By Thomas Kemper, General Secretary, United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries
Please join me in prayer for our brothers in sisters in Egypt and throughout the region as violence and unrest has killed hundreds of people and injured countless others.
In the present situation, I am reminded of what our missionary, Alex Awad, who serves in Bethlehem once said:
- First, find out what is happening. I am not asking you to be an expert on each situation, but generally be aware of what is going on. Hear the cry of the masses. Allow your heart to feel some of their suffering.
- Second, find out your government’s policies and call on your government to do justice for the masses.
- Next, pray for the nations, including your own nation.
- Finally, ask the question: “Lord, is there anything that I can do?”
As Christians, seeing images of churches burned to the ground is very painful. But we are reminded that the church is more than a building – that we, as the body of Christ, are the church. Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches said, “We are thankful to see that the churches of Egypt, even in this situation, are witnesses of God’s peace on earth. Throughout history they have offered up many sacrifices and martyrs for their beloved country.”
Our partner Sat-7 reports that The Coptic Orthodox Pope, HH Tawadrous II said, “this had been expected and, as Egyptians and Christians, we are considering our church buildings as a sacrifice to be made for our beloved Egypt”.
We join the World Council of Churches in recognizing that “protection of all human life and sacred sites is a common responsibility of both Christians and Muslims.”
We are concerned for the lives and safety of the Coptic community, and all those affected by violence in the region. Please pray for a just peace and reconciliation in Egypt.