War and grace

Live from Maguindanao, Day 13
2 days before Halalan 2010

KORONADAL, SOUTH COTABATO–“More so, let us ask God to give us leaders we do NOT deserve.”

Pastor Jorem was leading the congregation in prayer. The singing had already ended and he was laying out the church’s petitions. Number one on their list: the May 10 elections.

This still is Mindanao–Koronadal or Marbel, to be exact. And this is Marbel Evangelical Fellowship, a church of 50 plus that I had the privilege of joining last Sunday.

And this is probably the farthest church I’ve attended since my years in Saudi Arabia. UP schoolmate Lance Catedral, here on vacation, brought me along.

Where I come from, in-depth prayer sessions spring up only in prayer meetings. At MEF, every Sunday involves members sharing their requests and thanks, then offering them up as one.

Welcome to one aspect of the elections forgotten in the revelry, the excitement, and the mudslinging.

The pastor was not endorsing anyone. But it seemed he had a lot on his heart for the upcoming vote.

PCOS machine testing and sealing at Datu Hoffer Maguindanao on May 8. Shot by Gani Taoatao, ABS-CBN News cameraman

PCOS machine testing and sealing at Datu Hoffer Maguindanao on May 8. Shot by Gani Taoatao, ABS-CBN News cameraman

Pray the elections will be clean, peaceful, fair, and successful, he said. Pray that people will go out and vote for those they believe in, and not those they think have the most chances of winning.

Thankfully, he said, the number is growing of people who choose not to follow the bandwagon of survey-leaders and popular figures.

And even more, he said, pray that the winners will be leaders we Filipinos do not deserve.

Posters of local candidates in Maguindanao, May 4. Shot by Gani Taoatao, ABS-CBN News cameramanAmpatuan posters in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, May 4. Shot by Gani Taoatao, ABS-CBN News cameraman

Posters of local candidates in Maguindanao, May 4. Shots by Gani Taoatao, ABS-CBN News cameraman

NOT? Don’t we deserve good leaders? Haven’t we had enough of the opposite?

If you think about it, our country does not exactly merit that blessing. Not when you know that our priorities and actions have shown we have not really been good citizens ourselves.

But that is what grace is about–gaining something you do not deserve.

This TV Patrol story we edited and sent that Sunday underscores what is at stake in the election–especially here in Maguindanao.

It shows that, first, there is a candidate other than the (in)famous ones. And second, whoever wins will make an impact on the future of millions–for better or for worse.

Pray that this 2010, we elect the leaders who will become God’s means to bless our country rather than discipline it. Even if we do not deserve it, as the pastor said.

While it can get physical and psychological, this election is more than a battle of flesh and blood.

It is a war fought too in the spiritual, by people who know that One greater than our squabbles and ambitions is in control of things. It is a fight for the soul of a nation long tired of corruption. And it is a conflict against apathy and the endless cycle of blame.

God sets up leaders and determines the destiny of nations. But He moves through a people willing to make a change, on their feet and on their knees. Ako ang simula ng pagbabago.

HALALAN 2010: Boto Mo Ipatrol Mo, Ako ang Simula the ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs coverage

TWO DAYS MORE.

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4 comments on “War and grace

  1. Pingback: A Tale of Two TMs | PinoyJourn: Stories behind the Stories

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