Happy Birthday to our Trusted Authority, Jesse Manibusan!
Jesse Manibusan is a singer, songwriter, comedian, and guerilla evangelist who works primarily with youth and young adults, but is also loved by many of us “older” folks as well. We first met when my oldest son was 5 years old. (He’s 29 now – you can do the math!)
Jesse includes a wide variety of styles of music in his work, from the sweetly lyric poetry and tone of Have you seen my God? or Until I Return to the rapper style MC God and I’m Coming Home‘s cha-cha rhythm. I’ll never forget the day he sang for the first commencement ceremony of The National Hispanic University. He didn’t speak Spanish, but he had listened to tapes of traditional songs and played them for about 15 minutes before the ceremony started, to the delight of the assembled families and friends of the graduates. When he led us in The Star Spangled Banner to begin the ceremony, his voice filled the auditorium. He later took this great talent for music and language and wrote his Misa del Mundo, liturgical music with phrases and refrains from languages and cultures all over the world – uniting all into the one prayer we all share, our liturgy.
Early in his career, Jesse wrote a song that I’ve always thought was a good reminder of what’s important – God is Bigger. In these days leading up to the election in the US, when financial markets are on a roller coaster, jobs are in flux, the housing market continues to fall and everything is uncertain, it’s important that we remember that truly, God is Bigger than all that stuff. As Jesse says, “God is good … all the time and All the time … God is good.”
Jesse is probably best known for another of his early songs, Open My Eyes. The words of the song include, “Open my eyes, Lord, help me to see your face …. Open my ears, Lord, help me to hear your voice … Open my heart, Lord, help me to love like you…” A wonderful prayer for beginning each day.
Jesse has a website, http://jessemanibusan.com. Go there and check it out. His blog tells of his travels, adventures and reflections. His CDs and Videos are available for purchase, along with songbooks for those who’d like to have the music to play themselves. And you can find out where his next performance will be, so you can be there! You won’t regret it.
I’ll close with wishes for Jesse of a very Happy Birthday, many more years of joy with your wonderful family, and continued faithfulness to your calling which has enriched all of us and brought such delight to so many.