Paris, France—“Blessed Are Those Who Mourn” was the theme of the 28th Francophone Scriptural Sharing.
For the latest in the series of interdenominational meetings organized by Dialogue & Alliance, an initiative of UPF-France, two groups in different nations connected by Internet on August 27, 2023.
The main meeting was held in the UPF offices in Geneva, Switzerland, with another group of about 20 in the Espace Barrault conference center in Paris.
French-speakers also joined online from Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Morocco, North Macedonia, Republic of the Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe, Spain, Tunisia, and the United States.
The moderator was Olivier Gravrand from Geneva.
The first readings provided a Judeo-Christian perspective on the subject. The texts were Jonah 3:1-10 and Matthew 27:45-50, and were commented on by Claire-Sybille Andrey, a doctor of theology, musician, adult educator, coach, and neurofeedback practitioner. She made it clear that there is a "mirror" effect between humanity's attitude and that of God.
The second reading brought a Muslim perspective. It was verses 155 to 157 of Sura II (Al-Baqara, The Cow), and was commented on by Hafid Ouardiri, co-founder and director of the Fondation pour l'Entre-connaissance (“Inter-Knowing Foundation”) in Geneva (http://www.fec-geneve.ch). In particular, he reminded us that, whatever situation we find ourselves in, we must be grateful to God, for "in every difficulty, there is felicity."
Next, the participants watched a video of the song "En fleurs, en pleurs" (“In Bloom Weeping”) by the Swiss author, composer and performer Naelise. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6TiWY9IODs)
The final reading brought a Unificationist perspective. Chantal Chételat Komagata, general secretary of UPF-Switzerland and coordinator of UPF-Europe, explained how affliction can bring us closer to God. Mrs. Komagata described the four great spheres of the heart (filial love, siblings’ love, conjugal love and parental love) that we experience in our lives, and related several of her personal experiences.
The meeting concluded with a question-and-answer session moderated by Laurent Ladouce, a UPF researcher, and a few remarks by Jean-François Moulinet, the director of Dialogue & Alliance, who announced that the next meeting, scheduled for September 17, would have the theme "Cultivating Forgiveness," in connection with International Forgiveness Day.