As Christmas comes to Egypt, Islamists rise to power. The military council stands prominently in the background of both.
What do you wish for Egyptian Christians, God? They are no mere minority, but have little independent power. They are dissolved into every community as part and parcel of the Egyptian fabric. Yet they are different, and sometimes subject to the approbation of ‘other’.
They all will say their security resides in you. As such, God, honor them in this. May their faith be rewarded as political winds vacillate.
But where should their earthly security reside? Is it with the ruling power? Is it with the Islamists? Is it with a democratic system? Is it aloof from all of these? Give Christians wisdom, God, to choose friends wisely during these tumultuous days. Yet beyond gaining friends, cause them to be servants to all, yet servile to none. Give them a sense of purpose to utilize the fruits of their faith on behalf of the nation, bringing to bear what might be missed by others. May their salt savor and their light shine.
Give such wisdom and purpose to Islamists as well, God. You have blessed them with favor from the majority of the people; may they be grateful and humble. Their challenges are many. Help them to draft a constitution of consensus. Help them to navigate relations with the military. Give them the skill of governance, God, for the good of the nation.
Meanwhile, God, the pope has invited both to Christmas. Many Copts are angry, finding both army and Islamists to be against their community. If true, do Jesus’ words demand he invite them? Do Jesus’ words allow for church-state politics? Are Jesus’ words simple rhetoric?
Bless Pope Shenouda, God. Help him to care for his flock, and care for his nation. Sanctify his prayers for the rulers of state, and help him to lead all Christians in this. Guide the church through these days, both the institution and the people, the body of Jesus.
May they find peace and kinship with the community of Muhammad. May all submit to one another in love and trust. Grant both a government in which they take rest, and take part.
Keep Christmas safe tonight God.