I sing the harmless, I sing the faithful
The American magazine Christianity Today reports that the 21 men will be declared as martyrs by the Coptic Orthodox Church.
I sing the harmless, I sing the faithful. There are some people who are reading this and wondering “What’s a Coptic?” First of all “Copt” is a proper noun, while “Coptic” is an adjective. The word “Copt” comes from the Greek word “Aigyptos” (hard g) which came from the word “Hikaptah,” (hard g’s and k’s sound alike, and get mixed up a lot) which is a word for Memphis, the first capital of ancient Egypt. The Coptic church traces its spiritual ancestry back to St. Mark, author of the gospel of Mark. There are some people who are reading this and wondering “What does Orthodox mean?” The word “Orthodox” (literally meaning “correct opinion”) is used to assert a claim to the beginning doctrines and practices of Christianity. The Orthodox church is the third largest group of Christians in the world, after Catholics and Protestants. There are between 300 and 400 million Orthodox Christians scattered over many countries, including Egypt.
I sing the harmless, I sing the faithful. Why are they being declared as martyrs? Because ISIS decided it would be a good thing to include the audio in their beheading video. The Christian men could be heard chanting the world “Lord Jesus Christ.”
I sing the harmless, I sing the faithful. Two of the martyrs were two brothers, Bishoy Kamel and Samuel Kamel. Beshir Kamel, brother of Bishoy and Samuel, called into a program on a Christian satellite channel, and put the deaths of his brothers into a different context. This is the part that gets me:
Invited to pray for his brothers’ killers, Beshir prayed: “Dear God, please open their eyes to be saved and to quit their ignorance and the wrong teachings they were taught.”
I sing the harmless, I sing the faithful. The Coptic Egyptian Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California and Hawaii had Tony Rezk make an icon of the the 21 Coptic Egyptian Men who were beheaded by the hands of the the ISIS in Libya last week. Jesus is standing to receive the martyrs, just as the first martyr Stephen saw Jesus standing in the book of Acts. The men wear red sashes to signify the blood that would soon stain their orange jumpsuits. The angels give crowns to the martyrs.
I sing the harmless, I sing the faithful. I have been pondering the words “Do no harm, will no harm” given by Marshall Vian Summers in January of this year. What should I think and do about those who do harm? I pray that Beshir Kamel’s prayer will be my prayer. I pray that my words and my attention and my singing and my celebration will be given to the harmless and the faithful. Bishoy and Samuel Kamel did no harm. Beshir Kamel did no harm. Tony Rezk did no harm. I sing the harmless, I sing the faithful.
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