Forgiveness in Beirut

When the media report a tragedy that has happened somewhere across the world, far from us, or even in a town nearby, we may yearn to help those involved, but we may also at times feel helpless. A few years ago Margaret Powell, a Christian Scientist, found herself propelled from being an "ordinary person" into the midst of a world news event. And what she learned of the power of prayer and of forgiveness offers a concrete answer to that question "What can I do?" The following is based on a talk she gave to the North Pomfret Congregational Church in Pomfret, Vermont. The church was presenting a series of sermons on forgiveness, and because of her experience the minister invited her to speak.

It was an ordinary day for ordinary people in Pennsylvania, April 18, 1983. It was Monday morning. My husband, Dick, went off to the office, and our son went to his class. But shortly after he left he came back and said, "Mom, the American Embassy in Beirut has been bombed. I just heard it on the radio. You might want to listen to the news."

So I turned on the television, and I watched with horror as the news explained that the American Embassy had indeed been blown up, and the confusion and reports were still coming in. My cousin, who is like a sister, and her husband had been living in Beirut. Bill was with the Agency for International Development with the State Department, and Mary Lee was teaching at the American University in Beirut.

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Liberation from tyranny
January 20, 1986

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