The Messengers of the Resurrection

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 JC2033 Global Gathering, Anafora, Egypt Day 2 -The second day of the international meeting in Anafora, Egypt (1. October 2021), organized jointly by the Egyptian Council of Churches and JC2033, is devoted to the theme of the resurrection of Christ. 

To speak of it is to evoke the angels: first of all the one who rolls the stone of the Easter tomb! 

The Swiss Reformed pastor Martin Hoegger, collaborator in the JC2033 initiative, gives a study on the account of the resurrection of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. He notes that when the stone is rolled away by the angel, the tomb is already empty. The Lord came out of the tomb while it was still closed! There is no longer any material obstacle for the Risen One who lives on another plane than the space-time reality. (Read his study here

Then the angels in our midst! Coptic Orthodox Bishop Anba Mikhail says that "the angels rejoice today because we are fulfilling God's desire: it is indeed God's will that we celebrate together the resurrection of Christ and prepare for the great Jubilee of 2033

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What dream for 2033?

Invited to share his "dream for 2033" in a roundtable discussion, he said his dream is for Christians to take seriously the divine command to proclaim Christ's resurrection so that many may live by his life.

Greek Catholic Bishop Anba Georges Shihan says that his dream is that Christians bear fruit, walking with the Risen One and sanctifying themselves in him. Let them bear witness in word, but especially in deed!  

As for Presbyterian theologian Hossam Heshmat, his dream for 2033 is not separated from the Gospel. The resurrection of Jesus is the sign of the Kingdom of God. At the heart of our faith is the hope of a new world that his resurrection inaugurates. Our duty is to remain faithful to Christ's message by being salt and light. 

Then, in a very original way, the doctor and lecturer Sameh Aziz, director of the Haggai Institute, explains how Jesus, through his life, death, and resurrection, won all the battles. His disciples continue his work in the strength of his Spirit, as he said to us "I will not leave you alone". Until he returns to break the net of death, the last enemy, once and for all!

On leaving the large hall of the monastery of Anafora, I was struck by the number of young volunteers who were living these three days with us. Their joy and their singing are a beautiful sign that God is preparing them to be "messengers" (one of the meanings of the word angel) of the Risen One in unity, witness, and celebration.

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The values of JC2033

Unity, witness, and celebration are the three "values" of JC2033. Paul Thompson, communications officer, explains: "We relate differently to these core values and it becomes interesting to discuss them. In any case, we have to look to Jesus who embodies them perfectly.

A few testimonials then illustrate these three values. 

For unity, the floor is given to the Focolare Movement, a movement rooted in the Catholic Church but open to other churches. A member of the Cairo community, of German origin, Bernhard shares an experience of friendship with refugees in Berlin. Since many of them came from Egypt, the Focolare community in Berlin got in touch with the Coptic priest in that city. This meeting changed the lives of the participants; to this day, the friendship continues. 

A member of the Focolare community in Lebanon also shares how important unity among Christians is in these very difficult times in his country

Regarding the value of witnessing, we listen to Emad Sami, an evangelical ambassador of JC2033 in Egypt. He says that his heart is on fire at the thought that he is collaborating in a vast project that connects him to the body of Christ throughout the world. He stresses the importance of translating the Bible into the different languages. His dream is that each people will hear in their own language that Jesus is risen! 

He is followed by Werner Nachtigall, a German Pentecostal leader of the GO movement, who also emphasizes the importance of Bible translation via video. "Go" is among the last words of Jesus!

For the value of the celebration, we discover a Lebanese experience. Since 2009, during the Easter season, there are annual celebrations that bring together members of the various churches and movements: "Let us celebrate the Resurrection together". Dany El Obeid, of the Orthodox faith, explains that young people look forward to this event. "By coming together to celebrate, we understand the importance of unifying the date of Easter," he says. He adds a second dream: that this experience will spread throughout the Middle East!

Martin Hoegger Anafora, 1 October 2021

 

Watch the roundtable discussion on our Youtube channel.  

 

Next - The roads to Damascus and Emmaus lead to Anafora!

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