The Church in Egypt:faithful living in troubled times
In the complex political situation in Egypt, there are often two things happening at the same, and they can appear to be totally conflicting. The untold story of the breaking up of the camps protesting the ouster of President Morsi is the devastation that has been wreaked across the government and Christian communities. In what has been seen as highly organised attacks, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have attacked, burned and destroyed churches across the country. In the Minya region alone, 12 churches have been totally destroyed. The Bible Society of Egypt has seen a number of its bookshops also completely destroyed.
There is a fragility to society as it divides over acceptance of the other. At the same time as these events have been occurring, Muslims and Christians have been reaching out to each other. There are dramatic pictures of Muslims joining hands to encircle a church in order to protect it and its people in worship. There are pictures of Muslims, having taken permission from the church, offering their prayers inside a church, so that they can continue to provide protection against the mobs who were attacking.
Pope Tawadros, the leader of the Coptic Orthodox church, made this daring statement in the immediate aftermath of the closure of the protest camps, when the church was under most attack: “If you burn the churches we will pray with our brothers in the mosques, and if you burn the mosques, Muslims will pray with us in the church, and if you burn them both, we’re all going to pray together in the streets protecting each other”.
Leaders of the Church have a significant role to place in reconciliation in this broken nation. Cry out to God for revelations of Himself in Egypt that will bring hope and reconciliation. Pray for leaders of the Church to be ministers of reconciliation in society and politics. Pray for grace and courage for those who are suffering in these present events.