On November 3rd, the 39th Seonghwa Festival for the Heavenly Japan was held at the Oze Cemetery in Katashina, Tone-gun, Gunma Prefecture. The name of the celebration was changed from the All Japan Seonghwa Festival to the Seonghwa Festival for the Heavenly Japan, and this was first the celebration held under this name. Bang Sang-il, Regional Group President of the Heavenly Japan for the Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community was the main speaker and he emphasized the importance of living with goodness and preparing for eternal life in the spiritual world according to the principles of heaven.
A blink of an eye compared to eternal life in spirit world
Members of the senior families and to all members here today, as well as all blessed family members who have joined online, good day.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Heavenly Parent (God) and True Parents for welcoming us with a clear autumn sky, beautiful colored leaves, and the magnificence of nature.
Oze Cemetery opened in 1983 under Mr. Hideo Tomaru, its first groundskeeper who offered his his ancestral fields to the heavens and started transforming it into a cemetery in 1981. Based on the wish of True Parents to “create a cemetery for the ascended blessed families and second generation who will live eternally in spirit world,” Mr. Tomaru was able to overcome the impossible with assistance from spirit world to open this cemetery. Let us give Mr. Hideo Tomaru a big round of applause.
Today’s Seonghwa Festival for the Heavenly Japan will be the 39th memorial service, which began under the name, “Unification Memorial Service,” which was the first of its kind; and I have two things I would like to share. First, Masatoshi, the eldest son of the current groundskeeper, Hiroyasu Tomaru (1800 couple), will become its third groundskeeper. Second, Reverend Noriyuki Abe (777 couple) will be replaced by Reverend Kunihiko Shibanuma (777 couple) as the Chairman of the Oze Seiwa Family Association. Please give them a round of applause on their new beginning.
True Father said that human beings start life in the womb for ten months, live on Earth for about 100 years, and live eternally in the spirit world, thereafter. I’m sure you’ve heard this so many times that you must be sick of it.
When the baby is in her womb, the mother refrains from an unhealthy lifestyle, such as drinking or smoking, as it would adversely affect the baby’s development. Likewise, we must not do what we are told not to do and fulfill our mission given by heaven from the moment we’re born until we die in preparation for eternal life in the spiritual world. True Father always emphasized this point. Compared to eternal life in the spirit world, life on earth takes place in a blink of an eye. Therefore, you must live in goodness according to the principles of heaven.
For the first time in human history, details of the spiritual world were revealed by True Parents
Do you know of the four great saints? We refer to Confucius, Buddha, Jesus Christ and Socrates as the four great saints. In preparation for today’s seonghwa celebration, I looked into what the four great saints thought in regards to death.
There was a disciple called Zhong You who was loved by Confucius. When he asked Confucius, “Teacher, what is death,” Confucius replied, “How do we know about death when we don’t know enough about life?”
Buddha understood the four hardships as being life, old age, illness, and death; and these were “the inevitable sufferings that human beings cannot escape from,” and he taught how to overcome these sufferings of earthly life. He emphasized that we need to be liberated from earthly desires that trouble us, and he tried to impart the wisdom of living in a state of enlightenment.
While Confucius died at 74 and Buddha at 80, Jesus died on the cross at the young age of 33. In this day and age, people may listen to older people talk about the afterlife, but what if young people talk about death? Christians and others, who have been moved by the Bible, yearn for Jesus, but how many people in Jesus’ day believed in him? He was in his thirties and preached how “God is like this” or “life should be lived in such and such a manner.” In addition, Jesus was born to an unwed woman in a strict Jewish society where it was said that those who committed adultery should be stoned to death.
Jesus must have known many secrets, including those of the spirit world, entrusted to him by God that he was to share with humankind. However, he could not convey everything as it is stated in the Bible, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear” (John 16:12). How frustrating and discouraging must it have been for him?
Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Western philosophy. He preached the knowledge of ignorance (Socratic ignorance) that being aware of your own ignorance is the way to true awareness, and he continued to deeply explore how people should live. His disciple, Plato, wrote in The Apology of Socrates, “Death may be the greatest blessing of all human blessings, but no one knows it.”
Thus, even the four great saints do not explain the spirit world in detail. Jesus touches upon this subject to some extent, but not in a way that True Parents have taught us. In the Bible, there is no mention of ancestral resentment or ancestral blessing. Considering this point, I think members of the Family Federation are in a really good position. Here, we don’t just “feel” the existence of the spiritual world, but we can “see” it as if watching a movie.
I think you have heard of the messages sent by Reverend Sang Hun Lee (36 couple) from the spirit world. These messages have been compiled into a book called Reality of the Spiritual World and Life on Earth. I once read it deeply and used it as material for sermons for a whole year.
In addition, in the seventh volume of Cheon Seong Gyeong: The Holy Scripture of Cheon Il Guk, you can find many of True Father’s words about the spiritual world. As I read it again, I was amazed at how detailed his teachings about the spiritual world were, and I realized his greatness, once again.
Heaven is where married couples and families go together
We cannot see the Heavenly Parent with our eyes. That’s why many people don’t believe in God. However, you have to know that things you cannot see have tremendous value.
We cannot see air with our eyes, but within a few minutes, or in tens of minutes, we will all be wiped out if there is no air. Despite receiving such a precious thing as air, we have not given anything in return. There are other things we cannot see, such as people’s hearts, but we live our lives being able to feel these things. True Father taught us that the most important of the things that cannot be seen is God, the owner of the spirit world.
God is a being of true love. True love is all about living for the sake of others.
Everyone wants true love, but love is possible only when we live for others. We need to serve and sacrifice for our partner. Everyone avoids a person who relates to others with the attitude, “You should live for me.” This selfish individualism I Satan’s strategy, purpose and tool; the result can only be hell.
Cheon Seong Gyeong: The Holy Scripture of Cheon Il Guk. p. 276
Hell is a place where there is no love, and heaven is a place where people live for each other, where love abounds. Aren’t you happy when you feel love in your homes? If there is no love in your homes, it can be like hell even if the family is together.
The Christian Church teaches that if you, the individual, believe in Jesus, you can go to heaven. However, True Father clearly refuted this teaching. He said:
Until now the purpose of religion has been to save individuals. However, the purpose of the Unification Church is the salvation of the family, rather than the individual. Although we seek salvation, it is based on the family, and while seeking the kingdom of heaven, we do not speak of a husband going to the kingdom of heaven while his wife goes to hell. Both of them go to the kingdom of heaven together. Likewise, we do not let our parents go to hell. Instead, we bring them to the kingdom of heaven, along with our children.
Cheon Seong Gyeong: The Holy Scripture of Cheon Il Guk. p. 576
Heaven is where married couples go together. True Father emphasized the word “together.” Even if you have great personal faith, you cannot go to heaven by yourself. Therefore, if your wife does not have faith, please take good care of her as a daughter of heaven. On the other hand, if you are the wife and you are a devout churchgoer but your husband is not living a life of faith, love him, devote yourself to him, and convey the word to him.
Then, what would you do if you (the parents) had faith but your children don’t? Parents cannot be happy if they are the only ones that enter heaven. Therefore, you have to pass down the tradition of faith to your children which you, as parents, established, and take them to heaven with you. In some blessed families, the parents have gone astray but the children are still faithful. In these cases, the children will need to lead the parents so they may go to heaven together.
I think it may be painful to some members when they hear of such stories. But this is the way: the way of principle. Even if you have family members that are now distant from the church, take care of each and every one of them from the bottom of your hearts. Never give up on guiding them to heaven, and invest your love in them.
The greatest gift to heaven is to be the main players in the Cheonbo discipline
Secularly, “death” is the death of the physical body. However, the spirit body does not die. Instead, it lives forever in the spirit world. So paying respect at ancestral graves is not just a formal or cultural custom. When you stand before your parents’ (ancestors’) graves, feel their presence that they are watching over you, and report to them, “Someday, I’ll go to the place where you are. Please make preparations and wait for me. I will inherit all that you have done and do my best here on Earth.”
God’s favorite thing is to live for others. Above all, He would be most happy to see people risk their lives to save others. When we visit our parents, we prepare some gifts for them. This is a courtesy to them. But what can we bring to God when we go to the spirit world? Money and power are not necessary in the spiritual world. God needs children of faith who have practiced love.
The greatest gift we can give to God and True Parents is to be victorious in establishing 430 vertical generations and 430 horizontal families, as well as become the main players in the Cheonbo discipline. This will also be the gift to the senior members who have already gone to the spiritual world.
Here (Oze Cemetery) is home to the blessed families and members that have devoted their lives to heaven’s will under the guidance of True Parents. Senior family members, who have gone to the spiritual world and know about it better than we do, will come down to us every day and tell us what we need to do.
On October 24th, I was deeply moved by the songs performed by the North Korea Baekdu Halla Art Troupe at the Cheon Il Guk Victory Banquet for the 9th Anniversary of the True Parent of Heaven, Earth, and Humankind, Sun Myung Moon’s Cosmic Ascension. In particular, I was moved by the third song they performed titled, “Baekdu and Halla are My Fatherland.”
The tallest mountain in North Korea is Mount Baekdu, and in South Korea, it is Mount Halla on Jeju Island. As we listened to them sing about the hope for the unification of the two Koreas, we were reminded that we must stand before True Mother and devote all of our cheongseong.
Grace from the special prayer room at Cheon Shim Won has been inherited, and the foundation to receive assistance from the spiritual world has been established. Ladies and gentlemen, let us become Cheonbo families and return joy to heaven as tribal messiahs. And let us protect the second generation, Jacob’s children, and third generation. We must show them our love so they don’t feel lonely, and bring them back to heaven.
Starting this year, the seonghwa festivals, that have been held separately at different cemeteries of ours all over Japan, will be held simultaneously. This is the time for all of the members to realize, once again, the importance of receiving assistance form spirit world and walking the path of the faith together with them.
We are now in the second 7-year course—the final stage in God’s 6,000-year providence of restoration. True Mother is walking this Earth with us, so let us do our best and feel as if fulfilling her hopes is more important than our own lives.
I sincerely hope the Mother Nation of Japan can be restored to heaven as quickly as possible and that our ancestors and senior family members watch over and assist us as absolute good spirits.