Dahl and I had a great time with many new Filipino friends today. We celebrated our country’s 115th anniversary of independence from Spain. As in all Filipino gatherings, we did the 4 K’s.
- Kuwentuhan – sharing a lot of stories
- Kainan – eating a lot of food
- Kantiyawan – teasing each other a lot
- Kodakan – taking a lot of pictures
Naturally, some of our kuwentuhan was about our homeland. Unfortunately, many of our fellow Pinoys just talked about what they didn’t like about the Philippines. The hot and humid weather. The infamous Manila traffic. How low the wages are. And so forth. There is no denying that these are true. However, not all is bad in the Philippines. I tend to agree with “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign of our Department of Tourism.
Anyway, when I had a chance to speak, I showed them the new 500-peso bill. They were so delighted because they haven’t seen one since most of them haven’t gone home for many years now. I pointed out a declaration printed on the 500-peso bill: “Pinagpala ang bayan na ang Diyos ay ang Panginoon.” This is the Tagalog translation of Psalm 33:12a, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”
Now I know the Philippines well enough to say that it is not a nation whose citizens are true and faithful followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Philippines may be the first Christian nation in Asia, but we still cannot claim that we are a nation that is submitted to the lordship of Christ.
But we can be.
God has already blessed our nation tremendously, and he wants to bless us some more. But for this to happen, we need to submit to his lordship. You don’t need to go to church to learn about this. Just look at the top of our new legal tender banknotes. You can read for yourself what I believe is a declaration of hope and a statement of God’s will: “Pinagpala ang bayan na ang Diyos ay ang Panginoon.”
So in our next Filipino gathering, let’s not limit our kuwentuhan to what we don’t like about the Philippines. Let’s also talk about the blessings of God that has made us the “perlas ng silanganan” (Pearl of the Orient).
We can give God the glory even in our 4 K’s.