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N. Rika: Address to Interreligious Leadership Conference 2017

Address to Interreligious Leadership Conference 2017
Seoul, Korea, November 10 to 14, 2017


Bula! It’s “hello!” in Fijian.

I acknowledge the co-founder of UPF and the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. I also acknowledge the presence of Dr. Thomas Walsh, the chairman of UPF International and co-chair of this conference. Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, chairman of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) in North America, and also co-chair of this conference, as well as the organizing committee.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I shall employ my seven minutes reflecting on some important issues that we need to be reminded of…This message is dedicated not only to religious leaders and political leaders but to everyone who is present here today.

First: Suffering

Throughout his lifetime quest to establish God’s Kingdom on Earth, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon uncovered an important principle—the path to salvation is through a course of indemnity, sacrifice and a life lived for the sake of others. Rev. Moon was a man of great suffering. He suffered imprisonment and torture. In all, he was jailed six times, even though he was innocent. In many circumstances, he encountered death, but his faith in God kept him alive. Rev. Moon knew that the path to healing and salvation is not easy. It requires sacrifice, not only personally, but also from his family and loved ones. However, he never wavered or recoiled from his suffering. Instead, with absolute love and absolute obedience, he peacefully accepted every challenge as a divine calling from God.

From a Christian perspective, pain and suffering can help to shape our character. The Book of Isaiah 48:10 says, “Behold, I have refined you but not with silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.” Leaders, this is one principle we must take to heart. Don’t see suffering as a burden, but as an opportunity, because God is shaping you to become what He wants you to be. Amen.

Second: Acts of Service

Acts of service are often the driving force behind interreligious group projects, which bring religious and non-religious groups together to tackle some of the world’s most challenging problems. Almost all faith groups have a common ground that transcends all religious institutions: God loves His sons and daughters. We must all be mindful as human beings that our role as individuals and as religious groups is to serve.

From the Christian reference: the gospel of Mark 10:45 says, For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life a ransom for many.” God calls us to serve far beyond anything we could ever imagine; we were put on Earth to make a contribution. We weren’t created to consume resources and take up space. God designed us to make a difference with our lives; to add to life on earth, not just take from it. God has created us for a life of good deeds. These good deeds are your service to the world. Whenever you serve others in any way, you are serving God and fulfilling your purpose. Acts of service towards people in need will be a way forward for alleviating poverty in our countries and the world at large.

Third: Keep it Simple

Jesus was a simple man and he led a simple life. Jesus’ life was spent teaching people the ways of the coming kingdom, and building bridges connecting people to God. Keep it simple. It’s time for you to get out of your comfort zone, it’s time you get your hands dirty, it’s time for a walkabout, it’s time for action. The Bible says, “Faith without action is dead” (James 2:26). Leaders, stand up and be counted and do what you must do. Understand, time is short and He is coming soon. John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Leaders are shepherds. The shepherd’s responsibilities are:

  • to guide and provide protection and care for their group: without the shepherd, the people will be led astray;
  • to nurture and nourish followers with spiritual feed of God’s words, in order to produce a competent Christian;
  • to cultivate a feeling of love and compassion while addressing the burdens and problems afflicting the community, especially the marginalized groups; and
  • to promote unity and solidarity and to have a positive attitude towards others.

Authenticity is defined as the quality of being genuine or real, a state of being authentic, or legitimate and true. God wants authentic leaders. God wants authentic shepherds. God wants authentic people.

2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my Name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn away from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”

So what is God trying to tell us today? It’s time for reflection. God is the supreme power; we are the ones that need to work on our purity and improve on our moral values.

I would like to leave you with words of encouragement, from Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My Righteous Right Hand.” Thank you, shalom, and may God bless you all.


To go to the Interreligious Leadership Conference Schedule 2017, click here.