The National Baptist Day in the Philippines is on January 11, 2024. Let us reflect on the rich history of the Baptist tradition and explore how its principles can contribute to the building of our nation.
First, be an advocate for religious freedom.
In the annals of history, Baptists have stood as champions of religious freedom. From the early days when believers faced persecution for their commitment to individual conscience and the freedom to worship, Baptists have been advocates for liberty. This legacy reminds us of the importance of religious diversity and tolerance in our nation.
As we celebrate this heritage, let us turn to Galatians 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Second, empower the individual for a collective purpose.
Baptists have long emphasized the priesthood of all believers, affirming that each individual has a direct relationship with God. This principle encourages personal responsibility and empowerment, contributing to a strong and engaged citizenry.
In 1 Peter 2:9, we are reminded of our collective purpose: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Third, continue the work for social justice and in serving the community.
The Baptist tradition has a history of actively engaging in social justice and community service. The three-fold Baptist pattern of ministry is based on Jesus: preaching, teaching and healing. Thus, Baptists did not just establish churches but also schools and hospitals to better serve the people.
As we reflect on this, let us be inspired by Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” This commitment challenges us to be agents of positive change, working for justice and the well-being of our fellow citizens.
Let us embrace and celebrate the Baptist heritage. May the principles of religious freedom, individual empowerment, and commitment to social justice guide us as we contribute to the building of a strong and united nation.
May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Director, Office of Communications