An open letter from an Egyptian Christian leader:
Tonight I will take my family to church for the New Year's Eve service to celebrate God's goodness and faithfulness that He showed us throughout 2013, and submit 2014 to His loving care. Since we were young children, we are used to wearing our newest and best clothes and going to church for that special evening when we join the body of Christ in worship and prayer, committing ourselves to continue to follow Jesus throughout the New Year. Spending the very first moments of the New Year shortly after midnight, in worship and thanksgiving to the Lord, has always meant a lot to me and my wife as we join hands and united in prayers for our family, our children, our church and our dreams.
However, the atmosphere in Egypt today is going to be different for Christians here from any other previous years. This is because we will go to church with a lot of hesitation and uncertainty about what could happen to us. Will our church be one of those attacked by the angry, violent supporters of former president Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood? In view of the widespread news about possible attacks on churches and Christians, many Christians have decided to stay home this year. Other churches have decided to push up their New Year's Eve services a few hours.
However, as a family, we just can't stay at home that night without joining our brothers and sisters honoring God together for all his gracious provision of joy and peace for us, even in the midst of unrest and uncertainty. We're going to church not in an act of bravery, but overwhelmed by all the goodness that God has shown to us Christians, even in the middle of the hardships our country is going through and with all the sets of challenges that we take into 2014. We're going to church to assure one another that God has not left us. He is not busy somewhere else away from us.
We will go to church tonight in spite of the threats, grateful to God for the past and trusting Him with the future. We Christians of Egypt are calling for our worldwide Christian brothers and sisters to stand with us in prayers for God's protection on our church services, gatherings and celebrations over the New Year's Eve.
Open Doors, USA