This past Tuesday night at Eastbrook Church, we gathered as usual for prayer at 7pm. However, along with a wonderful commissioning for a dear couple from our fellowship, we set aside time to pray for Egypt and particularly for the church there.
There is much confusion within the country related to the political situation. The election of Mohamed Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood has sent shivers of excitement and fear throughout the country. Regardless of who was elected president there are many who see the military as the real power-holders in the country. Surrounding countries have questions about what this transition means for the region as whole.
At the same time, there are deep concerns on the part Christians, whether Coptic or evangelical, over the implications of having a Muslim Brotherhood leader as Egypt’s new president. A recent article from Christianity Today featured penetrating comments from both evangelical and Coptic leaders. Here is an excerpt:
Fawzi Khalil, a pastor at Kasr El Dobara Evangelical Church near Tahrir Square, admits the temptation of many to flee abroad but seeks to give a more biblical perspective.
“Our church is divided,” he said. “Many already have a visa or will apply for one soon. But many others will stay because they have a vision from God that this is their land.”
Kasr El Dobara, the largest Protestant church in the Middle East, is encouraging its people to stay. “We expect a revival, and sometimes you have to go through the darkness before you can see the light,” said Khalil. “We encourage people not to have a phobia of the Brotherhood. They are human and cannot rule a large country like ours without consensus. We must show them we are good citizens and will continue to be—fighting for our rights, but trusting in God.”
Still, he is ill at ease. “As Morsy won, I will bow my knees to God and pray more,” he said. “Will he have the experience necessary to rule Egypt, or are we entering a dangerous experiment?”
Bishop Thomas, a member of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, offers the analogy of a bird that recently began to build a nest in his church. “I gathered our men and we all began to clap in unison,” he said. “The sound disoriented the bird and as it tried to fly, it froze in fear and fell to the ground. We carried it outside, and then it flew away.
“We must not be afraid,” he said. “For fear is not of faith.”
We must stand with our brothers and sisters in Egypt in prayer. As you read and reflect on this situation, please share your prayers for Egypt and for the church in Egypt in the comments section below.