Today, Egyptian families once again woke to the brutal reality of sorrow and loss. The brilliant Egyptian sun rose in the eastern sky this morning; signaling the beginning of a new day. Sadly, many were met with the fog of grief this morning. A season of mourning will begin for loved ones — who are no more.

This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15 

Yesterday’s terrorist attack, and targeting of Coptic Christians in route to The Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, took the lives of at least 28 people, and another 25 were injured. Reportedly, all but one of those killed were members of the same family. ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has claimed responsibility for the attack. The crime of those aboard buses headed to the monastery? Christians. People of the Cross.

p05430xf

photo credit – BBC.com

For Egyptians, those slain are not strangers, — they are their fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, and children. The Middle East is rich in community and Christians understand the cost of following Christ. Violence and persecution are not unfamiliar realities. At the same time, — the pain is real, raw, and tangible.

The sands of Egypt are not unfamiliar to the blood of martyrs. 

Egypt has a rich heritage of martyrs dating back to 49 AD, when Mark, the Apostle of Jesus Christ brought the gospel to Egypt. Mark, being sent by Jesus, is credited with the founding of the Coptic Christian Church. He was the first Bishop of Alexandria, and is thought to be the founder of Christianity in Africa. History tells us that Mark eventually died a martyr’s death, after upsetting local pagan worshipers.

45336102_1945068875579618_9064810159343140864_n

Today, Egypt’s Christian minority continues to suffer persecution. The fires of suffering have served to fuel passion and love for Christ, — and their neighbors.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38

Tomorrow, November 4th is The International Day of Prayer For The Persecuted Church. Will you join with those from all over the world and lift your voice to God on behalf of our suffering family? Pray for protection, strength, and faithfulness.

When he ripped off the fifth seal, I saw the souls of those killed because they had held firm in their witness to the Word of God. They were gathered under the Altar, and cried out in loud prayers, “How long, Strong God, Holy and True? How long before you step in and avenge our murders?” Then each martyr was given a white robe and told to sit back and wait until the full number of martyrs was filled from among their servant companions and friends in the faith. – Revelations 6:10