here. And, we’re so lucky to have you here at Chuseok. At our house, and in many places in Korea, there are so many beautiful fields of rice, and they’re just falling over -- almost ready to be harvested. One week it is really yellow and then the next week it’s kind of day-glow yellow. And then the next -- now it’s kind of a little bit brown and almost orange, with all the dragonflies running around! But actually, everyone in this room -- every single person -- together, we’re more beautiful than those fields of rice, because we are the harvest; we are the special people God has been waiting for. So don’t forget: you are really special, and God really loves you.
Welcome brothers and sisters and yes, thank you for coming on this beautiful Chuseok day. It’s an amazing day, isn’t it? The sun is shining, the air is cool, and it’s a beautiful day to be here. And so thank you very much for coming.
I’m going to read from the Cheon Seong Gyeong, page 1417…
“You need to be blessed in order to present yourself as ideal couples that have been victorious in all aspects of life, including culture, politics, and economics -- as representatives with Adam’s original authority. You must realize that such is the significance of the Blessing. This is a path that you cannot walk alone. In entering heaven, man is the right leg and woman the left. Alone, you could not be a complete person because you would be one-legged and therefore lame.”
And then from the next page (1418):
“Couples are blessed to become the embodiments of True Parents and, through their children, reach out to the nation and world, becoming its roots… The universe is a world of love -- it is not a cold-hearted and desolate place, but an enclosure of love. Just as the seeds are all wrapped in a shell, God also wants to reside in that realm of love that is the universe -- the enclosure of love -- with His plus and minus dual characteristics.”
This morning -- we were eating breakfast outside because it was so beautiful today -- my wife was saying that when she first heard about this Blessing ceremony on October 14th, the first thing that came to her mind: "Well, this is another thing that we have to do, another financial obligation we have to have." And I think, for a lot of us, you know, that’s kind of the first thing that pops into our mind. But she brought up a very, very good point: she said the more that she thought about it, she realized how wonderful this opportunity really is going to be for each and every one of us.
People spend a lot of money and a lot of time planning marriage re-dedication ceremonies. People get to be about our age and they say, “Well, let’s renew our marriage vows.” And they invite their friends and their families together and have a big party and celebration, as they renew the commitment towards each other. Well actually, this is kind of what we get to do. And not that expensive… (Laughter)
But isn’t it really wonderful that we will be together, celebrating, and getting re-Blessed, and going to another higher level together, as brothers and sisters? We got Blessed this way originally, and it’s really a wonderful opportunity -- for us to, again, renew our commitment to God, True Parents. And in front of the world we can hold up marriage as being the keystone of God’s kingdom here on earth. So, brothers and sisters, thank you very much for coming today, and please do what you can to help celebrate October 14th as a day of re-Blessing for us all. Aju.
Well, in the tradition of our senior pastor -- which I love -- he always starts his service with something very interesting. So, a little humor for you today! This [slide] might help you in understanding this humor (Acts 2:38 “…turn form your sin…”). An elderly woman had just returned to her home from an evening of religious service, when she was startled by an intruder. As she caught the man in the act of robbing her home of its valuables, she yelled, “Stop! Acts 2:38!” (Laughter)… which means “turn from your sin!” The burglar stopped dead in his tracks. The woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done.
As the officer cuffed the man to take him into prison, he asked the burglar, “Why did you just stand there? All she did was yell a scripture to you!” “Scripture?” replied the burglar. “She said she had an AXE and two 38’s!” (Laughter and applause)
Hello everyone. Thank you very much for coming today. Who knows what day this is -- in Korea? (Chuseok.) Indeed. And, this is a day of thanksgiving, here in Korea, so I’d like for us to do just a little exercise together. This is a day to give thanks, so what are you grateful for? So what I’d like for you to do, in the next 60 seconds, I’m going to give you 60 seconds, and I want you to think of ten things that you are grateful for. So just list them off on your fingers. And actually, if you can think of more than ten, fantastic -- keep going!
So everyone ready? Think of ten… Begin!
Okay, so how many of you thought of at least ten -- raise your hand. Okay. How many thought of more than ten? Impressive! How many thought of more than one -- no just kidding, ha-ha…
Actually, we really know the power of an attitude of gratitude. But today, I want to speak about a slightly different topic.
And let’s begin by looking at few World Scriptures. Let’s begin with Buddhism. So if you notice the forth word [on the slide], Tathagata, that actually is the name of Buddha -- that’s the name that he actually called himself. So let’s read together:
“I am the Tathagata, the Most Honored among men; I appear in the world like unto this great cloud, to pour enrichment on all parched living beings, to free them from their misery, to attain the joy of peace, joy of the present world, and joy of Nirvana,”
from the Lotus Sutra, number five.
Our next passage is from Christianity, and I think most of you have probably heard this one before; it’s slightly famous. Let’s read together:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,”
And let’s take a look at the next one, from Hinduism. From the Srimad Bhagavatam (11:2):
“We who live in the world, still attached to karmas, can overcome the world by thy grace alone.”
And next, let’s take a look at Islam. And this is from the Hadith, which are the sayings and doings of the prophet Mohammed.
“Abu Huraira reported God’s Messenger as saying, ‘There is none whose deeds alone would entitle him to get into Paradise.’ Someone said, ‘God’s Messenger, not even you?’ He replied, ‘Not even I, but that my Lord wraps me in mercy.’ ”
Next one is Unificationism. This is from Reverend Moon, (Mar. 9th) 1991. Let’s read together:
“God’s heart of love, God’s heart that belongs with creation, God’s heart of wanting to reside in the heart of every single person -- we can inherit all of these things. How precious this is! How joyful it is to discover that great value! It is a most sublime and noble position that nothing can rival. It is an amazing grace.”
And one more. … Again from Reverend Moon, Aug. 9, 1970. Let’s read together:
“A person who has received grace and is receiving love from God looks beautiful.”
Well, can you guess what my topic is today? (No response.) Ha-ha, okay. Actually, I would like to talk about grace and salvation.
So let’s take a look at the next slide. Today my sermon is entitled,
“Cheap Grace, Costly Grace, True Grace, Salvation.”
Now, grace can be a very complicated subject. Actually, as we noticed, all the major religions have the concept of grace. But, actually, in Christianity it’s especially significant and important. However, if you study Christianity, and if you study the concept of grace, it’s very complicated.
Let’s take a look at this next slide -- and take a look at a few different types of grace [in Christianity]. Now, first we have Divine Grace, Prevenient Grace, Sustaining Grace, Actual Grace, Sanctifying Grace, Justifying Grace, Irresistible Grace, Sola gratia Grace; there’s a grace found in Catholicism, the Catholic Church; Protestantism has their concept of Grace; Eastern Orthodoxy also has their concept… And there are many more.
So what is grace?
Well let’s take a look at a very simple definition [of grace] that I think most Christians would agree upon: In Christianity, GRACE is “unmerited favor” from God. Grace is the receipt of a positive benefit that one does not deserve to receive.
Grace is something we receive yet we have not earned it -- we do not deserve it. At the center of this idea of grace is the concept of salvation. And salvation means what for Christians? Going to heaven. Congratulations! You are going to heaven. So how is one saved in the Christian faith? By grace, and by faith.
With that background, I want to ask you a question. And when I ask you this question … what thought goes through your mind? If I were to say to you, “Congratulations! You’re saved! You are saved!” Okay. What goes through your mind? What did you think of? (From the audience: Saved from what?) “Okay, saved from what? All right, this guy is crazy!”
Well maybe many of you, or some of you, thought what I thought many years ago, when I went to visit one of my professors at UTS (Unification Theological Seminary). And, at that time, when I was at UTS, most of the professors were not members of the Unification movement. However, this particular minister was. And I walked into his office -- I had some questions to ask about his class -- and I sat down, and he looked at me and he said, “Do you realize? We’re saved!”
“…Okay?” And, he must have seen the expression on my face -- which truly demonstrated what I was thinking inside -- and he quickly, he said, “Well -- okay, yeah, okay -- understand, we have our portion of responsibility -- YES, we have to accomplish God’s will. BUT -- we’re saved!” And I really thought he was a little crazy. I thought maybe he lost a few of his marbles.
And yet, let’s take a look at this next slide. Take a look at a passage from the Divine Principle. And this is from the Fall, section 5.1,
“The meaning of Freedom from the Viewpoint of the Principle: Second, there is no freedom without responsibility. Human beings, created according to the Principle, can reach perfection only by fulfilling their responsibility based on their free will.”
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s in there. Page 74.
Of course we know that our portion of responsibility is very important. So, again when I went to visit this professor at UTS, he really surprised me. What do you think? Do you think I ever went back to visit him? No. I did not. And yet, many years later, as I thought about what he had said, I came to realize… that he’s right! He is right! We truly are saved! Now, I know some of you that say, “From what?” Okay, don’t worry -- we’ll get to that.
I’d like to call your attention to an amazing man who lived many years ago: a German theologian, by the name of Dietrich Bonheoffer [1906-1945]. He lived at the time of World War II, and tragically, he died one month before World War II ended. He was executed. First, he was put into prison for helping Jews escape Germany, into Switzerland. And this young man was quite brilliant. … In 1937 he wrote a very famous book, “The cost of Discipleship.” And in this book he talked about different types of grace -- two and types: cheap grace and costly grace.
And let’s take a look at what he meant by cheap grace. And please read with me:
“Cheap Grace … is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ living and incarnate.”
In Reverend Bonheoffer's perspective, cheap grace was the type when a Christian accepted Jesus and yet didn’t really change -- felt that: “My sins have been washed away. I’m saved; I am going to heaven -- regardless of how I live, what I do. I already have a ticket into the kingdom.” But actually, Dietrich Bonhoeffer had a slightly different perspective.
Now let’s take a look at what he thought about costly grace. This is just one passage of many in his book. Let’s read together:
"Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it costs God the life of his Son. Yes, we were bought at a price, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us."
These are very famous passages. Costly grace. Actually the grace that we have received through Jesus came at a very steep price -- very expensive. So Dietrich Bonhoeffer asked people to become true Christians, to truly become Christ-like, to follow in the footsteps of Christ… which is a costly grace. Easy to live that way? Is it easy to be a true Christian? It’s very difficult.
Well how about true grace? What is that?! Brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, have you ever heard of true grace? (No response.) Hello? No! Okay.
Well, let’s read… Let’s read together:
“Grace provided by our True Parents’ victorious standard of Parental Heart and Love, fully reflecting the love and heart of God.”
Now, for Unificationists, True Parents means a man and a woman who reflect the true heart, the true love of God -- who have inherited God’s parental heart and express it. That is what we understand. Grace that comes from God through his true son and daughter to us.
And with this in mind, I’d like to share with you a story that I heard. It is actually a dream that a member of our movement had many years ago. Perhaps my details are a little bit different but let’s take a look at the next slide. In her dream she was back in the Middle Ages. And she was on trial in a dungeon-like courtroom. She was on trial for the crimes of her life. And she was terrified. She feared greatly that she was going to receive a guilty verdict. And the punishment of being guilty was what? Death. Not just death, but a very painful, suffering-filled death. And she, again, was extremely worried that the trial was not going well. And with each passing day her fear grew stronger and stronger. “I’m not going to survive! They are going to find me guilty.” And towards the end of the trial when basically she had lost all hope and was truly in a state of depression, one day the door of the courthouse flew open, and in walked the queen of the kingdom. And she looked around, and she saw the young woman who was on trial, and she said to the judge, “I know this woman. And I take responsibility for her, for she is my daughter.” Well, at that the judge had no option: he had to proclaim her innocence and set her free.
How do you think she felt? What emotions do you think must have been going through her mind? And by the way, who do you think the queen was -- in her dream? Any idea? The queen, when she looked more closely, was Mrs. Moon, whom we call True Mother. And when she woke up from that dream, she said, “I really now understand being saved by True Parents, saved from death.” So how do you think she felt? What type of feelings do you think she must have had? Here are a few suggestions [on the slide]: Joy; Elation, which means great joy; Happiness; Great hope, blank.
Fill in the blank. What do you think -- give me some suggestions. How would you feel if you had been that person? (Repeating audiences responses) “Gratitude!” Absolutely. What else? “Liberated!” What else? “Relief!” Ha-ha…Well that’s true. What else? “Resurrected!” … “Saved!” [Jokes:] “What does that mean?" Ha-ha… “Indebted.” Do you think there was anything that that sister would not, could not do for Mrs. Moon?
Reverend Moon said one time, “If you were a criminal and your death was imminent, and you were to die in a few days, and someone came and took responsibility for you and liberated you, is there anything you could not do for that person?" Nothing, right? There’s nothing we would not do for that person who set us free -- free from death.
Let’s see the next slide. Okay. Let’s take a look at this passage again:
“A person who has received grace and is receiving love from God looks beautiful”
True Parents, 1970.8.9]. Would you agree with that passage? (Yes.)
Christians talk about salvation. And it is a paramount concept in their faith. So, I am sure many times you have heard, “Are you saved? Have you been saved?!” And how do the Christians think, how do they feel usually, the Christians, that take this deep to heart? Have you met Christians who exude that gratitude, that joy, that confidence? Have you met such Christians? Now, brothers and sisters, be honest, did you envy them a little bit? Do you envy their joy, their happiness? Just a little bit?
A very famous elder in our movement happens to be Mrs. Moon’s mother, whom we call Dae Mo Nim, “Great Mother.” She said one time, “You must be joyful! You must be happy! And you must express it!” Why?!
Well, let’s face it (speaking in a sarcastic tone): everybody loves to go to a church that’s really boring, right? Everyone loves to go to a church where everyone is depressed… uninspired… Don’t you just love it?
Or do you want to go to a church that is filled with life and inspiration and joy and happiness?!
Gee, I’m a little worried… Which one is it here?! (Joy!) Is it the first one or the second one? (The second!) I’m not so sure! I’m warning you: Hyung Jin Nim might watch this later. (Laughter) I guess I’d better be worried. (More laughter)
I don’t know about you but I know I envy people who always are happy and joyful and outgoing. And I’ve often thought, “I want to be like that.” And I know, we Unification members, we often say, (exaggerating a cynical tone) “Yeah, but you know, those Christians, they don’t really know. Their faith is so simple. They don’t really understand ‘portion of responsibility’. They’re going to be surprised when they go to spirit world.” (Laughter)
But actually, we can learn a lot from the Christians. We need to have that same heart of joy. We need to have that same inspiration. I mean, think about it! Think about it! If you really would believe you’re saved -- what I mean by saved is that you’re not going to hell, you are not going to hell; you are going to a good place in the next life -- wouldn’t you be grateful? Wouldn’t you be happy? (In a low and depressed voice:) “I’m depressed. OK, good, okay, I’m not going to hell. Maybe heaven. Okay.”
But you know, sometimes I wonder, even myself. Actually this sermon is for ME! I look in the mirror and think: “Saved? Huh? Grace? True grace? Salvific grace?”
Brothers and sisters, I think we’ve got to feel it. If you think about it, what has our senior pastor here been telling us? Do you realize just recently he started his third year of ministry? He started his third year of ministry. And the first two years, what did he do? He really embraced us, didn’t he? He really loved us. He lifted us up. He encouraged us. He told us, "You’re special! You’re God’s children! Be proud of who you are!” And his message recently, also: “Let’s be proud!” So what do you have to be proud of? “Uh… Well… Um… Yeah... uh…” Yeah, what do you have to be proud of? Anything? Do we understand how incredible the grace is that we have received? Do you really understand it? Do you really comprehend it? Do you really feel it?
We should be filled with an incredible joy! Why not? Don’t you think so? Why should we not be filled with an incredible joy that we have been blessed tremendously? Christians think they have been blessed. Our blessing is so much greater in comparison.
Again, recently, our senior pastor Hyung Jin Moon has been enlightening us, teaching us about an amazing experience that he had: the revelation that he received. About True Parents, Reverend and Mrs. Moon, sacrificing their lives, dying seven times. For whom? For their children? For the entire world. Is it easy to sacrifice for your children? Yeah! Come on, be honest: it’s easy to sacrifice for your own, biological children. But how about, is it easy to sacrifice for children who are not your biological children? That’s not so easy.
That’s the grace that we’ve received. That’s the amazing grace that we’ve received.
I really want to encourage each of you, when Hyung Jin Nim is here, to come and attend, at least one time, his five am service. It’s really a deep experience, where he celebrates the seven deaths and resurrections. He celebrates the eight-stage completion. If you come, please make sure you come with the English translation. It will help tremendously; help you understand what’s happening. But I really encourage you to come. It’s such a deep, deep experience.
Brothers and sisters, we really need to feel, we really need to feel that we have received God’s grace! We have been saved! That means we can go to the Kingdom of Heaven! And we know in our movement -- we believe in our movement -- that no matter how great the grace is that Jesus brought, the grace that our True Parents have brought is far superior. I know, I could get burned at the stake for that, if I said that in the wrong place -- but this is the right place. But we really have to feel it. We really have to feel it. Why? So people will be attracted to us.
And now Hyung Jin Nim’s message to us is “Stand up, become mature, and take responsibility.” Have you noticed his message is changing? It’s very interesting. Have you noticed that? It’s almost like he said (imitating Hyung Jin Nim’s voice), “Okay I’ve loved you enough. You know … It’s time to grow up!” It’s time to stand up and be proud of who you are, proud of what we’ve received, believe in that, and share it. And I know that many of us have felt such a burden. (Sounding tired, overwhelmed:) “Well, okay, I’ve got all this grace, but I have to save the world. It’s too heavy!” But I think that’s the wrong attitude.
One brother told me one time -- he gave a very good example, which I think is very appropriate here -- he said: when he reads an exciting book, and it really inspires him, then, what does he want to do? He wants to share it with another person because he thinks that book might help them. He thinks the same joy he got, that person might get, too. I mean do you do that? Do you feel that way? So how much more should we feel with what we’ve received? So, it’s true -- for me, too, for me most of all.
Actually, if we feel this amazing grace that we have received -- this true grace -- we want to go out. We want to attract other people. Out of duty? Out of obligation? No! Why? I want to give to you what I’ve received! And in the past, I know, sometimes we felt like, “I don’t want to bring anyone to this church because all we do is suffer.” But you know: those days are over. I really believe those days are over. Yeah, there are challenges. There will be challenges. But we’re in an amazing new time, where we can really feel God’s love and grace. And we can give that to other people. So that when people see us, when people come to our service, they feel something. Because -- why? -- WE feel something, and we want to give it to others. Is this easy? No. But I think, I really think, we’ve got to change our thinking. We have to really come to believe: “I am saved! My life is totally different. True Parents have given me new life."
So, I really believe that we as Unificationists, we should exhibit the greatest joy. We should exhibit the most genuine fulfillment, an authentic heart of joy and gratitude for the gifts we’ve received. You know, Reverend Moon said one time, “Ah, you just can’t understand, can you? You just can’t understand the time you live in. You just don’t get it.” Don’t you feel that way sometimes? I know I feel that way.
But, what can we learn today? I really want to challenge you -- and challenge me. I really want you to think about: What have we received? Is it great? Is it salvific? Is it our liberation? And what does it mean to you? Should it impact your life? Should it change your life? Should it empower you? Inspire you? Or should it depress you: “I’m really sorry, you’ve got to change the world. You’ve got to save the world. I’m really sorry.” Or should it be like: “Wow! Great, no problem! I can do that! But I need some help! Well, yeah, I can do that!”
I really hope that you can think about this, and take this and receive it, and we can really LIVE this life, so that actually Christians will be jealous of us, will envy us, because they look and they’ll say, “Wow! Are those Unificationists on drugs or something?” (Laughter) Don’t you think so? They should envy us. Our grace, our salvation is far superior.
So when I think back on that professor, he was ahead of his time. He was right. I was the one who was crazy; he was the person who was right. So brothers and sisters, I hope that today you can, perhaps in your hearts, feel that you are saved. You have been given life that no one can give us. And that life we want to share with others. We want to experience it to the greatest depth. And we want to return it, to bring joy to God, joy to our True Parents, joy to our senior pastor, joy to each other, and whom else? To ourselves, to our families.
So please join me in prayer.
Our Heavenly Father. We really want to thank You today and we really, Heavenly Father, apologize to You. You have loved us so deeply and so much; and yet, perhaps we have not been able to understand it sufficiently. We haven’t understood the amazing grace given to us. And perhaps we looked at it as a burden! Please help us, to change that heart if that’s what we think. Help us to look at it as an amazing, incredible gift, that, as we read, is a grace that we are undeserving of. But You want to pour out Your spirit, Your heart, Your love, and shower all of it upon us. You want us to become Your true sons and daughters. You want us to become perfect, as You are perfect, as Jesus exhorted us to be.
Heavenly Father, we really want to express our gratitude to You today. Today is the day of thanksgiving. What more can we be grateful for than the amazing love and grace that we have received. Please help us to feel it. Please truly, truly help us to feel it, in the depth of our being. So that, what we do is not a burden, is not an obligation, but a joy!
We know there are going to be challenges and difficulties. But yet, Father, we want to really be filled with Your spirit and Your love. We really want to inherit the true love, so that we really can understand the amazing heart that our True Parents have given to us. We want to inherit that, so that we can bring joy to You and we can reach out and give joy to others. Heavenly Father, please help us to inherit that true love so that we can really feel how much You love us, and that we can be filled to the brim -- bursting with hope, with joy, elation, ecstasy! …Any adjective we can think of that describes how we feel when we understand Your salvific grace.
Our Heavenly Father, we thank You so much again. We really want to offer to You our gratitude. We want to reach out to our True Parents, Reverend and Mrs. Moon in America, and thank them. We want to reach out to our senior pastor couple, Hyung Jin Moon and Yeon Ah Lee, thanking them for all that they have given to us. And that, we can be mature and stand tall -- stand proud of what we have! And that we can build Your kingdom here on this earth, because we want to share what we’ve been given.
Father, again we thank You so much. Please bless each person here. Please guide each person. Please, Father, shower Your love upon each person here; that they will know and understand that they truly are a son and daughter of Yours. Please bless them in any difficulties they face. We know in difficulties sometimes it’s hard to feel You. It may be hard to believe in grace and salvation. But Father, bless and guide each person here, that they really can feel Your love and Your heart and Your truth; so that we really can live it.
Again I thank You and I most humbly offer and report all this to You, together as Blessed brothers and sisters, Blessed sons and daughters from around the world. Aju.