Remarks at the Farewell Banquet of the Assembly of the World’s Religions

Remarks at the Farewell Banquet of the Assembly of the World’s Religions

Sun Myung Moon
November 20, 1985

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I hope all of you have enjoyed this Farewell Banquet and this Assembly as much as Mrs. Moon and I have. It seems like we first gathered together for this historic conference as strangers to one another and now, even as we have come to recognize that we are truly brothers and sisters. It is time to depart. But this does not need to be a sad moment if we take it as an opportunity to carry this spark of renewed brotherhood back to our own communities of faith.

When I first told my wife I was to convene an Assembly like this she asked me whether I thought representatives of so many different religions with such different backgrounds could really get along. What would happen if they just fought all the time? I reminded her of our thirteen children — each one is so different they seldom ever all agree on anything. Did she really think any of them would rather be an only child? They are bound together in harmony because they realize how much their parents love them. So I believed, it would be the same with us. When we really recognize how much our Parent, God, loves each of us, how could we fail to get along? And I think we succeeded rather well, don’t you agree?

Of course, my wife was also quick to remind me that a man alone cannot become a parent by himself. In the Orient, great pearls of wisdom are passed down in proverbs, like those of Confucius. In America it seems people do this by bumper stickers. I saw one the other day which said, “When God created man, she was kidding”

Actually that bumper sticker makes a good point. We haven’t always been able to feel the love of our Creator, because we didn’t always understand that God is both our Father and our Mother. Then, as I see it, we really are all brothers and sisters.

Even though we have only made a beginning here at this first Assembly, I believe it will lay the cornerstone for a great new beginning in world religious harmony. As I reflect on the gathering of so many religious traditions here at Great Gorge, it is very much like the gathering of many smaller river branches into one powerful central stream flowing toward the ocean. Those many branches, from every direction, are of many different lengths and volumes; they have flowed through vastly different terrains — some smooth and serene, some rocky and torturous. But here, having overcome all obstacles, the branches come together in one great stream. Indeed, this is a natural and necessary pattern for life, whether we speak of the meeting of rivers or religious traditions — for what hope is there if there is no point of congregation?

It is true. The coming together of our various traditions and beliefs, much like the meeting point of the branch rivers with the main stream, is full of cross currents and sometimes pretty rough water — but that is not a bad thing, it is to be expected. In fact, the river’s flow to the great ocean will be stimulated by these many currents…

For me, that great ocean, the goal of our living river, is the Kingdom of God on earth. We may call that ocean by many names but it is One, and it is our common destiny. Again, we may be challenged by the saltiness of its waters just as we may have been challenged by coming here. But beyond ourselves let us go forward in faith with what we have started here.

I would especially like to thank the Planning Committee for their great effort to organize this meeting. Would you join me in giving them a hearty round of applause?

And I would like to thank all of you for your enthusiastic participation. Shall we give ourselves a round of applause?

Finally, I would like to invite all of you to give special thanks to God who brought us here together out of such diversity. Shall we give our Creator a round of applause?

God bless you and your work. I pray for your safe return home and hope we will all meet again in 1989, if not before.