Day 43 – Bless All My Children
Portland, Eugene – August 3, 2014
By Dr. Michael Balcomb
Within just seconds of concluding the 48-state, 43-day, 55-Holy Ground pilgrimage, I felt the urgent voice of True Father ringing in my heart, asking the question: “So, what are we going to do now?”
The answer I received is very clear and almost embarrassingly simple. In Father’s oft repeated words, we “have to become small Reverend Moons, small True Parents, take on that mission and perfect it.” In other words, what we have to do now, to revive and expand our American Unification movement, is to do exactly what True Parents did when they began their mission to the United States, and to bring that work to successful completion.
Father and Mother spent their entire lives witnessing to the love and truth of God. They spoke and talked about it every day without exception. They delivered the Word at major events and in hundreds of public speeches, and Father in particular shared intimately and directly at the meal table, at church, on the boat, on the road, and in every conceivable way.
Today our True Mother is doing the same, with much appreciated focus and conciseness. She is asking us to do the same. And so, at every Holy Ground we’ve been asking the congregation to honestly answer this question: “Did you witness today? Did you testify today? Did you share the blessing of God today, not yesterday, not simply planning to do it tomorrow?”
For too many of us, the answer is “no.” We didn’t share today, yesterday, last week, or even last month. For some it has been years. But without doing this there is no way for God to bring the hoped-for Pentecost, awakening and revival in the United States and throughout the world.
Let us be clear: Each one of us has to make a pledge and a determination to share the blessings we have received with at least one other person every day. We have to do it because we want to, because we can’t help it, because the truth cannot be contained, and because it simply is not just for us, never was.
What we don’t have to do is worry about the results or the outcome of that sharing. A large part of what happens next is God’s responsibility, and some of it is the other person’s responsibility. We are simply called to plant the seeds, and God, or others, will provide the water and the aftercare.
Yet the honest reality—confirmed by the thin show of hands in every state and every city—is that as a movement and a church family we have NOT been paying attention to this simple but fundamental duty. Until this pilgrimage began, I wasn’t even doing it myself. Now I am, and I can feel the difference. I am absolutely convinced that once we all start doing it, everything will change.
There’s one more thing: We have to share the Blessing of True Parents with the world. Father and Mother have made it very clear, time and again, that the Blessing is the gateway to salvation, to being freed from the sinful lineage of history and being grafted into God’s True Family, where we take our destined place as His True Sons and Daughters.
We’ve neglected this too. Yes, it’s true that fifteen years ago we made great efforts to share the Blessing in external, symbolic ways. During this pilgrimage I actually met many devoted members who had shared the Blessing in this way with hundreds and even thousands of Americans. Yet all admitted that the real transformational power of the Blessing had not yet been properly conveyed. Many said that they no longer felt worthy or capable of sharing the Blessing of God.
It is vitally important for us to recognize and understand what is and is not our responsibility. We may indeed feel—I certainly often do—that we are far from worthy or sufficient to share the Blessing. That is the blunt truth. We may be hedged around with doubts and fears. It may even seem that our conscience is telling us that we just aren’t qualified, and we shouldn’t try to pretend to others that we are.
But what True Father told me in Eugene, Oregon, yesterday was that none of that really matters. “It’s not your Blessing I’m asking you to share,” he said. “It is God’s Blessing, it is True Parents’ Blessing. That Blessing remains pure, effective and essential, today and forever.
“Nothing you can do can ever add or subtract from that Blessing,” he continued. “But you can and you must multiply that Blessing, and that is the only way you and your families, America and the world can be saved and liberated.”
God, our Heavenly Parent, told me that as soon as we have made that determination or redetermination, in a way that He can trust, He will show us what to do and how to do it, and He will quickly send all the people needed to finish the task.
So what are we waiting for?
The Grand Finale
Portland, Oregon, is at the end of the Oregon Trail, the bright place the pioneers were looking for. We “holy rollers,” as we’ve been nicknamed, arrived at the Holy Ground early in the morning, atop Mount Tabor, a dormant volcano. Our prayer place stood between three trees, signifying a trinity.
Pastor Emeritus David Coryell opened in prayer to raise the spirit, calling for a revival of Father Moon’s original visit in 1965, rededicating to this great cause and inviting God here to join with us. Nina Pullman then read words from Father Moon: “You cannot impress God with numbers, but only with fervent faith.”
America has started with a good tradition; all we have to do is revive it. Everything is already there, in place, and ready to be moved. Think of all the people we have met across the nation—joggers in parks, passing cars with their passengers giving us thumbs up, ministers and friends—people are ready. Father Moon set a foundation, with so many people now carrying his words around the world. Teddy Sylte from Seattle then shared that he traveled a lot, even in developing countries, and met people everywhere who know Father and Mother Moon. “In the most remote, random village, people would open up their homes to me just based on that connection. I can see the fingerprints of Father and Mother Moon all over the world, and what we need is to let new people into our family.”
David Roberts took this notion a step further, saying that Father Moon gave everything so that America could stand up and build the heavenly kingdom. We are not here to honor Father Moon, but to take responsibility and take on as much of the overall burden as we can possibly bear. “Father and Mother Moon worked so hard,” said Nelson Mira, a former pastor from Kodiak, Alaska, who met them there quite often. “Now it’s our turn.”
“Never give up,” said Dr. Michael Balcomb, relaying a message from Mother Moon. “Always remember that God has a plan for you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ God’s plan for you might not be your Plan A, or even B or C. It might be your Plan ZZZ, but God’s plan is the best plan. Let us sow the seeds of true love, open our hearts and speak out.”
The feeling began to settle in, as we dispersed and boarded the bus one last time, that we were approaching the end of our journey. Goodbyes would have to be said, and final words spoken, but most of all, we would have to carry forward, with reinvigorated spirits, God’s Hope for America into our daily lives.
So on Day 43, at Holy Ground 55 at Hendricks Park in Eugene, Oregon, we had an intimate and peaceful prayer gathering in a small garden. Since the area did not allow loud public gatherings, we prayed softly but tearfully and embraced the moment of completing the pilgrimage. There was a sense of incredible unity and love as the feeling settled in—together, we did it.
To make up for the required silence at the Holy Ground, we cheered wildly as we got off the bus in downtown Eugene for the final celebration, with our last red carpet exit. A hybrid band of our bus’s guitar player, Ricky Joswick, and Seattle musicians opened up Sunday service with our favorite songs of the pilgrimage: our remix of “Higher Ground” (“Holy Ground”), “God Bless America” and “Light of Grace.”
The eight persons who did the entire pilgrimage from start to finish led the songs as well, and were recognized with a plaque containing two stones: one collected from Twin Peaks on June 22, the beginning of the journey, and one from this very spot—Hendricks Park in Eugene. These eight ultimate pilgrims are: the driver, Paul Vetterli, FFWPU President Dr. Michael Balcomb, guitarist Rick Joswick, Sang-moo Borneman from New York, Hiroshi Suzuki from New York, Seijin Shirotori from Texas, Yuri Jesper from Japan, Yarsiah Nelson from Africa, and Jim Mathison.
A Unificationist youth from Seattle read Father Moon’s words from his speech “America Is God’s Hope,” given in 1976. “God seeks to build one family of all humankind,” said Father Moon, urging us to break all barriers and unite as one family under God.
A Christian minister then spoke about her background, stressing the importance of having a personal connection and experience with God. In her ministry she works with people of all faiths to find their spiritual goals, wherever it is that they are. Father Moon also taught this message of universality, to reach out to and pray for everybody. True Father was wise in knowing that you need to plant seeds of faith, as he did by planting the 55 Holy Grounds.
Two youths who had been riding the bus also spoke about their experiences. Robert Martin expressed how he was moved by the unison prayer at the Holy Grounds, during which he could truly feel our unison and combined strength. Marisa Melchiorre described the heart of service that she felt and could see perpetuating among the bus riders and communities.
Dr. Balcomb gave the closing words: “What do we do now? When praying, I realized that we should do exactly as Father Moon did. He established the Holy Grounds, and he blessed people by sharing the word of God. We need to do this, even if it takes suffering, to return the legacy to God. Father Moon once said, ‘I want you to be a little Reverend Moon. You might feel imperfect, but that doesn’t matter. It isn’t our word but God’s word that we are spreading.’
“This pilgrimage totaled 14,111 miles. That is significant, seeing that it is the year (20)14, and 111 to Father Moon always signified witnessing to one person per month per year. In truth, we need to reach out to one person per day. It is possible.
“Mother Moon sent the following message from Kona, Hawaii, today: ‘Thank you for your prayers across the nation. I hope America can start anew as the elder son nation for the world. God bless you and your families.’”