Published! From the Unification tradition, Rev. Staffan Berg

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“Family Federation – Unification Movement” – by Rev. Staffan Berg

Have you ever thought marrying a stranger could help make the world a better place? Father Moon picked me from a crowd of about 1,000 single men to marry a lady from England I had never met. Our eternal union challenged both of us to become more loving people. We were expected to go beyond traditional differences and learn, as Jesus said, to “love your enemies.”

It was apparent that we were opposites in some ways: I was six foot tall and she five. I had blond hair and she black. I was from Sweden and she from England. I was excited and curious and she very nervous. After a short talk and a prayer, we decided to go ahead with the ceremony that was to take place a week later, on July 1, 1982.

The Unification Movement had rented New York’s Madison Square Garden for the Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony. Over 4,000 young people were to be wed at the same time. My wife in a white gown and I in a dark suit with red tie sat up in the bleachers wondering what the future would bring.

Grasping for straws, I had consulted a thick book on astrology about our chances. It said that my wife being an Aries and I a Capricorn there was tough going ahead and chances were slim that we would succeed. Ordinarily couples marry when they are boiling with love for each other. Our pot of love was cold, even with some ice cubes bobbing around. Our job was to fan the flames of love, so we would have an eternally steamy relationship.

The beginning was rocky. Yet, we did not marry for ourselves; we were inspired by the ideal of purity before marriage and fidelity in marriage that was taught in the Unification Principles. The True Parents, Sun Myung Moon and his wife Hak Ja Han Moon, share this Marriage Blessing to reconnect us to our loving creator. All are invited to engraft into God’s lineage through the Marriage Blessing. My wife and I are among the millions of couples around the globe thus blessed.

Both my wife and I came with personal baggage, unique culture bias, and a long line of ancestors. In the beginning, my wife could not get near me without feeling very angry. That was certainly intense and confusing. It took about a year before something suddenly clicked and those emotions faded. My wife says that her Welsh ancestors must have been mistreated by my ancestors — especially after seeing the History channel show the Vikings.

The point is to make the world a better place by loving those from different background, such as religion or ethnicity. The biggest challenge of love is between man and woman — coexistance is not adequate. True love, Father Moon teaches, is to live for the sake of the other, to give and forget, not expecting anything in return. He certainly lived that way up to his passing in 2012, at the age of 92. Mother Moon is continuing that legacy of love. It’s natural to see why she encouraged us to offer to the world, — all 7.5 billion people, — the Marriage Blessing and support.

Our marriage turned out to be a joyful celebration of God’s love. Jane and I have three fantastic children and are guardians to two more from distant Nigeria. We also have a 90 year old grandpa from Poland (no relation) living with us. Our home is like a busy, mini-UN. We are looking forward to the next 35 years to be even better than the first 35.  It is our prayer that all humanity work to build peace and harmony as one loving family.  May true love bless all.

[To find more, see https://blessingamerica.org ]

By Rev. Staffan Berg, Minister for the Unification Movement and member of the AZIFM Interfaith Council

Published and copyrighted 2018 Arizona Republic