Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Dear Friends in Linwood and Beyond,
Those of you who have received these midweek e-mails know that they come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and themes. Most of the time, however, I seek to be a little bit light-hearted, yet still point to something that is valuable for each of us to consider further.
This one is different. There is nothing light-hearted about it. The focus is on something that I find hard to understand – and have few answers to offer except for prayer.
This past week at least 38 Christian churches in Egypt have been burned and destroyed, at least 28 more have been attacked, and at least 6 deaths have been recorded (according to A Coptic Christian group, the Maspero Youth Movement).
The destruction of almost 40 Christian churches has been reported by the press, but only in passing as it describes the unrest in Egypt and raises concerns about how that will affect our relationship with Egypt in the future.
What do you think would happen if forty Muslim Mosques in this country (or in Europe) were destroyed by radical right wing Christians?
Muslims worldwide would be outraged – and understandable so.
Where is the Christian outrage in response to attacks upon our brothers and sisters in Christ and the desecration of their places of worship?
Christian leaders of all denominations would denounce and grieve violence done by those who claim to honor Christ and call for it to cease.
How many Muslim leaders worldwide have denounced the violence against Christians in Egypt? How many are calling for peace? If it has happened, it hasn’t been reported.
I am well aware that the situation in Egypt is complicated. Most situations are! There are more than religious issues at work. Egypt has been attempting something (being a democracy with a popularly elected government) that they have NEVER done at any point through thousands of years of history. Yet, in the midst of all the struggles and issues, Christians are being targeted!
The sad truth is that Egypt is only one of many places where Christians are facing incredible persecution today, something that we (in this country and in the West) often ignore.
I don’t have a solution to offer. Awareness, sensitivity, and prayer are certainly first steps.
There are three things that I know with certainty:
- The persecution of Christians around the world will get much worse before it gets better – and may not get better until Jesus returns.
- The cause of Christ will not be defeated by any earthly (or other worldly) enemy.
- Every Christian, including those who live in relative safety, must be united with our brothers and sisters whose wellbeing is threatened daily.
Please join with me in praying for our brothers and sisters in Egypt.
Yours in Christ,
Linwood Park Pastor