Tag Archives: Lord’s Prayer

PADAYON: Our Life Journey

PADAYON was the word that capped the successful conduct of the 68th National Assembly of the Convention Baptist Ministers Association (CBMA) on January 25, 2009. Inspired by the overwhelming responses of pastors on the CBMA leadership and governance, as well as the advocacies on changes in the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) politics, systems and governance, I was looking for a punch line/ clincher to sustain the momentum in delivering the concluding remarks.

Then came the message from my *Ihado when the worship leader innovatively asked the participants to write on the provided piece of paper, message to a particular person of choice. All of the notes I received have common message of encouragement to “keep up the good work.” My ihado gave me a note with one word which captured all other messages. Subsequently, I used it to officially close the National Convention of CBMA: PADAYON

The second time I received the word was during my 55th birthday celebration when this same ihado sent me text greetings. It was just the time I was looking for a title or a framework of our life journey and the title of my dream book.

PADAYON encompasses life’s story

Padayon is an Ilonggo term which means continue. In deeper sense, it connotes moving/going on (or never give up) despite adversaries or adversities. In this blog, PADAYON serves as framework or acrostic of my life’s experiences and the lessons learned from life. Each area or sub topic will be discussed in details in the succeeding blogs.

Antipodes of life’s journey

After undergoing the process of ordination which culminated, as a personal gift, on my Golden birthday on May 27, 2004,I committed myself to do God’s will on earth as it is in heaven, no matter what. Indeed, it was a golden year. On the 7th month that followed, I was awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Social Workers of the Philippines. For me, it was a vindication of the awful experiences in coping up with life’s struggle when I first committed myself fulltime to the cause of Filipino people which dramatically changed the course of my life. It was my last semester in the seminary in 1984 when I decided to stop schooling and dedicated myself to the service of the struggling Filipino people for freedom from the shackles of the dictatorial rule. To what extent will remain a precious and lasting memory for me and my former comrades on the beauty of service and God’s abiding presence in protecting His people.

Doing God’s will is dangerous to your health

Engrossed with my study of the Lord’s Prayer vis-à-vis its relevance to our lives as far as development issues are concerned, I found myself in stressful condition and got sick. Realizing that the prayer is not essentially Lord’s Prayer but a model prayer (for the real Lord’s Prayer is found in John 17), I started to put it into practice in my relationship with God and fellow human beings. Just as I prayed “…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” I made myself available for their realization. I tried to seek & do things in proper way; be on the side of the truth and stand for it without fear or favor; advocate and work for that which brings or gives life, not destruction. That is where my trouble started.

Adversities: Stepping Stones towards wholeness

It was when I was confronted with adversities beyond my control that I have learned painful (yet wholesome) lessons in life which ushered me to a new holistic well being. There appears to be a pattern in my health condition every 17 years. In 1975, I was seriously ill causing me to be completely bedridden for 3 months before gradual recovery which lasted for a year. It recurred in 1992 when at the peak of delivering lecture in an evening class, I experienced short breath and almost collapsed. But the worst came in the last quarter of 2009 when the attack took place in a remote area while doing volunteer work.

Yardstick for all of life is still the Bible

Yardstick has been used metaphorically to refer to anything which serves as a test or standard of measurement, comparison or judgment. It serves as a reference point against which other things can be evaluated. For more than one year of struggle and suffering due to my health condition, the only companion that never leave me is the bible. And in my daily reading and reflections (sometimes almost the whole day), I learned lessons I have never seen before. In succeeding blogs, I will give the details on how the bible is the yardstick for all of our life.

Opportunities come in the fullness of time

No matter how I console myself, as family, friends and colleagues do, that God is just preparing me for something big through the illness (and subsequent rest), I seem not to enjoy the thought. Not until recently I realized that opportunities, indeed come in the fullness of time.

Networking: Essence of the Church as Body of Christ

Having experienced the interplay of our body’s subsystems in causing sickness and wellness, I become interested in studying the mechanics of our body. I have learned how every cell contributes to the body’s functions and dynamism and its capacity to heal itself naturally, as designed by God. Relating this to my study on networking of NGOs (my masteral thesis), I see the beauty and relevance of the biblical comparison of the church as body of Christ. Ironically, it is the business world, information technology, development advocates that maximize the benefit of networking which should have been the forte of Christians in their ministry.

*Ihado is an Ilonggo term referring to wedding  godson

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Article first published  as The Journey Framework on PADAYON. The author is in the process of transferring posts from other blogs to  converge on this official website.

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The challenges of holistic ministry Part 3: Towards holistic development

Jesus, the Christ, has summed up the holistic ministry theme in the model of spirituality which he taught and exemplified in the greatest commandment and Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer or Model prayer is essentially a model for development and for that matter holistic development because it contains the three core values of development.

Michael Todaro, a pioneer in development economics, identifies the trilogy as life sustenance, self esteem and freedom from servitude.daily bread Life Sustenance connotes the ability to provide basic necessities. A basic function of all economic activity, therefore, is to provide as many people as possible with the means of overcoming the helplessness and misery arising from lack of food, shelter, health, and protection.

forgiveSelf Esteem implies being a person with a sense of self-worth and self-respect, of not being used by others for their own needs. All people and societies seek some basic form of self-esteem. Call it by other name, authenticity, identity, dignity, respect, honor or recognition, the essence is still the same. Its nature and form may vary from society, and from one culture to another.

freedomFreedom from Servitude, on the other hand, means the ability to choose. This refers to the fundamental sense of freedom or emancipation from alienating conditions of life. It covers freedom from the societal servitude of men to nature, ignorance, other men, misery, institutions, and dogmatic beliefs. Freedom also involves the expanded range of choices and their members together with the minimization of external constraint in the pursuit of some of social goals, which we call ‘development’.

There had been no problem with the holistic ministry in the past when the dominant worldview was holistic. Supposedly there is no problem for us in the Asian context because the Orientals view things in cyclic manner which is conducive for holistic ministry. However, because of our colonial past, our psyche has been dominated by Western linear mindset which tends to dichotomize. Hence, the tradition of separating mind and body, good and evil, theory and practice, religion and public life etc.

Holistic MInistry2

As a result, we tend to  practice a split level Christianity .The religious life is not integrated with the day-to-day life. There is a different set of church and religious life and another set for everyday affairs. More often, they are contradictory. This is reflected in our view of ministry and even on development.

For this reason, we always  look for biblical basis to justify our actions to distinguish ourselves from other humanitarian endeavors. Although, in the last parable of the great surprise, there appears to be no mention about biblical references. Still, we have lots of them. Aside from the previous scriptures, here are some: Acts 4:32-37; James 2:14-24; Romans 15:24-28; Galatians 2:10;2 Corinthians 8:13-15; Acts 2:44

shalom

In fact, the Sermon on the Mount itself has element of holistic ministry. For even the byword among Christian greeting implies wholeness. The words Shalom  and Salaam  mean “peace” in Hebrew and Arabic respectively and often represent a peace symbol. The Word shalom can be used for all parts of speech; as a noun, adjective, verb, and as an adverb. It categorizes all shaloms. The word shalom is used in a variety of expressions and contexts in Hebrew speech and writing: Completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.

(to be continued)

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Delivered during the Closing Celebration of Training on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, September 7, 2013 at Highway 21 Hotel, Iloilo City. Organized by Asia Pacific Baptist Aid of Asia Pacific Baptist Federation, the 3 day training was hosted by the Development Ministries, Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches.

The challenges of holistic ministry Part 2: Relevance to disaster

But how do we relate the challenges of holistic ministry to the theme of your training for the past two days? 

I seem to find the answer in one of my favorite verses when discussing about holistic ministry. This is the last parable Jesus recorded in Matthew 25:31-46 loaded with the scenario of great surprises. In the final end, during the awarding ceremony, as the chaff is separated from the grain, sheep and goat divided, the result is beyond expectation. and the division of all the world’s people into the blessed, on the Right Hand of God, who are welcomed by the Father to inherit the Kingdom and eternal life, and the cursed, who are cast into the eternal fire with the Devil.

The division is entirely based on the acts of kindness and mercy done by people to their disadvantaged fellow people feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, visit the prisoners, clothe the naked, invite strangers to their homes. Yes, it is how holistic our respective ministries were and have been.

I have looked at and used this parable in many angles and various context. This time I have seen another one. It is in the context of disaster. For when do you see a person naked, hungry, thirsty, sick, and a stranger? Is it not in the midst of disaster?

The author delivering the Closing Challenge. Photo Credit: Ms. Henna Baclagon, Director, Development Ministries, CPBC

The author delivering the Closing Challenge.
Photo Credit: Ms. Henna Baclagon, Director, Development Ministries, CPBC

But let us not wait for the disaster to initiate holistic ministry. For even Jesus, the Christ , has made it clear in his inaugural address as public declaration of ministry that it is holistic: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favorLuke 4:18-19

Throughout his life, Jesus consistently preached, taught and acted on the socio-economic, political, environmental and spiritual themes of his ministry as he went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil.In fact, he summarized his holistic ministry theme in the model of spirituality which he taught and exemplified in the greatest commandment and Lord’s Prayer.

The spirituality taught by Jesus is summed up in the greatest commandment: Love God and one’s fellow human as one’s self. This type of spirituality has two dimensions, personal and social or communal. This vertical and horizontal relationship is the essence of the Lord’s Prayer which is a Prayer for Development.

A2.Model Prayer

The first part pertains to relationship with divine, the last with humanity. “Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” The use of plural words in the prayer – our, we, us – reveals the inclusiveness of Jesus in relationship.

The second part is model of relationship with humanity which comprises the three core values of development. “Give us this day our daily bread“. Bread represents basic necessities in life akin to life sustenance.

Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors“. Whether it is a literal debt or sin as some suggest, the implication here is self-esteem. Because a person who commits sin or is burdened by debts, loses some kind of self-esteem. Asking forgiveness or forgiving others restore one’s self-esteem.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil“. Deliverance connotes freedom. Yielding to temptation is a prelude to enslavement to any form of evil. This evil manifests in both personal manner and societal structures.

(To be continued)

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Delivered during the Closing Celebration of Training on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, September 7, 2013 at Highway 21 Hotel, Iloilo City. Organized by Asia Pacific Baptist Aid of Asia Pacific Baptist Federation, the 3 day training was hosted by the Development Ministries, Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches.

Development vis-vis- the Lord’s Prayer

Article first published on  Social Work and Development exactly 2 years ago.

lord's prayer

I have learned from the study of Social Work the three development objectives, namely: (1) increase the availability and widen the distribution of basic life sustaining goods such as food, shelter, health, and protection; (2) raise levels of living including, in addition to higher incomes, the provision of more jobs, better education, and greater attention to cultural and humanistic values, all of which will serve, not only to enhance material well-being but also to generate greater individual and national self-esteem; (3) expand the range of economic and social choice to individuals and nations by freeing them from servitude and dependence, not only in relation to other people and nation-states but also to the forces of ignorance and human misery.

The three core values of development by Michael Todaro have enriched my understanding of development. Foremost, is Life Sustenance. It is the ability to provide basic necessities. A basic function of all economic activity, therefore, is to provide as many people as possible with the means of overcoming the helplessness and misery arising from lack of food, shelter, health, and protection.

Self Esteem is next, which connotes being a person with a sense of self-worth and self-respect, of not being used by others for their own needs. All people and societies seek some basic form of self-esteem. Call it by other name, authenticity, identity, dignity, respect, honor or recognition, the essence is still the same. Its nature and form may vary from society, and from one culture to another.

The last is Freedom from Servitude. It means the ability to choose. This refers to the fundamental sense of freedom or emancipation from alienating conditions of life. It covers freedom from the societal servitude of men to nature, ignorance, other men, misery, institutions, and dogmatic beliefs. Freedom also involves the expanded range of choices and their members together with the minimization of external constraint in the pursuit of some of social goals, which we call ‘development’.

A2.Model Prayer

I have always associated these core values with the Lord’s Prayer in          Matthew 6:7-13, as referred to traditionally. Although, in the biblical context, the real Lord’s Prayer is found in John 17. What was recorded in the gospel of Matthew is a standard prayer. A model prayer, which if analyzed in the context of our discussion, a prayer for development and spirituality.

There are two parts of this prayer which summarize the commandments and reflective of the model of relationship. The First Part pertains to our Relationship with God:

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

The second part is model of relationship with humanity which comprises the three core values of development.

Give us this day our daily bread connotes the first core value, i.e. life sustenance.

Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Whether it is a literal debt or sin as some suggest, the implication here is self-esteem. Because a person who commits sin or is burdened by debts, loses some kind of self-esteem.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil is akin to freedom from servitude.