Monday, January 10, 2011
Bible Week and Doomsday
Do you know that there’s a certain presidential proclamation initiated by the late Ferdinand E. Marcos but continued by his staunch rivals and predecessors in Corazon C. Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos during their respective terms? It is the Presidential Proclamation No. 1923 signed by former initiator of the dreaded Martial Law on October 27, 1979. Since then, various Christian organizations in the Philippines – both the mainstream Protestant groups and the Catholics – celebrated the National Bible Week and the National Bible Sunday. Marcos, in said decree recognized the Bible “as an excellent source of principles for the development and personal discipline.” This was re-emphasized by President Corazon C. Aquino via Presidential Proclamation No. 44 in 1986 declaring every last week of January as National Bible Week celebration. This was later sustained by Fidel V. Ramos by proclaiming Presidential Proclamation 1067 emphasizing that “national attention be focused on the importance of reading and studying the Bible, in building the spiritual, moral, and social fiber of our citizenry.” In certain ways, this unity among Christian denominations and sects that we are trying to achieve is one of the mysterious ways how God and/of the Bible work(s) for us believers.
But here is the saddest thing: Majority of Filipino Christians, especially the youth, was more excited with the upcoming performances of Bruno Mars on April 8 and Justin Bieber on May 10 than learning from biblical characters even an inch from Aaron to Zophar. It seems today that nobody cares anymore about the Bible Week celebration much more with the Holy Scriptures itself. All the Christian congregations are expected to, among other activities, to organize an interchurch service honoring the Bible at which several passages are read, the hymns that pay tribute it, and the sermon addresses its influence not only in spiritual and moral issues, but in our art, literature and music. On their part, at least, city and municipal mayors may proclaim Bible Week in our city or municipality and feature the event to local media especially those they have direct hand. It is expected that those members of religious groups, Catholic or not, working in public offices such as LGUs initiate such activity in their respective work places.
This year’s theme: May They Be One: “Becoming One Nation in the Stewardship of Creation” is inspired by Psalm 8:3-6. As destruction and degradation of nature spring from greed, the church leaders unanimously agreed to pursue with the new government its thrust against graft and corruption, focusing on becoming better stewards of the country’s resources.
Contrary to the common belief among Christians, bibles are not all the same. Some Christians gradually removed seven chapters of the Old Testament book and some other parts that contradicted some of their teachings. So each believer should know which Bible is to be used. Even the “prophet (of doom) of the hour” Harold Camping and his followers at Family Stations, Inc. are using different bible for his prediction of the second coming of Christ this coming May 21, 2011. According to some reports, Camping fanatics are aggressively spreading the message of doom through billboards, benches at bus stops, the caravan, and mobilize volunteers to distribute pamphlets in various corners of the city, from Bridgeport to Little Rock, Arkansas. And to spread the message outside the U.S., they even have a group of volunteers who would go around Africa and Latin America. This church group is claiming that the prediction is based on their bible.
Well, as we all know, there’s nothing new with this sort of doomsday brouhaha. Camping himself predicted that the world end in 1994. William Miller, another world acclaimed religious leader had predicted the world’s end was on October 22, 1844 but, as we say, the sun still shines brightly to this day. The sun, just like the Bible, is true and essential for today as always.
Sacred Scripture or the Holy Bible is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit. It challenges us to spread the Good News of salvation. It also continues to be relevant to both saints and sinners, to people like Ted "The Golden Voice" Williams then and now, to acclaimed bloggers and lowly lumberjacks…
(Photo from Philippine Bible Society)