Following Christ’s Star – A Statement from the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP)
Written for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022. The original article may be found here.
“We have observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage.” (Matthew 2:2b, NRSV)
Christ guides our journey. These are days of struggle, hardship, and despair. With Odette and Omicron straining the capacities of local communities and families, Christians must unite in solidarity with the most vulnerable among us. The Filipino people are in need of accompaniment and aid in these difficult times.
As a nation, we are also challenged to rise against widespread killings and call for accountability for so-called ‘tokhang’ and ‘anti-insurgency’ operations. The very dignity of life has been violated, as many have been extra-judicially killed. Falsehoods and evil peddled through strong-arm governance have not only limited democratic space, but they have led to corruption, scandals and serious shortcomings in social, health, and other government services.
Such realities must strengthen our resolve and unite our common concern for the people of this land. Like the Magi of old, we are on a journey towards a better way. Christ is a beacon that summons us to move towards hope. Jesus’ light rises as our guide in a common quest for God’s Shalom, which is peace based on justice, love, righteousness, freedom, democracy and dignity of life.
With elections only months away, we must dare to work together, honoring life and God’s creation. This is a Kairos moment where we can encourage active citizenship among our people and insist upon servant leadership from those who desire our votes in the May 2022 national polls. In Christian unity, our prophetic voice and firm stand for Christ-like conduct and life-affirming principles will enable us to join with other Filipinos in discerning who should lead the country. In these trying times, we must also guard against the powers of darkness that will seek to defraud, deceive, and destroy God’s intended goodness for the Filipino people. Let us be like ‘city on hill’ that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14). As a community that evangelizes through active participation in the democratic process, we can lead by example, reflecting Christ’s love and joining in a journey toward our desired future, where justice, righteousness, and peace will take root and God’s Shalom will flourish among us.
As we respond to the challenges of our time, we offer ourselves in service to the poor, the marginalized, and to the toiling majority who are striving for more prosperous and peaceful futures. We commit to nurturing ecological integrity, both because this is a right thing to do and because such action can lessen the probability of extreme climate events and dangerous pandemics. Together, we celebrate our Christian unity and affirm our deepest desire to participate in a common journey that will bring us to a place where all creation will sing of God’s goodness and will live in harmony and peace.
Keep the faith! Follow the star!