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The third in a series of Easter Week reflections from a Middle Eastern perspective by regular Ekklesia contributor Dr Harry Hagopian. These talks (see MP3 below) are being broadcast by Premier Christian Radio, and are reproduced with their cooperation.
Today, I pause to think of people right across the Middle East and North Africa region - men and women struggling to reclaim those fundamental freedoms we take for granted in our own native or adopted countries.
Let us pray for the peoples of this vast region, including the indigenous - largely Arab - Christians who live there. After all, whether we think of Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel or Palestine, those local Christian communities have been witnessing devoutly to their own faith for two millennia.
Like their Muslim neighbours, they too are suffering from the recent political upheavals. They ask for your prayers and solidarity as sisters and brothers in Christ. They too, we should remember this Easter, are part of the indivisible - at times invisible - Body of Christ. They might speak different languages and have different appearances and customs, but they proclaim the same Saviour and they too hope one day to enjoy the hope and justice of his Kingdom.
After all, St Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians (4:8-9) to seek spiritual stability in the Lord applies to us all. So he asks us, “brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”
© Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, ecumenist and EU political consultant. He also acts as a Middle East and inter-faith advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and as Middle East consultant to ACEP (Christians in Politics) in Paris, and he is a regular Ekklesia contributor (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/HarryHagopian). Formerly, he was Executive Secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Committee and Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches. He is consultant to the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (UK) and author of The Armenian Church in the Holy Land. Dr Hagopian’s own website is www.epektasis.net