A video released today shows the death of 30 Ethiopian Christians at the hands of ISIS operatives. I grieve with my brothers and sisters in Christ of the Ethiopian church that I visited last year. Combined with the attacks on Ethiopians in South Africa, this has been an unbearable week for our friends.
Jimmy Tesfakiros, who took us through the southern part of the Omo valley in Ethiopia, with whom I emailed just this week, my heart goes out to you. Johannes Wassie, who guides our people with Water to Thrive and Acts of Mercy, my love and prayers for you. To my brave and vocal friend Sabah, pictured below, who spoke her mind, my prayers. To my friends in the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, the largest Lutheran Church body in Africa, your 23 synods, 2,061 pastors, 2,728 evangelists, millions of faithful followers of Christ, Bishop Luchiesee of the Central Gibe Synod in Ambo, with whom I broke bread, and to all Ethiopians, we grieve with you. This week we are all Ethiopians.
Like the execution of the Coptic Christians earlier this year, we must condemn in the strongest possible terms this senseless violence. We must also call upon Muslims everywhere to denounce terrorists who use Islam as their cover. We must unite to end the bloodshed. We grieve also with Muslims in the Middle East who have been the greatest victims. Only 12% of Al Qaida victims are Westerners. The vast majority are Muslims. The Jordanian pilot burned alive was Muslim. Last year ISIS executed over 4,000 Muslims. We condemn terrorists everywhere. We must call upon our government to focus efforts on this evil.
But today, we pray for the families of the 30 Ethiopian Christians, for all who are grieving, and for all victims of hatred and violence. This week we are Ethiopians.
If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.
—1 Corinthians 12:26
Yohannes, 2nd from the left.
Dick Moeller (Water to Thrive) and Bishop Luchiesee (right)
The community together, removing rocks from a field to build a fence around the new well. Young and old join in.
April 19, 2015 at 9:11 pm
Thank you for this post…traveled there in 2004 with ELCA youth leaders (including Rosella White) and left a piece of my heart there. Yes, we are Ethiopians, as we pray for mercy and consolation.
April 22, 2015 at 9:22 pm
My heart goes out to their family.
They are heros and faithful Christ followers. Their soul is with the lord Jesus in heaven. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. Matthew 16:25.
April 23, 2015 at 1:59 pm
Thanks for your thoughtful prayers regarding Ethiopia. My heart aches for the families and congregations in Ethiopia.
You thoughts reminded me of a talk I heard last month at the New Covenant Presbytery meeting 3/21/15. Dr. Rodger Nishioka of Columbia Theological Seminary spoke about how we need to get over being uncomfortable greeting strangers/visitors in church–regardless of that piece from Second Hesitations where Jesus said, “I came that you might be comfortable.” (He sprinkled a wonderful amount of humor into his very pointed talk!) He brought up that because of the violence of ISIS, there are as many Syrians living outside of the geographical boundaries of Syria as those inside. Sure, ISIS is preying on Muslims who don’t believe as they do, but they are also killing Christians. People there are risking their lives by claiming Jesus as their Lord and Savior in places like Syria, so perhaps we need to get over being a little uncomfortable passing the peace of Christ to the stranger sitting next to us in church.
BTW, since he’s a professor of Christian Education, afterwards, I mentioned the exciting ELCA Gulf Coast Synod LEAD program and the 10 Minute Toolbox for training stronger lay leadership and he was VERY excited about this. He jotted down a note and said he was going to look into it.
P.S. I have an Egyptian sister-in-law who is daughter and grand-daughter of Protestant Christian ministers (not Coptic) in Egypt. I have traveled in Cairo, Luxor and the Sinai (before the revolution) and have a prepared slide show and talk if you even have a need for such on the Christian history and presence in Egypt. Sylvia (now also a U.S. citizen) and my brother Karl are still living in Cairo. She works with US AID (Aid for International Development) and he teaches at the American University in Cairo.