MY local newspaper recently ran a photograph and reported on a tragedy that left me deeply saddened. It showed a youngster who had been knifed at school by a fellow student. He didn't recover. On the same day were reported fifty-one deaths in another nation, the result of factional fighting. Something in us mourns, and then rebels against such mindless destruction. We know intuitively that mankind can do better--that we must do better.
Is there a way to help those so injured by hatred or greed or hopelessness that they've lost sight of goodness--including their own? Yes. Christ Jesus' life and teachings show us that an understanding of God's ever-presence is immediately effective in bringing peace and healing to troubled humanity. As we strive to follow Jesus' example, we find that our heartfelt prayer can embrace troubled cities and townships with the balm of God's tender presence.
It may seem that the power of God, of divine Spirit, is impractical in the face of senseless violence. But, in fact, it is only almighty God who is able to save mankind from such dire circumstances. Deity--who is infinite Love--doesn't create man and then forsake him. God never ceases to care for His offspring. Man, then, is spiritual and expresses the divine nature through such qualities as wisdom, forbearance, affection, and moral courage. Man's true identity honors God, divine Life.
The spiritual truth is that man's nature and purpose is to reflect God. Those behaving in animalistic ways are ignorant of man's true nature as the child of God. Yet that nature remains intact. And ultimately every individual must forsake evil and discern his or her real identity as God's own child. Christ, the true idea of God, lights our way to this discovery by rousing thought from degrading mortal concepts and transforming our lives with spiritual power.
Our individual Christian prayer is a bold assertion that man is receptive to spiritual light. In the book of Isaiah we read of the influence of spiritual light: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. . . . Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders. We need not accept the suggestion that some portion of humanity is destined to remain in darkness. That could never be God's plan. As Christ becomes more palpable t
o our spiritualized thought, we'll discern the universal nature of divine Truth. We'll know that the light of Christ is indeed shining on all.
In her book Miscellaneous Writings, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, speaks of John the Baptist, writing: "John came baptizing with water. He employed a type of physical cleanliness to foreshadow metaphysical purity, even mortal mind purged of the animal and human, and submerged in the humane and divine, giving back the lost sense of man in unity with, and reflecting, his Maker. Our prayers can help speed this process of purification. As we affirm, in faith, that a
ll men are God's offspring and therefore Godlike, not only will we ourselves discern more of our own spiritual goodness, but men and women near and far will begin to discern their spiritual goodness, as well.
Let's not leave our brothers and sisters in darkness. When we hear of lives wasted by violence, let's reach out to the power of God that is present everywhere to redeem mankind. Gradually we'll discover that, yes, violence can be quelled.