Friday Prayers for Egypt: Maspero

God,

So much has gone wrong. Over twenty are dead, over three hundred are injured, and hard questions are being put to the nation. The confirmed dead are almost if not all Christians, the result of a peaceful protest morphing somehow into a bloody confrontation. Some dead are also military, as the army announces but declines to make public the details. The army states its men were not armed with live ammunition; many of those dead are of gunshot wounds. The others were crushed by speeding, swerving military vehicles, which the army neither confirms nor denies, but notes the panic of their men as they were under attack. The army had never killed its own people, and such, was a hero of the revolution. This sanctity is now under question.

The army maintains its innocence and states it was under fire itself, either from armed Coptic revolutionaries or infiltrators in their midst. Initial media put heavy blame on the Copts, even inviting citizens to descend to defend the army. Many did, and clashes continued long into the night. Now, some are claiming the army staged the incident and plays a sectarian card. Others see the old Mubarak regime at work, and some wonder about Coptic belligerence. It is a horrible time in Egypt.

God, you are at your best in redeeming the horrible. Reveal yourself and heal these wounds. Bring comfort to the families of those lost; have mercy on those who killed them. May justice be discovered; may perpetrators be brought to light. Help Egypt to emerge from this tragedy a stronger nation, more unified, more focused.

May the Muslims of Egypt rush to the aid of the Copts, even should investigations prove some had a hand in wrongdoing. May they embrace them as fellow citizens, neighbors, friends – at the least as yet unknown human beings. May events lead to a flowering of relations, realizing the power and necessity of national unity. May Muslims prove the worth of their religion.

May the Christians of Egypt bear events with patience. May they hurt deeply, and from their depths, forgive. May they respond positively, engaging society and Muslims with all their strengths. May they embrace Egypt, and dedicate themselves to her rebuilding. May they pray for the leaders of their nation, even as some doubt the official narrative. May they find their errors, wherever they exist. May they love freely and creatively. May Christians prove the worth of their religion.

God, help Egypt to mourn. Give her citizens time to breathe, time to recover, time to think, time to heal, and time to recommit to the national cause. Help Egypt remember and recall its energy and vibrancy from the revolution. May these days pass. From such trials, may Egypt humble herself. God, from here, as you have promised, raise her up.

God, foil all who wish Egypt to serve their particular interests. Yet bless them, God. Bless them as their selfishness leads to bloodshed. Bless them as they risk tearing a nation at its seams. Bless them as they make families weep. Bless them as they lead others to sin. Bless them, God; it is the only recourse to ask for, that leads to other than more violence and hatred.

Who is doing this, God? Stop them. Stop them. Stop them. Forgive them.

Amen.

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