Posted in Black Saturday, Hope, Lent

The Power of the Last Words

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:46

life after death
As the sunset promises a new day, Jesus Christ’s last words is our hope that there’s life after death.

Of the seven sayings of Jesus Christ on the cross, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” is considered as his last words. After saying this he then breathed his last according to Luke.

Take note that Jesus “called out with a loud voice”. Everyone around the area with eyes focused on the bodies hanging on the cross must have heard him.

The power of Jesus’ last words proves that he is the extra-ordinary person, God’s only Son whom He sent to redeem us.

In saying his last words, Jesus Christ submitted and committed his spirit to His Father, trusting and empowering Him to carry out His work beyond physical death.

The last words of Jesus make me think about the conversations I had with friends who have gone ahead.

Please allow me to share a couple of them. I got their last words from our conversation through Facebook.


Maricar was a classmate in high school. A year before her passing in July 2013, I got in touch with her and ministered through prayers. Here’s her last words:

Please pray for my total healing. I surrender everything to the Lord and I know my faith will heal me. thank you so much classmate. I really appreciate all your concern and prayers….


I met Brutus at Faith Baptist Church in Manila. His real name is Ephraim Jacildo. In March 2013, I learned of his condition so I got in touch via FB to encourage him. He rested peacefully on 12 April 2014. His last words:

God has been manifesting His sovereignty in my condition in so many different ways. Yes I still have many questions but I trust the Lord will carry me when I need Him.



Surely, we are saddened when friends and loved ones leave but their last words bring comfort and hope, isn’t it?

The greatest comfort and hope that we have is in Jesus Christ who conquered death through his resurrection.

My friends, if you were to die today, what will be your last words?

As you end your life on earth, will you bless or curse? Will you surrender humbly or struggle in pride?

In the event of sudden death, some might have ready their last will and testament already. I wonder if they have included their faith testament?

To whom are you giving your spirit? Make sure you are ready and willing to commit your spirit to God.

The power of the last words transcends this world as we trust God to raise us from the dead and to go on living eternally in our new glorified bodies.

Think about firming up your last words now.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Sunset at Fakaofa Atoll, Tokelau by Ross-Waugh

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Posted in Faith, Last Supper

Ingenious Celebration of the Lord Supper Using Mango Leaves

Central Philippine University Blog

In 1999, I had the opportunity to live with the Hanonoo Mangyans of Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro as part of my course in Theology.

Together with two interns, we stayed in the Mangyan village from April 19 to May 4. My previous post “Learning with the Mangyans” provides some details of that internship.

On April 29, Amâ Anghel invited us to his farm way up the mountains. He guided us to Sitio Lumboy, an hour’s walk from Sitio Amaga.

He wanted us to witness the worship gathering of born-again Mangyans, which was being held in that place.

There I saw a very unique experience in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

Their church building is made of bamboo and cogon grass thatched roof. The congregation sat on the bamboo floor.

Mango branches with unripe fruits
Mango branches with unripe fruits

I was very quizzical upon seeing a Mangyan deacon walked around the congregation with a branch full of leaves. It was a branch from a Mango tree.

As the Mangyan pastor read 1 Corinthians 11:1-13 in the native language, each worshipper plucked a leaf from the branch. There were two deacons who carried the branch around.

Then I saw them distribute pieces of “Marie” biscuits.

In the Mangyan language, I gathered that the pastor instructed the members to get one and wait till each one has a biscuit for they will eat together. The pastor read a Bible passage and together they ate the biscuit.

The pastor bade everyone to be silent while he prayed. Then the two deacons went around again, each carrying a pitcher of water.

For a moment, I thought the people will eat the Mango leaves to represent the cup. I was naively wrong.

As they went around, each member scooped water from the pitcher using the leaves they formed into a cone. After everyone had drunk, they sang the hymn “Break Thou the Bread” in the Mangyan dialect.

As they sang, the deacons gathered back the used leaves and placed them on the altar.

Posted in Good Friday, Lent

Celebrating the “Goodness” of Good Friday

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

good friday
“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

On Good Friday, we come before the Lord in worship and faithful remembrance of His death on the cross.

Most of us probably grew up celebrating Good Friday with the “seven sayings” or the last statements of Jesus when He hung dying on the cross.

I’m sure traditional Good Friday services are best remembered for its length because you will hear seven short sermons by seven speakers.

You probably have experienced a Good Friday service where some speakers were carried away, forgot about the time limit and just talked on and on.

There was one Good Friday worship I can’t forget because one speaker took it as an opportunity to make an evangelistic invitation while the rest of the speakers waited for their turn.

For the clergy and the church, the Holy Week celebration is the busiest event in the life of the church. Unlike Christmas, which is only one day, Holy Week is a series of celebrations from the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, Crucifixion on Good Friday and Resurrection on Sunday.

I have experienced participating and preparing for special programs, like a play on Thursday and Friday and Easter Cantata on Sunday. Oh, how tiring things could be but then we were happy to have engaged in such activities, making the celebration memorable each year.

Today, Christian churches are holding joint Good Friday and Resurrection Day celebrations, concerting one big event for several churches and denominations.

Interestingly, there are those who don’t mind lengthy Good Friday worship-services because they only come to church twice a year, Good Friday and Christmas.

If you’re in the Philippines, you might hear some people recommend you not to get wounded on Good Friday or Black Saturday because it won’t heal. Their explanation was God was dead when you got wounded so you won’t heal. Of course, this could either be a superstition or a joke.

Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (emphasis mine)

The very good thing about Good Friday is that the “goodness” isn’t limited on a specific day.

The atonement we gained from the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is one great miracle that time, place, or religion could not confine.

It is a serious relationship with the Saviour Jesus. His goodness and mercy we ought to prove and celebrate on a day-to-day basis.

And we pray, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever” (Psalm 23:6).

PHOTO CREDIT: “Rusty Bolt” by Ross Waugh