Friday Prayers for Egypt: Fire and Rain

Flag Cross Quran

God,

Did you send the rain? If so, was it to discredit or diffuse?

The Azhar issued a call to peacefulness, supported by the churches, and attended by nearly all politicians. It was a good call, though it offered – rightly – no political solutions to the crisis.

Did this keep attendance at protests down? Or was it violence from the past week? Or was it simply the rain?

But it did not stop the fire. Clashes continued throughout the country, and at the presidential palace Molotov cocktails were thrown. Now, following the Azhar statements, the opposition appears on the defensive.

Do they deserve to be, God? Surely you have little patience for violence, and while they denied all initiation, they appeared to ride the wave.

But what of the others, God, whoever they are? Last week’s protests – the peaceful ones – were descended upon by teams of sexual harassers. A few demonstrators were killed by drive by shootings. And who knows if those who tossed the Molotovs belonged to the opposition or not.

Do you have patience for them? Are they the current victors, or the result of frustrated failure?

A vigilante-slash-terrorist group has emerged. Is the Black Bloc the source of all mayhem, as some assert? Are they a new boogeyman, to crack down upon? Are they just kids, responding to violence against revolutionaries? Are they a tool of the opposition, or worse?

God, calm Egypt. Settle things down. But can all pray this? Some are seething. Some feel betrayed. Some feel that peacefulness will only entrench power, power they feel has fallen into the wrong hands.

What should they pray, God? May they cry out to you, and may you deliver them. Give them courage, but not rage. Give them determination, but not stubbornness. Save them, first and foremost from themselves, especially if they are in the wrong.

And if they are in the wrong, give patience to those they have offended. May they punish rightly, but not crush. May the law hold.

For if they have harmed others, if they have damaged property – they are in the wrong, God. The fact they have likely been wronged makes no difference. Forgive them, God, and show them the right path, whatever it may be.

And give them something that will heal. For if they are in the right their vengeance will only lead to more destruction. You take no pleasure in death, God, even of the wicked.

Are there wicked present? Spare Egypt from this being true. If there is pride, bring humility. If there is arrogance, bring humbling. If there is manipulation, bring exposure.

But love covers over sins, God. Can love cure? Can love convict? Can love transform? Can love build a functional political system?

God, let your light embarrass all wrong. Yet somehow, have those struggling in the arena to come to a place where they can look their competition in the eye and find respect. Surely to do this you must change all, perhaps some more than others. May your creatures love, God, but may your justice be quick, and mercy be by its side.

If not, all will fall, God. Who will be left to guide Egypt?

May your fire not burn, God, but refine. May your rain not flood, God, but cleanse. May men of righteousness emerge.

May Egypt find peace, stability, and prosperity – and soon.

Amen.

 

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