I must confess that this weekend I was going to write a response to Joel San Pedro’s post about brother Angel. I was full of anger and I was going to go all out and say a more than a few angry words. But then something happened. We had just come back from the Sunday church service and sad to admit, it was another lifeless “standard” sermon about “we are in the true church” so don’t you dare leave it, and “obey the commandments “ such as… (as if the minister was picking it out of the air) such as… hmm… think… think…. Submitting to the Administration!! And what else? Hmm… think… think… giving offering!! Surprise, surprise. THAT is what I mean as another lifeless “standard ” lesson. But back to what I was saying. I was feeling empty from that service and still down about all this news about the Manalo siblings, when I came across Bro. Cayabyab’s lecture online .
First of all, the old hymns already made my heart skip a beat. As if my thirsty soul was reaching out to be quenched just by the hymns alone. I forgot how the old hymns were so inspiring, it prepared us for the for the lesson to come, like an appetizer. Remember that feeling? (Why is there such a dire need to replace the old hymns of long ago?)
I did not fully comprehend the Tagalog prayer but I could feel the sincerity. Then the lecture. Oh the lecture. I expected bro. Cayabyab to go all out and bash the leaders and mention the siblings, but no, he did not. I was wary of what he might say, anything that might be misleading. But all the words were simple and more importantly, biblical. I can’t repeat the entire lecture but pretty much it’s this; “all things happen for the good“. It was a message of hope.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28
There was no wailing of “SIGE NAAAA!! HALIKAAAAA AMAAA!!” Just a reminder. The example of the patriarch Joseph who was thrown by his own brothers into a well, and then sold into slavery. He eventually ended up in Egypt where he was thrown in jail. I love that point where Bro. Cayabyab says, not all who are put in jail are guilty.
Joseph endured years in jail but eventually with God’s blessings, he becomes the second most powerful man in the kingdom. What is the point? All things happen for the good.
I know many of us are upset at what we are seeing; instant expulsions; oppressions, and imprisonment of the the Manalo siblings. But the words are true, difficult as it may be, all things happen for the good of those who are of God.
I had almost forgotten how it was to attend a real worship service with hymns you could follow the tunes; just the meaningful lyrics alone brought back that old feeling of those days we longed to sing; I must admit I couldn’t stop the tears. I hadn’t wept in years. There was a lesson that didn’t make us feel angry or depressed or pressured to offer more; just a message of hope that all things will eventually turn out ok for those true to God.
After listening, I felt so much lighter. More hopeful. The future is not all bleak; There is hope; just hang on tight to the truth; we can weather this storm and pray especially for those being oppressed.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
Ephesians 6:10-11 NIV