On Aug 21, 1971 a dramatic act of terrorism took place at the plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila, Philippines. It was during the beginning of a violent era of politics in the Philippines, which subtly continues today.
A rally was being held in the Plaza Miranda by the liberal party of the Philippines (photo above) which turned to chaos when an unidentified person threw two grenades onto the rally stage, killing 9 people, including a 5 year old child, and injuring many more.
In contrast to this terrorism, on Monday September 2, the beginning of International Peace Month, I and many others from Peace Church Philippines and more than 25 peace organizations, caravanned from Quezon City Memorial Circle to Plaza Miranda in advocacy for transparent governance (current Pork Barrel scandal), and the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic front of the Philippines.
During the program I noticed this placard outlining the events of Aug 21, 1971:
But the 4th paragraph stood out to me the most as a declaration of hope:
Filipino culture is warm and loving and the entire world knows this through the informal filipino ambassadors serving in every public industry around the globe. But the national and local politics here continue to be bloody and self-destructive and corruption continues to flourish, as this story illustrates.
As a followers of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, our church community in Manila is committed to contribute to peace and reconciliation in all relationships around us. We give our energy, money, time and efforts in a demonstration of the biblical vision of the total Peace that God is bringing to this earth. We see the future through the Jesus lens, the lens of biblical peace (shalom). All of scripture points to everything being made new, redeemed, reconciled and experiencing biblical peace!
I choose to give myself in service to the Filipino people as an example that the final hope of God bringing His Peace here to the earth again. And this peace is breaking into our current reality through the church. We invite all churches to explore this story in scripture with us. From the Old Testament hope of Isaiah’s description of good news (Isaiah 52:7) to the New Testament declaration that the angels come declaring good news of peace for all men! (Luke 2:14) Peace is central to the biblical narrative and therefore biblical theology and the christian life.
A monument like this gets dirty and people forget the great reminder that it is. Many people also forget the deep desire we all have for rightness and fairness that everyone senses should be achievable. This sense of rightness and harmony in all relationships is the biblical peace the church is called to live and proclaim as the good news that Jesus is King. Everyday his people, the church, are called to live lives that demonstrate His peace, justice, unbiased blessings for all people and good news of complete salvation for all things (Eph 1:7-10).
Destruction and violence continue every month by traditional politicians. As well, violent conflict is carried out by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, through the campaigns of national military and community violence in frats and gangs all over the city of Manila.
I pray that Jesus’ church all over the world would become better known for seeking justice and biblical peace for all people in touch with the church. This is the embodiment of Jesus kingdom here on earth that Jesus taught us to pray for it in Matt 5, “Lord, your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”