Remember our solidarity with Middle East Christians
This text and podcast is the fifth and final in a series of reflective radio talks for Easter from Harry Hagopian, focusing on the presence, life and witness of the often-forgotten historic Christian communities across the Middle East. Today, he summarises the need for solidarity with the 13 million indigenous Christians there.
Listen to this Premier Christian Radio broadcast* here on the Ekklesia web site: www.ekklesia.co.uk/harryhagopian5.mp3
Read the full text:
For the past four days, my thoughts have focused (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/HarryHagopian) on the roughly 13 million native Christians who form the large majority of men and women in the Middle East. In many ways, they are ‘hidden people’, rarely ever mentioned on the news or in our broadsheets.
In those four days, I also underlined the life, faith and witness of those Christians who are a vital part of the Christian fellowship, members of the Universal Church, joined to us in the Body of Christ.
Like us, they too struggle to be faithful believers in the Triune God. They look in hope towards the Risen Christ and honour the role and witness of his mother Mary. And they pray for peace, justice, employment and joy for their families and communities.
Local Middle East Christians often ask for the prayers, solidarity and support of their sisters and brothers in the West.
Luke’s Gospel in Chapter 19 reminds us that Jesus wept tears over Jerusalem [Lk 19:41-42] - and what a sobering thought that is for us today!
But may I also invite you to think of those Christian communities of the Middle East as your elder brothers and sisters, practising their faith under trying circumstances for almost two thousand years, to reach out to them and take them into your hearts and hearths?
Surely, we are all born in the image and likeness of God - even when we do not outwardly look like each other or when our experience and understanding are so different. After all, Christ’s Body is gloriously diverse, but it always remains one.
(c) Harry Hagopian is a former executive secretary for the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and now an ecumenical, legal and political consultant for the Armenian Orthodox Church, as well as an independent inter-faith adviser for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. He contributes regularly to Ekklesia.
* These talks (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/HarryHagopian) are reproduced and podcasted by Ekklesia with the kind agreement of Premier Christian Radio (http://www.premier.org.uk/). Each one will be broadcast twice a day between 5-9 April 2010. Our thanks to Ian Turner and PCR for making them available.
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