The word ‘minorities’ has been spoken about often in Egypt. One primary example concerns the right of minorities to participate in drafting the constitution. But in order to establish the objective of this article, let me remind of the theory of value held by Karl Marx and Adam Smith. They state the real value of things lies in their scarcity, the extent to which they are needed, and the effort and time expended in the manufacturer’s proficiency.
Our value as a minority, then, is related to our fewness in number and to the one to whom we belong. Paul the Apostle wrote, “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are.”
The book of Proverbs tells us about the rock hyrax [similar to a rabbit]; despite its weak nature it makes its home in the rocks. God has wisely endowed it with wisdom and ability to carve its shelter in the mountains; safe from danger and the tyranny of the majority.
Why does God allow these troubles?
Let us learn from the grain of wheat, which Jesus describes in the Bible. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” The small and weak can become plenty and ample, if only it follows the divine path to fruition. Even if the only path to accomplish this fruitfulness is death, we are not better than our glorious Lord who died for the sake of his church. Therefore, he had the right to stand proudly in front of his father saying “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”
Let us learn from the stories of the jar and the bottle:
The Jar: In the book of Judges we read of how the torches carried by the Hebrew soldiers were not to appear until their covering jars were broken. Perhaps God wishes to teach us, through this lesson, to break the self so that our light will shine.
The Bottle: In the Gospel of Matthew a woman poured out an alabaster bottle of very expensive perfume on Jesus’ head. In the Gospel of Mark we are told she broke the bottle.
From the words poured and broke we recognize the sacrifice this woman made. Further, if not from her deed the perfume’s fragrance would have not diffused. Yet though she initiated, the fragrance had nothing to do with her. Its source was the perfume, from which we benefit if we are near.
From the above we conclude the following:
God uses the circumstances, darkness, and injustice in the world of the majority to shine forth the light of the minority and diffuse its fragrance. In this manner God produces fruit for his kingdom at large, so those who are weak should not despair but think instead of God’s purpose for their presence.
A message to the majority: All sects of our society have suffered over many years from the injustice of authorities. Therefore, let us remember that those who suffered from oppression and exclusion should feel the pain of others. Authority does not last for anyone; it is simply a game of musical chairs.
Similarly, there is a message to the minority: We should never forget the skillfulness of the hands which created us, nor the effort exerted for us. Since we were bought with a price, we must glorify God with our bodies. God’s light must shine through us to a dark world; the fragrance of Jesus must diffuse from us and our broken selves. These are a declaration of Jesus’ love, far better than building fences to hide behind.
We must stop being introverted. The fear of danger does not prevent danger. It is time to get out into the world and declare with all appreciation the one to whom we belong. Our world is disturbed and troubled, searching for the peace and comfort whose source is God. He sent us into the world and prayed for our protection. As the beneficiaries of all these promises, how can we live as if we do not know God?
Instead, let us be strong and courageous. As we learn from the book of Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
By: Deacon Usama Abdel Maseih