Round the World in Protests

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Shut your eyes, spin the globe, and wait to see where it stops spinning. Chances are that it will stop at a country or place that is either at the end, middle or beginning of a protest. The ripple from Tunisia, to Egypt, to Bahrain, to Wisconsin, to Yemen, to Libya. Common people struggling with, and protesting against, decisions made by those who have seriously lost their way.

Focus now on Libya – a country unknown, and unwatched. Reports that have snuck their way past brutal government control say up to 500 dead, funeral processions fired on, and the grieving unable to voice their grief before another onslaught of violence on the crowd.

The NY Times reports that at least 50 Muslim Clerics issued a statement begging security forces not to use violence on protesters. The cry was passionate “We appeal to every Muslim, within the regime or assisting it in any way, to recognize that the killing of innocent human beings is forbidden by our Creator and by His beloved Prophet of Compassion (peace be upon him), ” the statement declared, according to Reuters. “Do NOT kill your brothers and sisters. STOP the massacre NOW! ” (NY Times Sunday February 20th)

In the midst of this, it is Sunday, and I am sitting comfortably with sunlight streaming in my window. In my faith tradition today is the day I’ll go and worship, the thought in the back of my mind “How can one part of the world feel so safe and calm and privileged, while another is in chaos?”  In the midst of my thoughts I am grateful to my friend Lois who sent me the transcript of a sermon preached in Arabic, last Sunday in Cairo by a woman,Elizabeth, who years ago was the flower girl in Lois’s wedding.  Several years apart, they both grew up in Jordan and Elizabeth had a unique place in Lois’s heart.

Elizabeth,gifted in Arabic, spoke to this Egyptian congregation on Hope with a passage from Jeremiah, a passage in the Christian Holy Book – the Bible. On this Sunday because I desperately need these words, and am sure some of my readers will love them as well, I’ll end with a quote that in one breath gives both challenge and hope.

“But our hope is Christian hope. That means that it costs something. We have to act on it. Christian hope involves our opinions, our decisions, our money, our relationships, our whole way of life. Christian hope is not just about us, but about everyone around us. Christian hope does not allow us to withdraw; it demands that we get involved. It is a hope for reconciliation and equality and justice, and its achievement is far more difficult than mere stability and security. But it is a hope that is guaranteed by the promises of God, the God who we believe nothing is too hard for.”

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