|A Reflection: What is Required in Order to Be the One True Church?
|In those faiths that also come with an entire culture attached (Judaism, Islam, Catholicism, Unificationism and others), to marry outside your faith can be an automatic self-excommunication. In some cases, everything that lies an inch or more outside the faith’s perimeter is damnation.
As written by Pope Eugene IV in 1441, “It [the Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart into everlasting fire…”
Seldom has the term “Papal bull” been more aptly used.
Unificationism teaches that if you marry outside the realm of the Holy Wine Blessing, then your marriage inhabits a place midway between good and evil (although your mileage may vary). However, there is general acknowledgment that, regardless of the realm of your marriage, being faithful to one’s spouse is an altogether godly thing that is celebrated by all of heaven and earth. Still, Unificationists honor the specialness of the Holy Wine Ceremony, as that which engrafts a couple into God’s lineage, as well as offering other benefits conditionally. This is my church and I honor this as well. It is also what I want for the world.
However, at least with Unificationism, the path that leads Godward has been widening over the years. We have gone from the time of True Father choosing every member’s spouse, with as much as 7 years of separation before consummation, to self-selection, re-Blessings and the Blessing of already married people outside of Unificationism. No matter how you arrive at the Blessing, it’s worth a lot more than what you give to get it. I like to think of the Blessing as a freely-given invitation of immeasurable value, a “for God so loved the world” kind of gift now offered to an ever-growing diversity of people. The True Parents are authorized by heaven to offer a special grace that is bigger than our own church. It’s what they’re here for.
I have always felt that the One True Church (OTC) has to be available for everyone without an undue amount of catechism and secret handshakes, and without one necessarily being born into it. I’m happy that we have a large church building with ceremonies and rules. Such things foster a sense of belonging and community. But I think most of us also believe God is bigger than any one church building or administration, and that His love does not stop at the front door of the building. And because of that, we are being called upon to broaden our concept of “church.” We now explain the Holy Wine Blessing to people from everywhere, and many accept it with gratitude and tear-filled eyes. For some, our conviction in the mere telling of it is the most real God has ever been to them. For others it confirms what they already know. People encountering the Holy Wine Blessing express, “It makes me feel like God knows who I am and God wants me.” The growing “ecumenization” of the Holy Wine Blessing is one of the things that makes me think Father’s church, more like a movement actually, is the OTC.
Another reason I think the Unification Church is the OTC is that nobody here ever tried to discourage me from studying the other faiths, or from attending other churches. I have found this one aspect of our faith to be immensely liberating. There is a tendency, when people of different scriptures are attending an interfaith conference, for each one to feel they are indulging a group of pleasant infidels who are, sadly, going to fry. Some around the table make grand gestures of tolerance but secretly, they want lunch to end so they can go home, shut the door, and get back on auto-christ.
But I don’t feel that way in those situations. I want to be as much like the other people as I can. I certainly don’t think a devout person of another faith is going to fry. I don’t feel threatened by the understanding of others, and I lose nothing of my own faith by loving theirs. I say let the True Parents of humankind wear every hat and carry every scepter. Let them be rabbis, priests, imams and Indian chiefs. The OTC is not allowed the luxury of excluding anyone who loves God.
Unification Church members must carry in our tote bag of love, that idea that each one of us is the embodiment of a holy idea, a church bigger than a church. The One True Church partners itself with heaven, and all the kindred one true churches of other faiths, in a plan to help all the people in the world connect with God from wherever they are. The OTC is not afraid of engagement. The OTC really does live for the sake of others. Being the One True Church, truly, is like being named miss congeniality in a beauty pageant. It’s one of those titles you can’t get if you seek it. It must be conferred, even forced upon the wearer, by the acclamation of others. Like Father said, if your goal is to get to heaven, you won’t get there.
To take home the OTC crown, we know we must make “unity” the active ingredient in Unificationism. The more we do this the more we will find both raucous laughter, with milk coming out our noses, as well as the calmest deepest penetrating joy. We will finally do all these things when we live, and I mean really live, the understanding that every person who is one in heart with God, is one in heart with every other person who is one in heart with God.
Contributed by Larry Moffitt