What a beautiful ceremony! So proud of my brother, his daughter, their family, OUR family. I have to post this photo of me, the bride and groom and the officiator, my brother Eric. It was their day. It was moving. It was beautiful and I am glad that I came all around the world just for this day.
Genevieve and Byron, thank you for sharing this very special day with me. Many noticed that I could not stop filming. All your speeches were just so moving. I am a sucker for speeches. I loved every minute of them.
Ron, yours so moving, so proud. Your amazing daughter Genevieve, born in the deserts of Arabia, after seemingly barren years, but then, conceived in biblical faith with scud rockets flying overhead, destined to become the only girl-child in the Skruzny clan, like me to marry and change her name. I’m telling my story. Yes, I’m piggy-backing yours. I saw so much to be grateful for. I saw your growth. I heard you praise your daughter, and then, your son, praise his sister. How I had wished for a brother like that. As I mature and experience and grow, I learn again from my own mother. How grateful I am to have been born into such a family. I have tears streaming down my face as I reflect on the incredible growth of character, faith and strength. Ron, as your daughter marries and says she wanted a man like Papa, and she’s talking about the brother I grew up with. I see how your own marriage has made you the person you are today. I reflect on the preciousness of these family relationships – both the ones we are born into and the ones we grow into by choice or otherwise.
I message my family back home in Austria and discover that it has snowed last night. So I determine to go outside to appreciate the sun on the veranda, take a selfie with Mum’s luscious courtyard in the background and the tattered Australian flag flying off the games room.
How God has a plan for us all. As Eric said in his sermon yesterday, don’t worry. I gave the blessing toast before the meal and some said what a beautiful speech. Some-one was not impressed, seemed almost betrayed that I dared come with my other point of view. I thought how today blessing ceremonies are taking place all around the world. We ARE coming together. We know that God is real, that love is real, that families are important.
As I seemed to betray my family to join the Unification Church 43 years ago, it was also the launching pad for my brother to join another movement three years later. We have gone a parallel path: mine of embracing a new religious movement, daring to proclaim that God works through all ages, all religions and has a plan for everyone. I hear from one brother that you must be Catholic to receive the body of Christ. I hear from a sister-in-law that only wine blessed by a priest or coming from Israel can be holy wine.
I tell you, this wine that I gave to you, was blessed by the Messiah, the second coming of Christ, Father and Mother Moon, who have come that we may live and live abundantly, that we may be blessed in holy marriage and never need religion again; That we may become like Christ and embrace the woman at the well and the Muslims and Hindus. For God sent his son that all may be saved, not just the catholics.
Yes, it was painful for me not to go to communion at the wedding. Ever since that incident in Hobart where the bishop ruled that I was ineligible, despite my baptism, to receive communion. The whole world is going through a reevaluation of faith and beliefs.
Josef and I read scriptures of the HonDok Hae, speeches by Reverend Moon together every morning. We discuss and interpret and realize that so much was said in a particular context at a particular time to a particular group of people. Just like the bible. Rev. Moon taught that all the denominations of Christianity have come about due to the various interpretations of the bible. When Josef and I heard the Unification Principle in 1975, he in Vienna, Austria and I in Melbourne, Australia, we came to a deeper understanding of the nature of God and religion. I knew that the Principles taught a clearer, logical explanation and were the fulfilment of all I had learnt and experienced in the Catholic Church. Josef knew that this community was a genuine expression of faith and community which he did not find in his hometown.
Today, I see it all coming together. One day, we will all see, not in a mirror dimly, but clearly face to face. Once we receive the Messiah, at his second coming, we will all be able to worship as we please, we will respect each other, embrace each other, love each other and just be grateful. That time has already come for me.