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A place where terror is powerless

From The Christian Science Journal - April 16, 2013

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I woke up yesterday morning, my thought filled with the words of a hymn: “This is the day the Lord hath made; / Be glad, give thanks, rejoice” (Laura Lee Randall, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 342). The morning was full of minor challenges, and I was grateful to have those words to come back to as a touchstone, reminding me of spiritual power and love. The afternoon brought news of explosions at the Boston Marathon in Massachusetts, and suddenly that faith-filled thought seemed impossible to reconcile with the reports coming over the radio.

Bombs that took the lives of at least three and injured dozens more have left in their wake a shock and that seems to prove the power of evil. If God, divine good, is real and omnipotent, where was His power? What could we possibly be glad and grateful for under these circumstances? 

When it comes to stories in the news, such questions have been posed repeatedly in recent months. One thing does seem clear though. In the aftermath of this, and all the devastating events that we have been confronted with lately, we need the inspiration of divine good more than ever.

What is best in mankind is this divine, supreme impulse to help, to heal, to comfort, to love.

Two days ago, a New York Times op-ed entitled “When God is your therapist” reported on a growing tendency in churches to turn unreservedly to the spiritual good God gives us, instead of losing faith in the face of suffering . The question, “Why did God let this happen?” is less meaningful than the fact that we can find the impulse and expression of divine good even in the worst of conditions. A truly helpful question we can ask might be: Where is divine good right now? The answer is that it is very much here with us. It is with us regardless of the situation. It is what is ultimately and practically most powerful to overcome hatred and loss. This is something that mankind has known for thousands of years.

In the Bible story of Daniel (see Daniel 6:1–23), despair and loss of faith would seem normal and reasonable reactions for a man who had been unjustly condemned to be shut in a den of hungry lions. There is nothing in the account to indicate that Daniel questioned the realness or goodness of God. But those thoughts may have troubled him when the stone was rolled over the mouth of the den. Was this the result of all his prayer? The end of the story? Whatever fears he may have felt, Daniel remained receptive to divine good and sure of his own innocence. Those thoughts were enough to bring about a very different outcome than was expected. Instead of being devoured, Daniel lived to praise his God. Whatever the details of that old, old story, it is apparent that something profound and inspiring happened that day in the lions’ den—which continues to speak to us down through the ages.

There are no conditions unfavorable to Love, to the divine truth that we are all connected to one another, and receptive to spiritual inspiration. What is best in mankind is this divine, supreme impulse to help, to heal, to comfort, to love. And we can never be without it. 

Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Think of this, dear reader, for it will lift the sackcloth from your eyes, and you will behold the soft‐winged dove descending upon you. The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 574). We have need of the awareness that we include the ability to find those qualities that help and heal. God is not an anthropomorphic judge or puppet-master. God is Love, the here and now palpable connection we have with inspired motivation and compassion. At the end of the day, that is what matters most. This, and every day, makes a demand on us to live from the light of divine good as best as we can. It’s worth all the effort that it may take to remember the good that is possible.

Caryl Farkas is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher in Madison, Wisconsin.

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