Dear congregation and friends,
On Monday the Jewish festival of Passover started and as Jonathan Sacks shared on Radio 4’s thought for the day, it is a festival that celebrates the fight for freedom. And perhaps this year particularly as we watch the rebels in Libya and many other countries fighting for their freedom to determine a stable future for their nation, we see that festival teaching us many lessons. Firstly about how that fight has not been forgotten, and secondly how it must be passed on from one generation to the next and become part of our identity as God’s children to always seek freedom.
Today is Good Friday and we remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for all of us. He was fighting for our freedom when he offered his life unselfishly and made it possible for people to be released from the bondage of sin through belief in him.
This Easter Sunday True Father, who is now in his 90s, will start a world tour by speaking to 12,000 people in Korea – it will be 77 years to the day since he prayed as a young Sunday school teacher on the mountain side and met with Jesus. That was the day Jesus was able to bring about a new phase in God’s work on this Earth as this young Korean man answered his call with a courageous and determined heart.
As Father arrives in Europe next week and then in May visits us in the UK he will be fighting for our freedom. He will be encouraging us to take up the challenge to live a life with no shadows, where we can fully and freely experience the grace of God in all that we do.
I want to ask all of us as we prepare to meet with True Parents to make real steps to come closer with each other in our families and in our communities.
Invest all the love that you can in to your family, neighbourhood, and your community. That means really taking time and giving over your thoughts to consider all your family members, your neighbours, and fellow members of your local congregation.
We will be having an event, which you will be able to invite many friends and guests to. Our local pastors will pass on details to you very soon. One of the best things we can do will be to invite a friend, neighbour, or family member to come with you to what will be a moving and inspirational meeting: we will be launching Father’s autobiography again, but this time with the author present!
If you can also take time to pray together, and worship God together over the 2 weeks leading up to the visit then we can prepare a spiritual environment which will help us to offer a great British welcome to True Parents. Please also do your best out of your own desire and heart to offer the donation that has been asked for as part of the European 40 Cheong Song condition that begins this Saturday 23rd April. Of course there is a practical aspect to raising the funds for the visit, but there is also the importance of us being personally engaged and expressing our response to the needs with freedom.
Our Unificationist scripture teaches us that there is no experience of freedom with out taking on responsibility. And I guess if one is mathematical about it then it is good for us to be aware that the equation works both ways, there is also no way for us to be responsible with out experiencing freedom.
It is a joyful time for us to be able to participate in what might be True Father’s last visit to Europe while he is still with us on Earth.