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One year commemoration of the Beirut Blast

Beirut, August 4, 2021: The Bible Society in Lebanon participated in the Beirut Blast one-year commemoration Prayer Mass through publishing 10,000 copies of a special Scriptural portion in memory of the sad occasion.

On August 4, 2020, at 6:07 PM, thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate unlawfully stored at Beirut port exploded in what is known as one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in history, leaving one-third of the capital city crippled.

The Beirut Blast, which remains unresolved to date, left 218 dead, 7,000+ injured, and 300,000+ homeless. The blast came at a time when Lebanon is facing multiple crises over the past few months: Civil riots, economic meltdown, monetary restrictions, pandemic lockdowns, curfews, and political unrest.

Now, one year later, the investigators have still not pinpointed the officials responsible for this blast amidst local and international calls for justice (Click to see Human Rights report).

Following the blast, the Bible Society in Lebanon launched a global campaign amongst its partners entitled “Reconstruct your Home based on God’s Word” to help families reintegrate the Bible back into their lives and homes. In partnership with several churches and NGOs, about 11,400 Scriptures were provided to families whose homes were totally or partially destroyed. The project also included repair works for the Bible Society Center, studios, and Downtown Bookshop, which were partially damaged.

Now a year later, the Patriarch of the Maronite Church, Cardinal Bechara Rai, presided over a commemoration Prayer Mass for the families of the victims, along with representation from all Christian Churches in the East. The Bible Society published a 16-page Scriptural portion in Arabic entitled Between the Tower of Babylon, Pentecost, and Beirut in collaboration with the [Catholic] Biblical Federation and endorsement of the Church authorities to be distributed before, during, and after the commemoration events. “We felt the urgency to offer a message of hope from the Bible to a traumatized city,” said Dr. Mike Bassous, General Secretary of the Bible Society. A small Bible Society delegation attended and participated in the limited-invitation events.

The underlying theme of the Scripture portion is to provide hope to the traumatized and the suffering through the power of the Holy Spirit. The booklet commences with the well-known story of the Tower of Babylon from Genesis, followed by the event of the Pentecost in Acts, with a comparative text of “destruction” versus “construction” between the two stories. What happened to Beirut on August 4, 2020 resembles to a certain extent the story of the Tower of Babylon, with the hope that Beirut will soon experience a renewed Pentecost (CLICK to Download a PDF copy of the booklet in Arabic)
 
 

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