I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t pay enough attention to what is going on in the world around me. Typically, my eyes are fixed on a pair of computer screens: coding a problem for class on one, a half-composed e-mail sitting open on the other. Or I’m wrapped up in a textbook, trying to stay awake, note cards scattered around me, studying for that next exam. I’m an MD/PhD student, so perhaps I have an excuse. But then again, maybe I don’t.
I do what I can to catch glimpses of the reality beyond my routine. Which, at best, means grabbing my phone during a free minute or a boring lecture to skim a series of RSS feeds, tweets, and headlines. This week, one tweet in particular caught my eye and caused me to sit back for a moment to reflect.
At the church where I grew up, there were a few older gentleman who consistently reminded us to be praying for our troops. It gave me the impression that these fellas sat around all day with nothing else to do, so they made a hobby of following the men and women serving our country and risking their lives outside the States, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I think that they were actually on to something. There are bigger things going on in the world – things that, at the very least, deserve our prayerful attention.
Amidst the unrest in Egypt, a picture was tweeted across the globe this week, often with an #interfaith hash tag, showing Christians joining arms to protect Muslims during prayer. This almost seemed to reciprocate the human shield formed around a Coptic Christmas mass just a few weeks ago by Egyptian Muslims as a protest against Islamic militants.
As I paused for another “what would Jesus do?” reflection, I began to realize what this act represented. In a society where order is crumbling to the ground and protests are escalating to violence, what is more profound than a bold reminder that many Egyptians dream of a country where people of diverse backgrounds work together to preserve freedom?
As we’ve started to build Faith Line Protestants over the past few weeks, one theme has remained persistent in my thoughts: love your neighbor. To me, defending another’s freedom to practice their faith – even when that faith is not your own – is an act of love. As a citizen of a nation built on ideas like religious freedom, I realize the significance of this notion which, depicted in the picture above, inspires me as I pray for safety and peace in Egypt during the days ahead.
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