The following guest post is written by Youssef Iskander - a high school student living just outside Toronto, Canada. Despite being young in age, Youssef presents a profound viewpoint on the recent bombing that took place at a Coptic church in Cairo. Very wise for an 11th grader! If you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
This past Sunday, multiple people were killed as part of an attack on the St. Peter Church in St. Mark's Cathedral in Egypt. I don't know exact number of casualties as many are still in hospitals and their life still at risk.
Why is this relevant to us?
No, it's not because I'm feeling bad for the souls who departed. Not at all. They're martyrs who have joined the "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1) that are the saints and those in paradise. Cliches aside, they're in a better place. My heart goes to the families and my prayers will be with them.
However, I'm still troubled. I'm troubled about the state of those on earth now, not those who have departed. I'm troubled for myself. After such events happen to others, we reflect on our own situation. If we were to die, where would we end up?
Our Coptic church incorporates an abundance of readings throughout the year that warn us of the end of the days. At the time of Jesus Himself, we were told the Kingdom of God is near. 2000 years later, we are, for the most part, not affected by those warnings.
Why? Because if it was said to be close 2000 years ago, what are the chances of the end being in my lifetime?
The thing is, a different mindset must be adopted. We shouldn't be concerned about His coming, but our going. Although His second coming might not be in our lifetime, ALL of our lives here on earth will end… and what will we say then?
Moments like these put things into perspective. Time is running out for all of us. We have no idea when our lives will end. Imagine going to a Sunday Liturgy and that's it. Life is over. Your chance is gone.
St Anthony the Great taught us this lesson years ago. He motivated himself by asking himself that if today were his last, how would he want to spend it?
When will we wake up and realize the end is near? Maybe not the world's, but ours! We can't predict when our life is ending but we take the risk of losing eternal life for the material things of this world.
We are reminded during every Liturgy of the worthlessness of this world when we read:
"Do not love the world or the things of the world. The world is passing away and all its lust, but he whodoes the will of God abides forever Amen."
The world is passing away! Standing before God on Judgement Day we won't be able to say we had this problem or that. The world is passing away. The world and the problem will both be gone to dust and there will be no excuse while standing before God's throne.
"If life were everlasting and this world ever existing, you would have an excuse O my soul. But if your wicked deeds and ugly evils were exposed before the Just Judge, what answer would you give while you are lying on the bed of sins, negligent in disciplining the flesh?” - Litanies of the Twelfth Hour
Where is our excuse? If there is a day to act it is TODAY! If there is a time to act it is NOW!
Judgment will come when our time is up, not the world's. Since we can't guarantee when that moment will be, we shouldn't risk something as important as our eternal life and ignore the warnings around us.