Why are these Bible studies especially important for consideration by churches?
Dr Ghazaryan Drissi: Completing background material for the next WCC assembly is an important step in the preparation of church congregations on the assembly theme “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.” The spiritual and biblical reflections and approach on the basis of the mentioned theme are to facilitate and help the understanding of each of the key words: “love,” “move the world,” “unity,” and “reconciliation.” The understanding of these words could guide and assist church congregations to better comprehend the general theme of the next global ecumenical gathering in which WCC member churches will work together in a common quest for unity, mission and reconciliation.
Why do the Bible studies follow the main Christian annual feasts?
Dr Ghazaryan Drissi: All spiritual and biblical reflections, on the one hand, have a biblical foundation, with very carefully selected biblical text(s) that also relate to the theme of the assembly. On the other hand, the liturgical year of the churches is taken into consideration. For that purpose, the spiritual and biblical reflections is matched to the main Christian annual feasts.
To relate the spiritual and biblical reflections to the Bible and to the liturgical year of the churches is important because it provides an opportunity for the congregations to be familiarized with the theme as well as to reflect liturgically and thematically on it. Thus, the theme can be related to their own context, as well as to their life and the experience in their own churches.
How are the Bible studies are moving us through Holy Week and Easter?
Dr Ghazaryan Drissi: We are still in Lenten period of repentance, fasting and preparing ourselves for the coming Easter, the Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. During this period of time, we all share the same pain; namely the world moves through difficult times of conflicts, wars, injustices, separations, lamentations, as the Son of God went through it during the week when he was betrayed, imprisoned, suffered, crucified. Today, we are in Holy Week, commemorating and celebrating these moments through which our Lord went. We pray and we move together in these disturbing times, filled with the hope, faith, but also with love, that the resurrection will bring to our broken and divided word healing, reconciliation and unity.
Thus, by sharing the same pain, fasting, praying, moving together to the same goal of resurrection through the liturgical calendar, unites us with the hope that reconciliation will come to us by the mercy of God and will also help in the thematic preparation of the WCC assembly, where we will physically come together, pray together, celebrate and grow together in discipleship as we follow our Lord Jesus Christ.
The pastoral and biblical reflections on Ascension, Pentecost, Transfiguration and Feast of the Cross, which will follow the previous feast reflections, have the same purpose, namely through the celebration of the mentioned feasts, to reflect liturgically and thematically on them in the preparation of the assembly.