On January 13, 2023, the Bible Society, in partnership with APECL, APECL Jeune, and the Biblical Federation, held a symposium, at the Catholic Information Center in Jal el Dib, in preparation for the Week of the Bible, which will be taking place from 22 to 28 January 2023.
Archbishop Antoine Nabil Al-Andari, President of the Episcopal Commission for Social Media, opened the session by introducing this year’s theme under the title “Walking together with the Bible,” which was inspired by the disciples on the road to Emmaus. The purpose is to specifically highlight how we should daily commune with the Bible, read it, be ready to listen and learn, and have our lives transformed by it. This is not just essential for us as individuals but as groups and communities as a whole to be walking with the Word of God daily.
Dr. Mike Bassous, the General Secretary and CEO of the Bible Society, then shared the history of the Week of the Bible and how it started in 2012 and officially launched ten years ago in 2013. He emphasized that the purpose of the Week of the Bible is to encourage individuals and families to be rooted in the word of God. He also expressed his desire which was echoed by all participants, that the goal for the future is for this week to be fully ecumenical, bringing all Christians in Lebanon together.
The youth will have their share during this special week. Lawyer Roy Jreish, Coordinator of the National Youth Pastoral Committee (APECL Jeune), shared the challenges the youth face in their faith journeys and some of their opinions about the Bible. One of the most common comments he hears is that the church is sometimes foreign to the language of today’s youth. Many complain that the Jesus they see in the Bible is very different from the one presented to them in church. The call today, through this coming week, is to bring the Bible to the youth in their language and to give a wake-up call to church leaders to hear the cry of this young generation.
Fr. Claude Nadra, Secretary General of the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon, also expressed the importance of having all people be at the heart of the church, both young and old. Everyone, not just the clergy, should be able to participate in discussions, decision-making, and even administrative duties. The church is the people of God, walking together with God and towards Him.
This image of walking with God and having him as our guide was also how Sr. Bassima El Khoury, General Administrator at the Antonine Sisters Congregation and representative of the Biblical Federation in Lebanon, related this year’s theme to the Old Testament. She took the example of the people of God moving from Egypt to the promised land and how God was with them throughout the journey. Their journey was not void of challenges that came because of man’s unfaithfulness and stubbornness of heart, not much different than our journey in life today differ.
Lastly, Dr. Mike Bassous shared how the activities of the upcoming Bible week will help address the challenges discussed in this symposium. He also announced some of the activities and books that will be available. All the announcements will be shared on the Bible Society’s social media pages and websites.
The next symposium session will be on Friday, the 20th of January, covering more practical topics.