(A letter for my father, the Reverend Jeremias B. Nilo, who is celebrating his birthday on 10/03/10)
I heard stories, daddy, that you were a Scrabble champion back in the day. You were so addicted to the game that my four brothers and sisters had to chase you down to tell you that you needed to make dinner.
How come a person like you who can easily create words out of random tiles of letters, words that make us dig through the dictionary, words that even you yourself find a hard time pronouncing, is someone who does not mince words? How is it that a preacher like you who can write a manuscript of sermon full of theological terms and fascinating illustrations does not beat around the bush? How is it that you are too frank? Too frank that sometimes people get offended. Too frank that sometimes people get aggitated especially when confronted in their comfort zones?
You have set so high a standard in your 40+ years of indomitable service to the Lord. You were a District Evangelist for many, many years. You’re a multi-awarded church planter. You’re an accomplished father who has sent your 5 kids to college banking on your meager Methodist minister salary and unparalleled faith.
We are very proud of you. You have shown us the ropes by modeling a life of simplicity, godliness with contentment, just and a life full of piety. We are thankful for you have inculcated in us the value of embracing the truth, regardless of how painful the truth may be, for out of the pain is liberation.
We are very proud of you when you unveil the truth in many people’s lives. If you didn’t, who would’ve had? You believed that a minister’s job is not to babysit parishioners, but to preach the Word of God to affect change.
Thanks, daddy, for being a faithful and fearless man of God.
Oh, and thank you for letting us win a Scrabble game from time to time.
Happy 70th Birthday!