If the video is authentic, the suicide bomber strolled into the church grounds. Reports say the guards were distracted, perhaps having breakfast together.
A church doorman followed him to inquire. Seconds later – the bomber likely ran though the near door leading to the women’s entrance – the roof and outside wall shook. Twenty-five people were dead.
There are many to pray for, God. Perhaps we can start with those least among them.
It is not ours to pray for the bomber, God. But the victims can if they are able and willing: Do not count this sin against him.
Is the doorman still alive? Comfort him in what he was unable to stop. Surely he is torn apart internally, weeping over those torn apart literally.
He did what he could, God. It was not enough. Maybe in hurrying the bomber he stopped greater carnage? Make him content in the not-knowing. Make him aware of your great love for him even so.
Comfort also the guards in what they were negligent to stop. How condemning is their guilt? How scarring is their shame? They failed, God, and the consequences were immense.
Hold them accountable before the law. But let them first weep in recognition of their crime. Heal them in it, and draw from them repentance.
And neither is this for us to pray, God. But the victims can if they are able and willing: Let them experience the forgiveness of those they wronged.
Whether it comes or not, make them aware of your great love for them also.
God, there are those who smirk, even rejoice in this atrocity. There are those who helped plan it and threaten more. Pierce the conscience of the former in powerful contrition. Pierce the conspiring of the latter in rapid arrest.
The wicked laugh and plot, God. Bring them to failure, then bring them to yourself. Make them aware of your great love for those they hate, a love that draws them in as well.
We mention the victims, and many have prayed for them already. Add these thoughts to their ledger, and forgive us for presuming an ideal upon them.
Comfort them, God. Strengthen them. Illumine them. Indwell them. And may they be for our sake a fulfillment of your best ideal.
May your mercy flow through them.
In this, may they know your great love. May they know you, love itself.
Have patience with them God, and with the many who are angry. Be with them as they rend their clothes in rage and mourning. In it rend their hearts.
Give them others to weep with. Give them healing in their trauma. Give them good memories of their loved ones, to eventually smile.
God, in this horror transform Egypt. Make her a place of welcome for all her people. Make her strong, and make her soft. Help her stand. Help her kneel.
Help her know of your great love. Help the murdered rest in peace.