After reading about the passing away of sister Jovita Nova, I see that many are reacting to the story. Does anybody else notice that every week there’s some misstep the Council is taking? The latest one in this epic saga of blunders, is pertaining to the instruction and warning to brethren not to go to the viewing and funeral of the late sister.
The standard circular for expulsions states that brethren must: “Stay away from them. Do not receive them, do not accept them, do not welcome them, or admit them into your house. Do not talk to them. Do not greet them well.” How can the late sister do any of these things when she has already passed away? Is there a danger of her rising to spread “false teachings”?
We know the Church doctrines already but for the benefit of non-Iglesia Ni Cristo readers and the Council who may be forgetting, it says: ” For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten”. Ecclesiastes 9:5
So what is the point of going to funerals? Don’t we go for the relatives who remain living and must bear the pain of losing a loved one? Can’t members of the Church do that now?
How many of us have attended a wake or funeral where 99% of the relatives are non-members? Aren’t there all kinds of eulogies, poetry and singing? Lord knows how many times I had to bear listening to that song by Mariah Carey and Boys II Men. But we go. Not because we do it for the dead, we console the living. Didn’t Apostle Paul teach us to do that?
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15
It’s cruel enough when Ministers take the short cut and just expel left and right instead of trying to convince someone. It’s like “oh rebelling? Expel”. No need to explain. No need to advise. Out. That’s what express expulsion is. It’s worse when the person dies with this injustice.
I hope those who took part in this can live with themselves. Can they honestly say in their hearts that they made every effort to keep the sister from being expelled? Can they truly say that they made all the attempts they could muster? Can you sleep without your mind asking what else could have been done so this person didn’t have to be expelled?
I ask this not only to the local leadership, but even to the Minister and District Minister who did this. Simply put, did you try?
Finally, I ask Brother Eduardo Manalo, Administrator, of all those who were expelled, how many of them did you talk to? You say you care for us, then wouldn’t you do your best to keep brethren from being expelled? Even if that means, God forbid, having to TALK to them. Did you talk to sister Mayumi? Did you try to talk to brother Dizon? And the list goes on. How many did you talk to? If you will say that there are protocols and levels of Administration, don’t forget the very basis of having such levels. Didn’t Jethro advise his son in law, Moses, to set up leaders of tens, hundreds and thousands so it would be easier for him to administer God’s people?
Is this why you leave it to your leaders to deal with those brethren who are in danger of getting expelled? Then don’t forget also what Jethro said: “Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”. It is simpler cases that the other leaders will deal with but the difficult cases are for the Administrator. He said this “so that the people will go home satisfied”. When was the last time this was done? I’m sure chapel dedications are important, but saving a soul is far more valuable.
It is sad hearing about each and every expulsion. It is even more heart breaking when those brethren pass away. So as we began with Ecclesiastes, let’s end with it as well:
“Then I looked again at all the injustice that goes on in this world. The oppressed were crying, and no one would help them. No one would help them, because their oppressors had power on their side. I envy those who are dead and gone; they are better off than those who are still alive. But better off than either are those who have never been born, who have never seen the injustice that goes on in this world.” Ecclesiastes 4:1-3
Stay strong dear friends. King Solomon said the dead are better off than those alive. We still have our journey ahead of us.