As I entered Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom for Sunday’s Lovin’ Life Ministries service, I was surprised to find myself surrounded by a multicultural group of teens. All ages were in attendance, but the Unification Church’s new ministry is focused on young people. It was the first time I had attended a Unification Church service for eight years.
Two large screens were suspended on either side of the stage, blue and purple lights hit the backdrop and several cameramen roamed the stage.
At 10am, the Church band broke into a gospel/pop version of “If I Could Change the World.” Then they played “Grace of the Holy Garden.” With a full rock band, it took a moment to recognize the Unification Church Holy Song. I sang along, remembering the words by heart, even though the lyrics were projected karaoke-style on the screens.
When the senior pastor, In Jin Moon, took the stage, the audience rose for a standing ovation.
“Wow,” she said. “You really know how to blow away your senior pastor.”
In Jin Moon has an ageless beauty. Her face glowed flawlessly above a polka dot shirt and black pants. A diamond pendant hung huge and glistering around her neck.
She opened by talking about how “the next millennium will be a world of peace, love and harmony.”
“If James Holmes had a role model like True Parents,” she said, referring to the Colorado shooter, “he wouldn’t have done this.”
“Perhaps he felt he was slipping away into nonentity and wanted to go out with a bang bringing others with him,” said In Jin Moon. “How can we learn to have compassion for others even when we are in pain?”
In Jin Moon spoke about how her father and 13 other passengers survived a helicopter crash, about how children might be embarrassed of their parents, but if they look deeper their parents are heroes, about how addiction to pornography can destroy marriages and about how Church wives need to buy more lingerie.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“I thought my father was a fashion victim in a 70’s polyester shirt, but he is the Messiah.”
“I never heard Father say, ‘I’m going to be the Messiah tomorrow or next year.’ True Parents are the Messiah now.”
“If you are having sex with the internet, where’s the line between that and meeting a person on the internet? Through ballroom dancing we are teaching you to look on each other with honor.”
“A Korean movie director saw Father’s helicopter surrounded by a rainbow, held up by a lotus flower and accompanied by 50 or 60 angels.”
Miracle pronounced the Korean way sounds like two words: Mira, which means look in Spanish and Cool.
So look. Life is cool.
In Jin Moon leaves the stage to applause. The band plays Everlasting Love.
Theology aside, I agreed with the message to, “Act now,” and “Leave behind something beautiful.”