Friday Prayers for Egypt: Beheadings

Flag Cross QuranGod,

After a few days the spirit risks becoming calloused. One more tragedy amid a litany of offense. But the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya might strike a nerve that runs deeper. It might awaken a nation to danger, or deaden further a decayed humanity.

For some, God, are blaming the victim. There is talk that the church can only expect such treatment after its support for Morsi’s removal. There is talk that all is faked to further this conspiracy and extend it to Libya.

But there is also action. Two would-be bombers blew themselves up accidentally in the Upper Egyptian city where the victims are from.

God, let not those frustrated with Morsi’s removal descend into hatred and violence. Let them not draw sectarian readings and exact revenge on the innocent. Let not their seeking of justice lead to embrace of chaos. In their struggle, God, save their humanity.

For many are expressing their humanity anew. Government and Muslims alike have poured out sympathy on their Coptic fellow-citizens. A new church will be built in the Upper Egyptian city where the victims are from.

God, let not this moment pass without touching permanently the Egyptian soul. Let not the forgiving example of the Christian families be lost in the outrage against their killers. Let not a desire for justice lump all pro-Morsi together. In their struggle, God, deepen their humanity.

For callousness is still quite possible. So-called Islamic State partisans have been beheading tribesmen in the Sinai for months. May directed targeting of Christians not become as normal. That atrocity is normal at all is a stain on all humanity.

But what should a spirit do to avoid callousness? Do strikes on Libya and a call for international intervention signal a spirit that is hardening? Or is it rather a conscience awakening? Guide Egypt and the world with wisdom to meet this threat.

Whatever the solution, God, limit the blood. Speak alike to presidents and jihadists, that peace, reconciliation, and justice might somehow meet between them.

God, the offenses multiply daily among Egyptians of every persuasion. In their desire to see the world put right, help them hold tenaciously to the humanity of the other. May they forgive, that they be forgiven.

It may be the only way to save their own souls, and Egypt alongside. Be merciful, God, be merciful.

Amen.

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