On Palm Sunday, April 9 2017, twin suicide bombings took place in Egypt in two Coptic churches: St. George’s Church in Tanta, and Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria. At least 45 people were reported killed and 126 injured. ISIS claimed responsibility.
The night after these terrible attacks, a Coptic priest gave an incredible message to the killers:
* WE THANK YOU,
* WE LOVE YOU,
* WE PRAY FOR YOU.
Please watch and be moved by this display of love of Jesus for enemies. . . (Arabic with English subtitles)
Excerpts From: “A MESSAGE TO THOSE WHO KILL US”
by Fr. Boules George, St. Mark, Cairo, Egypt
(excerpts taken from Coptic Dad & Mom website – http://www.copticdadandmom.com/fr-boules-george/)
What will we say to them?
— WE THANK YOU —
The first thing we will say is “Thank you very, very much,” and you won’t believe us when we say it.
You know why we thank you? I’ll tell you. You won’t get it, but please believe us.
#1 – You gave us to die the same death as Christ – and this is the biggest honor we could have. Christ was crucified – and this is our faith. He died and was slaughtered – and this is our faith. You gave us, and you gave them to die.
#2 – We thank you because you shortened for us the journey. When someone is headed home to a particular city, he keeps looking at the time. “When will I get home? Are we there yet?” Can you imagine if in an instant he finds himself on a rocket ship straight to his destination? You shortened the journey! Thank you for shortening the journey.
#3 – We thank you because you gave to us to fulfill what Christ said to us: “Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). We were lambs; our only weapons: our faith and the church we pray in. I carry no weapon in my hand. We are so grateful that you helped us fulfill this saying of Christ.
#4 – Thank you for helping us achieve our goal. You’re helping us, and you don’t even know it. I know you don’t understand, but I’m trying to explain it to you. There are people we visited at home to encourage them to come to church –three, four, five times. Still they won’t come. What you’re doing here – you’re bringing to church the people who never come. Believe me – it’s bringing to church the people who never come!
People who were living in sin and away from God, after the bombing of St. Peter’s Chapel in the Cathedral, they were saying, “You never know when your number’s up. Better take more care (in our spiritual lives).” All these vistations we do – you’re so much more effective. You’re filling up our churches! You’re filling our churches!
Can you see why we thank you? We’re not being deceptive. A priest holding a microphone can’t lie to you! I say to you: THANK YOU. Thank you for all you have done for us without even noticing.
— WE LOVE YOU —
The second part of the message we want to send to you is that we love you. And this, unfortunately, you won’t understand at all. Maybe you won’t believe us when we say we’re grateful. But this – you won’t even understand. Why won’t you understand it? Because this too is a teaching of our Christ. I want to explain to you about our Christ. I want to tell you about how wonderful He is.
See what Christ said: If you love those who love you, you have no profit or reward with me. Even thugs and thieves love those who love them. Any gang loves its members. Even the drug dealers all like each other and take care of each other. Right? But I want to tell you that “if you love those who love you, what reward have you? But I say to you, love your enemies” (Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:46, 44).
We Christians don’t have enemies. We don’t have enemies; others make enmity with us. The Christian doesn’t make enemies because we are commanded to love everyone. And so, we love you because this is the teaching of our God – that I’m to love you – no matter what you do to me.
I love you very much.
— WE PRAY FOR YOU —
And I want to say one last thing to you: we’re praying for you. Because the One who told us to love you told us to “bless those who curse you. . .and PRAY for those who spitefully use you” (Matthew 5:44). So my instructions from my loving God make it my duty to pray for you.
Concluding remarks by the priest addressed to the people of his church:
So what do you think? How about we make a commitment to pray for them? Pray that they know the God of love? Pray that they experience the love of God? Because if they knew that God is love and experienced His love, they could not do these things – never, never, never.
They are a wretched lot. And because they are wretched, we must pray for them. But when someone loves God, he won’t know except love.
We need to pray for them so they can sleep at night. A person who has all this inside them, how can he sleep comfortably?
Can you imagine? We are being slaughtered and the King of Peace gives us peace to sleep. And the one who slaughters, all night he can’t sleep.
Pray for them. Take it as a command. Take it as a duty. Take it as the application of Christ’s instructions.
We must ALL pray for them today that God opens their eyes and open their hearts to His love.
Because if they knew Him, they could NEVER do this.
God comfort us. God give us understanding. God give us JOY because Christ’s promise is truth. He said, “I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy NO ONE will take from you” (John 16:22).
To our God be the glory now and forever.