A Fijian Bible Study
A new book of weekly Bible Studies in Fijian based on the Revised Common Lectionary by Rev Dr Iliesa Jovili Meo
May 10, 2023
A new publication containing detailed Bible Studies for the weekly Lectionary readings written in Fijian has been launched this week. The text is the work of respected Uniting Church Fijian minister and theologian Rev Dr Iliesa Jovili Meo who for many years produced the weekly Bible Studies to support Fijian speakers in deepening their faith through engagement with scripture.
“The secret is to pause for a few minutes each day and open our hearts and minds to reading and meditating on the Words of God,” says Rev Dr Jovili Meo
The 324-page book includes advice on how to study the Bible, an introduction to the books of the Bible and a 4-page reflection for each week of the Lectionary for Year A. It includes forewords from President of the Methodist Church in Fiji, Rev Ili Vunisuwai, Chair of the Fijian National Conference, Jone Lotu, and President of the Uniting Church, Rev Sharon Hollis. Editions of the book for Year B and C are to come.
Reflecting on this work over many years, Rev Dr Meo shared how he first began compiling the Bible Studies in 2002 to support Fijians worshipping in Chadstone, Melbourne. His aim was to both support people to understand the Christian faith in Fijian and to help maintain the Fijian ethos, language, culture and identity amidst other prevailing and dominant cultures.
His work soon became much valued for Fijians in Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world.
“No longer do we sit under the coconut trees and enjoy the sea breeze but we are in a new environment,” reflects Rev Dr Meo. “The fumes of vehicles and the busy lives dictated by the business of the day. The secret is to pause for a few minutes each day and open our hearts and minds to reading and meditating on the Words of God.”
“Readings are arranged so that a reader or meditator by following the events of the Christian year, completes the whole Bible each year. There are many resources in the English language and one can use these as complementary readings.”
“This attempt to produce lectionary readings in Fijian has taken years to put together and it is my prayer that they are spiritual food for you and your friends.”
A joyful celebration service held at Canterbury Uniting Church by the Fiji Parish launched the book on Sunday 7 May, which included worship, the launch and performances from a number of choirs representing different congregations and groups within the Parish.
Associate General Secretary Rev Lindsay Cullen attended and preached at the service representing the Assembly. Others who attended included Rev Kelepi Vaka from the Central Coast accompanying his Fijian Congregation and Rev Sam Sadrata of Knox College. Rev Dr Meo was represented by his wife Lisa Meo and daughter Litea.
In her foreword for the book, Rev Sharon Hollis writes, “We are extremely grateful to Rev Dr Meo for his significant contribution to our Fijian communities and to all who helped make this project a reality, including Laisiasa Seduadua and the members of Beverley Hills Congregation of the Fiji Parish and Litea Meo-Sewabu, Rev Dr Meo’s daughter, who contributed to the editing and production.”
“It is my prayer that all who read and engage with this Fijian Bible Study may find their faith deepened and strengthened and be inspired to bear witness to the love of Christ. I also pray that it may inspire others to share their scholarship and wisdom in languages other than English for the enrichment of the whole.”
To find out more and to purchase copies of the book, contact Laisiasa Seduadua on email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured above (clockwise): Rev Dr Jovili Meo and his wife Lisa Meo with the published book, Laisiasa Seduadua presenting the book, a copy of the book on display, members gathered for the launch, Assembly Associate General Secretary Rev Lindsay Cullen preaching at the launch, and Litea and Lisa Meo with Laisiasa.
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