My friend and colleague, Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt, who prayed over me at my investiture, has today written to his people about these events. I ask that you join me in praying with them. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” ~John 12:23-25 In an effort to support their families, 21 Christian men from Egypt left their country to find work rebuilding Libya.
Over the last twenty four hours, the story of their kidnapping and martyrdom on the shores of North Africa has now made its way around the world. My friend and colleague, Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt, who prayed over me at my investiture, has today written to his people about these events. I ask that you to join me in praying with them: “…for peace in Libya, Egypt, and the entire Middle East.
Please pray the international community will act in wisdom, correctly and efficiently, and support Egypt in its war on terror. Please pray the churches of Egypt will comfort their sons and daughters, encouraging them to resist fear and hatred. And please pray for the perpetrators of this terrible crime, that God would be merciful to them and change their hearts.” I commend to you his whole letter which can be read here. It was also from the shores of North Africa that Tertullian recognized that, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
As we pray for the persecuted today, we do not need to go far to find a contemporary example of how God has built his Church through suffering. It is 38 years to the day that Archbishop Janani Luwum of Uganda was killed for his faith. His death was not broadcast to the world, and yet today he is being celebrated in Uganda as a model of faithfulness in the face of tyranny.
Please join me in mourning with the families of the 21 Egyptian Christians who gave their lives for Christ, and please join me in prayerful expectation for what the Lord may be preparing to do in North Africa.
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America