By Joey Avellana, BCBP Makati
Your love keeps lifting me higher,
Than I’ve ever been lifted before.
So keep it up, quench my desire,
And I’ll be at your side forever more.
In 1967, Jackie Wilson performed this Motown hit and made it a classic tune among dance-crazy teeners of the 60’s and 70’s. And even if this soulful ballad was a secular song to a new found love, it best captures the feeling and idea I want to share with you.
I joined the BCBP almost 22 years ago as my wife Lulu and I accepted the invitation of our good friends in college to join CLP # 22 then being conducted by the Makati Chapter. I was intrigued at the prospect of “a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ” that was then posed as a question in the program invitation.
It was in this journey in faith, as I now call it (back then it was just a seminar!) where we learned about our God who loves us unconditionally, who has great plans for us and whose love was perfected in the person of His Savior Son. Today, that journey that we started in 1993 in the BCBP still has a long way to go, but no matter, we keep our eyes fixed on the destination, and it keeps us on track.
I would like to affirm that the love of Jesus fuels our desire to serve Him joyfully with all our hearts!
Joy is one very clear charism of the BCBP community. When I was a fledgling servant (emcee) in the Makati breakfast, I would engage first timers with this question,”how do you know you are in a BCBP breakfast?” My answer: “Observe two visible things. First there is so much joy and laughter in the gathering. Second, no one listens to the emcee!” (uncontrolled laughter ensues)
Kidding aside, that joy that I talk about is a quality that is ever-present in our BCBP communities wherever we are, whether here in the Philippines or abroad. In all the places we have gone to, whether for mission, training or to attend activities in our Chapters, Outreaches or Breakfasts, that joyful energy ( boundless, over-flowing, incessant, etc.), is so evident you can almost reach out and touch it!
Allow me connect that idea of joy to the BCBP community’s concept of celebration, in the context of our year-long 35th Anniversary celebration held at the SMX last May 1and 2, 2015.
BCBP@35: BE BRAVE. BE BOLD.
For two Spirit-filled days, over 4,000 of us came together as one family to honor, to celebrate, and to proclaim God’s love and providence for each of us and for our BCBP community. It was truly awesome to see brethren with hands raised in exaltation, praising and worshiping the Lord for His gift of community! And to hear our brothers bravely and boldly witness to the Love of the Lord and His faithfulness and assurances, were such emotional moments that left many of us in tears and prayerful thanksgiving.
The songs, vocal praise and worship, messages, sharings and even the video all combined to create nothing less than a “raise-the-roof” experience that afternoon. Towards evening, seeing everyone huddled in small groups as they prayed over each other, was a sight to behold — God is with us, and He is blessing us as a community!
The next morning’s Anniversary Breakfast and Business Forum was a first in the community’s 35-year existence. An early start of the breakfast program at 7 am had no less than Cabinet Secretary and BCBP stalwart Bro. Rene Almendras powerfully sharing his experiences and struggles in the public service whilst remaining strongly connected to the Lord and his values that he learned in the BCBP. Even the response song “Huwag Kang Mangamba” composed by Fr. Manoling Francisco and put to music and images in a gripping MTV was a clear affirmation and a clear reassurance that God is with us no matter where we are or what we face.
But that was only a curtain raiser for the morning’s program as it segued into the start of the BUSINESS FORUM, which served as the culminating activity of a 5-leg nationwide series entitled CONFRONTING CORRUPTION, organized in tandem with the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Alumni Association and AIM Policy Center. The stellar cast included AIM Policy Center Executive Director Prof. Ron Mendoza who gave a recap of the CONFRONTING CORRUPTION series highlights, former COA Chair Grace Pulido-Tan of the Ligaya ng Panginoon community, former Makati Business Club President and Integrity Initiative’s Convenor Greg Navarro, DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson, a former BCBP Makati member now with the Ligaya ng Panginoon community, and His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila.
More than 4.200 delegates, guests and members of the business community and our partners-in-mission stayed glued to their places as the forum, entitled Coming Together For Change, kept the energy levels of the entire audience high, and left them eagerly wanting for more. Truly it was a brave and bold undertaking, and one could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the entire morning!
Indeed, how refreshing and exhilarating it feels when good men and women come together to celebrate truth, honesty, integrity whilst living out authentic Christian values in the public and private sectors.
In the afternoon, Bishop Ambo David of the Archdiocese of Pampanga drilled down to the community the challenge and the mandate from Jesus Christ to go and bring the good news to the far corners of this world, by reflecting the “light of Christ” in the midst of the darkness around us. The dinner and fellowship that capped the celebrations in the evening were filled with joy, laughter and fellowship as everyone danced the night away and renewed ties with brothers and sisters from all over BCBP country.
All told, the 35th Anniversary celebration of the BCBP allowed us all to “bask in the radiance” of God’s love and promises, and He re-affirms His providence and assurances that He will always bless our community!
I truly experience the Lord’s love lifting me higher not only during NAC35 but in every gathering of the BCBP that I am privileged to attend. May the Lord’s love really keep lifting the BCBP community, higher and higher everyday!
Happy 35th Anniversary, BCBP!