By Bianca Garcia
CFC SFL Novaliches
It started with a poster.
It was a simple poster containing all the details of an activity called “Liturgical Bible Study”. I was intrigued. The venue was just across from where I work. I looked for my old and overused youth Bible and went there without expecting that I would know anyone.
It has been a year since then.
After attending several sessions, I was spiritually fired-up. It came to a point where I literally wanted to hug everyone just so they can feel the heat my God’s Word in my heart. This led me to writing an LBS invite on a post-it. I even left my cellphone number on the note. I posted it on the refrigerator of the common pantry of our floor being shared by 30 plus offices.
I don’t really know what to expect when I wrote that note. I was in for a surprise.
Someone texted me and told me he was blessed by my note. His name is Jason Ramirez and he is a Christian. He had been a regular attendee since I wrote that note.
He discerned to minister the youth late last year. Eventually, he created his own group in a coffee shop in Las Pinas recently. He called it the “Life Group”. He used the same model of how we conduct our LBS — evangelization in coffee shop, Bible in hand, life-giving discussion with different people. He once told me that he is thankful to have known our LBS group because his life is changed forever. Thinking about it now, little did I know that it was God who was changing mine.
It started with a passion.
After a year of regularly attending the LBS, we opened our own LBS group in the North. This was after my realization that more people wanted to know more of God as well, but Makati is not an accessible venue for them to do so. Our weekly Thursday LBS at KFC Mindanao Avenue, QC group are a hot-pot of different communities: SFL, Light of Jesus (The Feast), and non-community members. We started with 9 people on our first week. But week after week, more and more people join us. By the 6th week, we were at 17, so we had to divide the group into two, just so we can accommodate everyone. What a blessing!
It started with a purpose.
It was my first time in 5 years to attend the annual World Singles’ Congress (WSC) as a participant. Being a participant gave me more time to focus on my members and to serve in different ways. It was also the very first time wherein we conducted an LBS during the conference. I was so privileged to be chosen as one of the LBS facilitators (out of 100). I was both excited – to meet new brothers and sisters and to share the LBS to others – and scared at the same time. The fear meter toppled up two notches higher when the first guy to approach me while I was holding my number 72 up was an international delegate, Mike. My first question to him was, “Do you understand Tagalog?” and he jokingly answered, “Hindi.” I seriously thought we would be conducting the LBS in straight English. I would’ve fainted! Hahaha.
All of my group mates but one (Sienna from Singapore, a sister who is not part of the community yet but has been attending the LBS already) were LBS first timers. Needless to say, it was challenging. I explained to them how the LBS works, how we do it, what hibla or one-thread message means, how to come up with a hibla. At first, the process was a little awkward. Nobody wanted to summarize. Nobody wanted to read. Nobody wanted to come up with a connection — because they weren’t sure how to do it. I had to read and summarize and give an example of a connection for them to understand how it works. Eventually the group got the hang of it and the conversation about the readings became deeper. When we got to the connections, I kind of led them to certain similarities or prompted them to come up with ideas by saying “Do you think the temple in the Gospel has a connection in the First Reading?” My group mates started joking around, saying, “Basta sinabi mo sis, agree kaming lahat. Final na ‘yan!” (As long as you are the one who said it, it means it’s legit and it’s final! We all agree to it!). We finally came up with our hibla: We are God’s temple, and Christ alone can save us from sins.
It started with a calling.
A week after the LBS, I felt God’s call to share the LBS to everyone. By everyone, what I felt He really meant was share it to my family. I didn’t want to do it. I thought it would be boring and awkward because family and the community are different. People in the community are more understanding and less brutal. I was scared. I am the eldest. Whatever I say will forever be etched in the memory of my family. If I commit a mistake, my words when I preach to them will ricochet back at me. But it was my 10-year old youngest sister, Kiara, who wanted so badly to have an LBS at home. And so, a week after the WSC, for the very first time, we had an LBS at home with my siblings. What a humbling experience, to study God’s Word with the people you love the most!
I realize now that LBS, or more aptly, reading the Bible, is like a chore. At first you don’t like doing it.. but with practice and consistency, you start to like doing it and eventually get used to it. The more you do it, the more you appreciate it. When you appreciate it, the more you will understand why you are doing it. Gradually, you will accelerate the skill of reading the Bible from a newbie level to a pro level.
The more I read the Bible readings now, the more that God reveals Himself to me. I thought if I read a gospel twice, I know I already understood perfectly what He wants to say. But then I read it for the third time and discover a different interpretation. I read it for the fourth time and it’s like experiencing heaven. It also helps that I have a lot of friends who are also now into LBS. When they share about their thoughts on the readings, I discover more about God. I don’t know how it’s even possible to discover more and more of Him.
I may not know how it all began, but I am sure of how I want it to end: with every person – regardless of community – holding a Bible, conducting/attending the LBS and the Sunday mass because s/he wants to know more of Christ the way that I am discovering more of Him. That through the LBS and in all things, God may be glorified.
Original source: https://afewheartbreakslater.wordpress.com