From my office a couple of blocks away, I heard the explosions. It was the finish of the Boston Marathon. Thousands were enjoying a good time on a beautiful day when the thunder of bombs suddenly stunned the crowd and marked a tragic end to the festive spirit of the day.
Most people, unless they’ve lived or served in a war zone, are not familiar with the sound of bombs. I’m one of them. But there was no mistaking that frightening sound. Instead of fear, though, it triggered in my memory a statement written by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science. “The pent-up elements of mortal mind need no terrible detonation to free them. Envy, rivalry, hate need no temporary indulgence that they be destroyed through suffering; they should be stifled from lack of air and freedom” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, p. 356).
Mortal mind is a term Christian Science gives to that state of thought that harbors the mental tyranny of fear and tries to conquer by intimidation. How can we stifle the reaction of fear and dismay that follows the senseless acts it breeds? There is an answer.
Days earlier, the Christian Science Church sent a warm greeting of welcome to the thousands who were scheduled to run the race as well as spectators coming to watch the excitement. The message was a modern translation of a scriptural passage from Isaiah. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (41:10, English Standard Version). Such a spiritual message was offered to lift spirits to the healing touch of the Christ.
Christ is God’s healing message to all mankind, a quiet message of the power of spiritual love to awaken courage in fearful hearts, to comfort the broken-hearted, give peace to the deeply troubled, and strength to the weary. Love is the light of the Christ that exposes the dark intent aiming to destroy the goodness of innocence. Actually, instead of making victims of the innocent, evil actions often awaken in individual lives the strength of innate brotherhood. It sparks a natural tendency among people to extend help and great goodness toward others. It highlights the love for one another that is forgetful of self and reaches out with ready compassion to help others in distress. It responds to sorrow with fearless kindness. It melts boundaries between cultures and simply embraces all with honor, respect, and speechless comfort.
We can run the race with courage and without fear. God speaks to every heart in the universal language of love saying, “Fear not, for I, the infinite, universal presence of healing love, am with you.” Even in the hardest of times, that’s a promise to give us hope.
Marian English is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher and is currently the Second Reader for The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.