Happy Thanksgiving! We thank God for our lives, health family and friends.
I hope that you are having and have had a great Thanksgiving.
Please see the special Thanksgiving reading below.
God’s Hope for America
Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Lisner Auditorium, Washington DC
October 21, 1973
God cannot be pleased with man if we live in a self-centered way. I met Jesus personally, and I received a revelation through which I learned that God’s grief is great. His heart is broken. Today God is working ceaselessly for the ultimate salvation of all mankind. He needs His champion to 7 of 16 succeed in this work. The purpose of God’s church is to save the entire world. The church is the instrument of God, and it was this very fact that the chosen people of Israel forgot at the time of Jesus.
Beginning with this knowledge, let us now continue our historical perspective and determine how America has become blessed.
After Jesus’ crucifixion and glorious resurrection, the Christian church spread throughout Asia Minor. The principal thrust was Rome. Rome was the target because at that time Rome was “the world.” For the world to be saved Rome had to be conquered by the army of Jesus Christ. But this was an impossible battle, an inconceivable goal. The Roman Empire appeared as an impregnable fortress not subject to conquest. Jesus’ army was barehanded. They-used no weapons, neither swords nor spears. They were armed only with their love of God and Jesus Christ. They marched fearlessly onward in conviction and strength. They paid the price in blood and sacrifice.
There can be no stronger army than the one which fears no death. No enemy is invincible against an army of faith. History is witness to the deeds of that army of Jesus. The Roman Empire fell at last, and Jesus conquered Rome. Roman Catholicism became the center of God’s dispensation of world salvation. The Pope was in the position to become God’s champion.
However, in the Middle Ages, great corruption appeared in the Church, and Christianity disintegrated in spirit. Medieval church hierarchies were interested in their own power, their own authority, and their own welfare. The Church enjoyed formidable power both politically and economically. The hierarchy preserved this power, abused this power, and forgot about God’s purpose. They clung tenaciously to their positions and ruthlessly persecuted any opponent. The Church leaders claimed lineage from Jesus’ disciples, yet they could not rise above their own sins. The Christian spirit in these men was absolutely dead.
But God had to continue forward. He is never satisfied with less than a total response. The Church needed reform, so religious revolution came. Martin Luther launched the new Protestant Reformation. And the crackling flames of dissatisfaction quickly swept over all Europe, in a storm of revolt against the power of the Church. These protesters disclaimed the old church of their fathers. Throughout the land, righteous people determined to win liberation from the old doctrines and practices. They wanted to worship God, not the Church. Equality in the sight of God was their claim. Direct communication with God was their desire. They helped God bring the world step by step closer to the ultimate goal.
Later in England, the people again protested against the intolerable corruption of the autocratic Church. There was an outcry for the purification of the Church of England. The Puritan movement began, and it quickly spread even amid great persecution. These new seekers threatened the established Church leaders, who used almost any means to suppress the new movement. Those who truly wanted the freedom of worship soon had either to flee or to be imprisoned. Their spirit was strong, but they had not enough power to resist and yet nowhere to turn. They fled to Holland. 8 of 16 And still they longed for some new world, some new heaven and new earth where they could find freedom to worship God. The Pilgrim Fathers
America must have seemed attractive to those who were dreaming of a new world. Even though America was unknown territory, it promised them the freedom of worship they craved. The Puritans felt a strong desire to create a community of their own. America seemed an ideal place, so they made the courageous decision to venture there. They committed themselves to the treacherous journey across the Atlantic. They risked their very lives, finding strength in their faith, which was stronger than life itself.
Think of it. They had to give up their families, their relatives, their surroundings, and their country, and head toward an unknown land. Their only hope was in God. Every step they took they depended upon God. Their journey was long, and there were many storms. They prayed unceasingly to God. They had but one way to turn. They turned to God. When they were sick and dying on the voyage, they had no medicine to take, no doctor to care for them; they turned to God. Those Pilgrim men and women were one with God. And that is how they survived.
Put yourself in their position of total reliance on God. What a wonderful faith! I am sure that the faith of the Pilgrim Fathers touched the heart of God. And when God is moved He offers promises; and when He makes promises, He will fulfill them. God determined to give these faithful people the ultimate thing they wanted — freedom of worship. He then determined to give them even more.
I am sure you know, as I have learned, that the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth Rock in New England almost in the dead of winter. November in New England is rather cold. The destiny of the newcomers could have been only starvation because there was so little food to eat. Given this fact, it really inspires me to learn about the store of grain in the hold of the Mayflower which they would not touch, even though they were starving to death. They preserved this grain for planting the next spring. This was truly a supreme example of sacrifice. They preferred to die hoping in tomorrow rather than to act in desperation for only a few more days of life.
The Pilgrims came to this land full of purpose and hope. They knew that this purpose of theirs was more important than preserving their own lives. Nothing could have given them this kind of courage, this kind of dedication, this kind of sacrificial spirit except their faith in God. When they arrived at Plymouth, the 41 men who had survived the voyage got together and organized their ideas for government. The resulting Mayflower Compact was signed, “In the Name of God, Amen.” This is really a wonderful story. This little group of people left Europe with their hope set in God. They grew sick and died in God; they survived in God. They formed their first government and signed their official papers, “In the Name of God.”
The story of the American Pilgrim Fathers is one of a kind in God’s history. It fits into the pattern of the righteous people of history, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Moses. These Pilgrims were the Abrahams of modern history. They therefore had to brave many hardships even after the Mayflower Compact was signed. 9 of 16 A winter of heartbreak
During the first winter in America, the population of the hardy Mayflower survivors was cut in half. Each day that winter brought a heartbreaking separation from loved ones. One by one these courageous pioneers died. Yet their life from morning to night, from dusk to dawn, was centered upon the will of God. God was their only comfort, their only hope and their only security. God was the principal partner for them. Here was an example of such a rare and pure group of God’s people. They demonstrated untiring faith, and God gave them power and courage. They never lost their trust in God and their vision of the future. Their purpose in coming to America was to build a nation where God could dwell, where they could really share fellowship with each other and rejoice in fellowship with God. This was all in God’s providence, because He needed a nation to serve as His champion for the ultimate and permanent salvation of the world.
So another miracle came to the Pilgrims. When they were just barely surviving and their population had been halved, the Indians could easily have wiped them out with one stroke. But again, God was a shield for them. The first group of Indians the Mayflower survivors encountered were not hostile. The Indians welcomed the settlers. If the Pilgrims had been destroyed at that time, there would probably have been no America for God. God intervened to save His people here in America. This is my belief. God wanted them to settle, and He gave the Pilgrims a chance.
As the population of the settlement grew, they had to push the Indians away to enlarge their own colony. Of course, this land did not belong to the new American people originally. The Indians were the inhabitants of the land, and the Pilgrim settlers must have been invaders in the eyes of the Indians. Why then did God give these settlers their great chance? Here is my interpretation. God sided with the American settlers because it was in His plan. Furthermore, these American settlers met God’s requirements and truly demonstrated an unwavering faith in God. God could not help but give them His promise and fulfill that promise.
America’s existence was according to God’s providence. God needed to build one powerful Christian nation on earth for His future work. After all, America belonged to God first, and only after that to the Indians. This is the only interpretation that can justify the position of the Pilgrim settlers.
This continent of America was hidden away for a special purpose and was not discovered until the appropriate hour. The people of God came at the appointed hour. They came to mold the new way of life. Their principal partner was God. At home, in caring for their children, in farming or. cooking or building, they let God share their work. He was the only security they had. A farmer might talk to his son working out in the field with him. “Let’s plow this field in the name of God.” Their everyday life was lived in the name of God.
After the first spring visited them, they cleared the fields, planted, cultivated, and harvested the crop. And they attributed all their precious harvest to the grace of God. The beautiful tradition of Thanksgiving thus originated. Following the next severe winter, the first thing they built was a church. At night, at dawn, in the morning and at noontime, they prayed to God. I am sure they 10 of 16 prayed, “God, we want to build a place for You which must be better than the Old World. We want to build a place where You can dwell and be master.”
And they also had a vision of the future that this Christian nation would do more good for the rest of the world than any other country upon the face of the earth. I am sure that after their church they built a school. They wanted outstanding schools for their children, better than any schools existing in the Old World. And their homes came last. After they built these homes, they dedicated them to God. This is the history of your Pilgrim Fathers, I know. I can visualize early America as a beautiful America, because God was dwelling everywhere. In the school, in the church, in the kitchen, in the street — in any assembly or market place, God was dwelling.