Thursday, May 11, 2006
Sites of the Holy Family in Egypt falling into disrepair
Those who read this blog know that I have a very personal devotion to the Holy Family. This article touched me deeply. (link)
The article focuses on what a boom to the Egyptian economy these sites would be if they were fixed. I understand that. And I understand that if they get fixed, this is likely to be the reason. But at the very basic level they are falling into disrepair because the Copts are not allowed to build churches or fix existing ones. Fixing them for the stated reasons will not fix the reasons that have caused this.
It is the lack of religious freedom that is doing this. These sites, places so very precious to all Christian faiths, are being disrespected. There is a dull ache when I think of this.
But these sites, no matter how they are falling away. No matter what condition they are currently in, are precious for reasons that go far beyond the state of a building.
It is not the state, but the fact that they are, that makes them precious.
Pilgrims come, as the Holy Family did, and they do not have luxury. Neither did the Savior.
Pilgrims come, as the Holy Family did, and they do not have basic necessities. Neither did the Savior.
It is not that these sites are in such a condition that brings tears, but that the Coptic people and the Christians who come are not safe.
In Egypt, the shield of our Lord that protected the infant Christ and His family, those who love Him are not safe.
This is reflected in the state of the buildings. It is not the disrepair of these great and holy places that is painful, but the disrepair of love. The article states:
“These locations can be very appealing to people, but the Ministry of Tourism has to launch a heavy publicity campaign to raise more awareness,” says Yasser Taha, head of public relations at Nile Egypt Melody travel agency. Concerned that, beyond the physical discomforts, the lack of development might actually cause danger to clients, he simply says, “We cannot risk losing our guests.”
What you can not do is let the land that was a shelter for Christ, be a grave for His people.
What you can not do is let the land whose history speaks to the world of greatness, be devoid of freedom.
What you can not do is let the land that calls to it's dispersed children like a mother, be a place they fear to go.
This is what you can not do.
Movies and promotion are all well and good. The creation of jobs to improve the state of people's lives is excellent, but it is all a coat of paint on a faulty structure if the Copts are not allowed to worship freely.
Posted by DavidNic at 10:00 AM