By: Kathleen Lei Limayo
Last May, I traveled with iEmergence Philippines to document the 2nd Conversations on Faith and IP Culture with the Teduray community in North Upi Maguindanao . This travel taught me a valuable lesson about Reconciliation.
Reconciliation calls for celebration . I was talking to Timuay Ricky (a Teduray Tribal leader) who started telling stories about the Teduray Justice System . As he tells the story of what Justice looks like, I gaze to the mountains surrounding us with a smile. Definitely the Teduray justice system sounds very restorative. Justice isn’t something to punish a wrong doing. Justice isn’t to discriminate the perpetrator. Justice isn’t something to shame the victim. But justice is to reconcile people . He mentioned that for the Teduray people even gravest offense, which is murder can be forgiven. When someone kills another person, the family members of both the perpetrator and the dead person are summoned by the Timuays. Face to face, the families are called to talk about how the perpetrator’s family can pay for the lost life. The payment can be livestock, produce or any yield that the family of the perpetrator can pay. After settling the payment, the community calls for a ceremony. A thanksgiving ceremony is done to give thanks to the Creator for bringing reconciliation. This ceremony marks a covenant saying that everything is well, forgiven and reconciled. Hearing this story affirms my thoughts about justice. I have been struggling about how justice could be restorative. Justice is restorative if it seeks to reconcile. This type of justice doesn’t seek to forget the offense but it tries to remember the offender and the offended . It remembers that before the offense there is harmony, there is peace, there is a relationship, there is a community and there is a God.
Sometimes it doesn’t feel right to just say let's call for a celebration of reconciliation after a tragedy. A life is still a life, after all. How can we celebrate if we hear stories about pain and suffering. How can we celebrate reconciliation if we got hurt? How can a reconciliation call for celebration? Where can we base this?
Colossians 1:1520 reminds us of our reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. It reads, “ The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy . For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things , whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
This is how we are reconciled. We are reconciled through Christ. Now that we know and understand that we are reconciled with God how do we celebrate this reconciliation? What do we do with this reconciliation? We can celebrate this reconciliation by letting this reconciliation we have received flow to our communities, to our neighbors, our families, our nation, our work, our advocacies. Celebrating that reconciliation means that we, as followers of Christ, we embody that reconciliation . And as the Kingdom is here and now, there are still things that needs to be redeemed and reconciled until the New Heavens and New Earth is established. We work with God not just for justice, but we work with God for reconciliation. We work with God not just for equality, but for reconciliation. We work with God for reconciliation because of love. Because He love us. As CS Lewis says, “He loved us not because we were lovable, but because He is love.” And because Jesus is love, we are reconcilable. Through Him, we can celebrate reconciliation.
*All photos are grabbed from Kathleen's Facebook
Kathleen is a storyteller, filmmaker, and designer. She has spent the past years of her life traveling, shooting videos and taking photos because she believes in the power of stories for transformation. She is also the current editor-in-chief and founder of Alive Young Women, an online community of young Christian women. Get to know more about this visual storyteller in her website.
By Faith Dima-ano
It was a first time in history that I traveled to Cotabato City. It was amazing,meaningful and yet reminiscing of my childhood life… being a daughter of a pioneering missionary parents somewhere in Compostela Valley, Philippines. During the Conversations on Faith and IP Culture event, facilitating logistical support was part of my work. But, when I saw all the people, I was kind of reminded how we did our missionary work during my younger years. I saw how the people there have this simple yet so amazing happiness. I felt the same way when I saw their happy faces especially when they saw people outside their area visiting their communities. That event was a big impact to their community and I feel like being there was having this thought of "Wow, there are plenty of happy people in this world!"
Faith is the Administrative Officer of iEmergence, Inc. Philippines. Hailing from Anitapan, Compostela Valley, where she and her two brothers were raised by missionary parents, she and her family have settled back in Davao City. Growing up in Anitapan, she spent a lot of time with the Mansaka tribe. This allowed her to experience a variety of things and grow in her understanding of her country especially its Indigenous peoples.