The Philippine President delivered his second SONA – State of the Nation Address – today. He outlined his achievements, denounced his critics, described the challenges, and announced his future plans. He was interrupted with applauses. He sprinkled his speech with some expletives and jokes. He appeared to be a man of action, a no-nonsense tough guy whom you want to be in your corner.
What about if we are given a chance to deliver a SONA about our Christian faith? How did we live out our faith in the past year? How would people rate our speech? Will they believe that we “walk our talk”? In what manner should we outline the SONA of our faith? Let me use what Paul Tillich said us our “ultimate concern” — the answer of Jesus Christ to question “What is the most important of all the commandments?” Jesus’ answer should be our ultimate concern –”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31. If this is our ultimate concern, then SONA of our faith will outline the answer of the question — How did we show our love to God? How did we show our love to our neighbors? How did we show our love to ourselves?
Loving God with all our heart means that we are passionate for God. Loving God with all our soul means that our deepest desire is to have an intimate relationship with God. Loving God with all our mind means that we think and what our focus is on how to glorify God. Loving God with all our strength means that our energy should be expended in the ministry that God has called us to do.
Loving our neighbor as ourselves means that what we hope and do for ourselves, we also hope and do for others — like we do not wish any ill for ourselves, we also do not wish any ill to happen to others; our desire for a meaningful life is also our desire for others.
May the SONA of our faith be like of Paul who said — I have completed the task the Lord Jesus Christ has given me.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
July 24, 2017