I’ve not blogged much this week — lots going on at work — but one news story keeps rolling in my mind: the beheading of twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christians fishermen by ISIL militants in Libya. They were targeted because they were Christian, in the context of wider persecution of Copts. That puts them among the Christian martyrs, and so, as a Christian, makes them a special focus for prayer and concern. But what prayers shall we say over the bloody water, or with those who wail in grief? Sometimes borrowed words say what the soul means.
If you have a copy of Hymns of the Spirit, join me in praying the commemorations in the shorter communion service, page 151. It is described as “composite, based on Greek Liturgy.” But it seems dependent on Frederic Henry Hedge’s liturgy, which was used by Unitarians, Universalists and others, and that was particularly drawn from the Liturgy of St. James, one of the ancient liturgies of the church. But that is clearly tied to the sacrament in a way the composite prayer isn’t. (If you don’t have a Hymns of the Spirit, much of the same text can be found here, starting “we remember the fathers….”)
It seems fitting to use an old prayer that our forebears prayed and that has echoes with prayer the Copts may still use, to remember those poor slain men and to build bonds of spiritual communion and solidarity.