Each report of a terrorist attack triggers a question within me: “What can we as world citizens possibly do to protect ourselves?” And it is not just terrorist attacks that appear to threaten some segment of the human family these days. It is also extreme weather conditions, as well as the understandable fleeing of huge numbers of refugees from inhumane and unlivable conditions in their own country.
I have sometimes found that my alertness and attention to incidents of this kind are inversely proportional to the distance between where they are taking place and my own home. The greater the distance, the less my attention to them is. On the other hand, if they are in my own country, my interest and care are greatly heightened. But is this a right attitude? It does not seem so to me.
And then I am always reminded of a startling statement written by the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. She says, “Only by admitting evil as a reality, and entering into a state of evil thoughts, can we in belief separate one man’s interests from those of the whole human family, or thus attempt to separate Life from God” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 18).
No one is ever insignificant to God.
The place to stand firmly in my own prayer about such events is that truly, Life is God, as the final phrase in the above statement indicates. With that fact about the eternality and indestructibility of Life as God set as a foundation from which to think, we come to the truth that no one individual’s interest can ever be sliced off from the interest of any other individuals within the “whole human family,” no matter how far away they live. No one is ever insignificant to God. And God’s love is just as strong and present everywhere else as it is here.
For me, the first thing to realize is that the love of God is always embracing, supporting, and ministering to anyone and everyone at all times, even to those who may appear to have been touched by a violent incident. It is not that God’s love is strong right here with me but gets weaker as it fans out across the globe! That is simply not the case. Because God is infinite Love, God is equally present everywhere. There is no nook or cranny where God cannot be found to be present and omnipotent, the tender Mother and strong Father.
Regardless of the religious convictions in a region, politics or geography, prevailing economic conditions, societal attitudes, or any other factor, nothing can change the spiritual fact that God’s love is never limited. And this love can be understood as acting powerfully and specifically to meet the need of each individual everywhere.
In a statement in the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy says: “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. It is the open fount which cries, ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters’ ” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 13). Also in this book, we find the statement: “ ‘God is Love.’ More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go” (p. 6).
This is not to say, however, that we should not support every reasonable and intelligent means, employed by the governments involved, to deal with and prevent harmful incidents before they happen. And as we prayerfully affirm the wisdom and intelligence inherent in God’s being and in God’s government of man, we should expect better and more effective preventative means to emerge.
The Bible tells us, for example, of the king of Israel saving himself many times from apparent ambush by the armies of his enemy. When the enemy king asked his advisors who could be spying on them, “One of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber” (II Kings 6:12).
If we are admitting to only one God, the one divine Mind, then we are admitting to only good for all of the world’s peoples.
Why shouldn’t we expect the help of God’s all-knowing and all-powerful presence to aid us in defending the world’s peoples from unfortunate events? We can understand and prove through prayer the powerlessness and unreality of evil.
This is what is included in such strong demands as not “admitting evil as a reality” and not “entering into a state of evil thoughts.” If we are admitting to only one God, the one divine Mind, then we are admitting to only good for all of the world’s peoples. Choosing good as the reality in our prayer and in the everyday moments in our own lives is the way to deny evil any reality, and this can extend to others, in other parts of the world.
Included in this love and worship of good—God’s good—is the conviction that the ability, opportunity, and respect that each one of God’s children deserves are in fact spiritual reality that we can expect to see brought forth in practical ways in every corner of the world. Health, right education, and meaningful and gainful employment, along with a deep and sincere respect for peoples of other religious and cultural backgrounds, are the fruits of a clearer understanding of God’s universal good. Our prayer for the whole human family includes the dedication to demonstrate this good, beginning in our own lives.
When violent events challenge our view of God-governed spiritual reality, a much-loved statement by Mrs. Eddy serves as a model for prayer: “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,—whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed” (Science and Health, p. 340).
After some devastating incident, I have often wondered, How long should I pray like this? And always, I remember this counsel in the book of First Thessalonians: “Pray without ceasing” (5:17). How long would you pray if your own family was involved? You would not stop praying until the danger had passed for everyone. If we love God, then we love each of God’s children, and we are honored to pray to defend them, no matter how far away they might be. They are truly members of our family.
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