The Way to Remembering and Repentance this Lent

On this icy South Carolina morning, I weep. But this weeping feels more like silent sobs with big, fat wet tears that flood my glasses, because it’s too much.

Icy ISIS. It’s overwhelming. I can’t get it off my mind. My heart breaks.

I think of the 21 who gave their hearts and lost their heads. These 21 who are literally our Christian brothers, joined with us in baptismal communion. My brothers suffered. Their blood was shed because of their faith, and it brings me to my knees! I pray that this brings every Christian to our knees.

I weep because we as Christians/the church – myself included – have been hell-bent on becoming, studying, quantifying, and qualifying. We seek relevance from various ages and stages. We pick apart our Body deciding who’s worthy. We develop methodologies to woo believers. We quantify the benefits then qualify our less than perfect results. But we are all in this together. These 21 just lost their lives for the very thing we claim to be protecting when we disparage our own brothers and sisters and their churches because they aren’t doing it our way, the right way.

There is a way. There. Is. The. Way.

Do we remember? I am the way, the truth and the life.

Thank you, Jesus!

When we fear becoming irrelevant, is it because we’ve lost our way?

When we fear our own disharmony, is it because we’ve lost our way?

LORD, I pray we do lose our way, pick up the cross, and follow the way.

Your way.

Yahweh.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD.”—Isaiah 55:8

But we don’t follow all flailing with furrows of worry. I dry my tears and pledge not to forget. Not to let them die in vain.

Those 21 certainly didn’t flail – didn’t seem to flinch. But they did suffer and die. They were punished for carrying in their hearts and minds that Jesus is the way.

But the ones who caused that suffering do not know the One who is love. They only know fear. People call them evil, because they fight like the devil.

The devil knows he can’t go toe-to-toe with God; he’d be obliterated. So he puts aside the big guns and comes at us with the smaller but equally offensive weapons: Distraction. Discouragement. Depression. Discord. The terrorists fight like this, too – they chip away at our resolve little by little. They bomb. They behead. They demoralize and discourage. They use fear to cause us to forget. Have you forgotten how BIG our Lord is?

Remember this – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. — 1 John 4:18

Stand strong! Don’t fear. Keep praying for peace and reconciliation in this hostile world. And keep loving people in His name. May we stop breaking one another apart in the church but rather join together with ALL Christians for such a time as this!

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:19

Ann Voskamp summed it up well for me: “When the day is done and last of the lights are turned out and my head hits the pillow, all I can think of is the faces of The 21 and their surrendered heads, their heads carrying the full reality of the Cross — and how we’re on the brink of Lent and what would it mean to repent.”

As we enter this season of Lent, may we repent of our many, many sins. And let us remember those 21, others who have fallen along the way, those suffering for the way— and even (especially?) those who don’t know the way yet.

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.—2 Chronicles 7:14

Pray. Don’t lose hope.

My sincere condolences to the families of these precious 21:

  1. Milad Makeen Zaky
  2. Abanub Ayad Atiya
  3. Maged Solaiman Shehata
  4. Yusuf Shukry Yunan
  5. Kirollos Shokry Fawzy
  6. Bishoy Astafanus Kamel
  7. Somaily Astafanus Kamel
  8. Malak Ibrahim Sinweet
  9. Tawadros Yusuf Tawadros
  10. Girgis Milad Sinweet
  11. Mina Fayez Aziz
  12. Hany Abdelmesih Salib
  13. Bishoy Adel Khalaf
  14. Samuel Alham Wilson
  15. Worker from Awr village
  16. Ezat Bishri Naseef
  17. Loqa Nagaty
  18. Gaber Munir Adly
  19. Esam Badir Samir
  20. Malak Farag Abram
  21. Sameh Salah Faruq

 

Thanks to Twitter and @maitelsadany for the translations from @Anba_Ermia.

As if He knows that this might very well be a time we find it HARD to pray, this little post fell into my FB feed.

Peace be with you.

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