For Oklahoma City And the World

THE ninety-first Psalm puts up a wall of safety around each of us. In it the Psalmist says, ''Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling'' (verses 9, 10). As we begin to let the spiritual truth of this Bible promise shape our thinking, we see its safety and assurance answering epidemics of violence. The Lord really is a refuge. As we make the Most High our habitation, we find ourselves in a realm of safety, a spiritual realm where no evil can befall us.

God's love and protecting care are unconditional. But the Psalmist, in the verses just mentioned, does make our experience of His protecting care conditional. It is because we have made God, Spirit, our habitation, the dwelling place for our thought, that we begin to experience safety from terrorism.

Yes, location is everything when it comes to safety and security. But it's becoming increasingly plain that location, in a physical sense, provides little security. After the Oklahoma City bombing, one frequently heard comment was, ''If the heartland of America isn't safe, no place is.'' Terrorist threats aren't avoided by moving across town or continent. But there is a move, a mental and spiritual shift, that opens up a world of safety. The Bible speaks of the city of God. It speaks of a New Jerusalem, a spiritual habitation or framework of divine law, as open to us all.

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Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ''Security for the claims of harmonious and eternal being is found only in divine Science'' (p. 232). And elsewhere she even defines New Jerusalem as ''divine Science'' (p. 592). This is the realm in which man truly exists as the offspring of God, the image and likeness of Spirit. Terrorism, and the mentality that would mount it, are utterly foreign to God and His kingdom, His consciousness. All that exists in the realm of Spirit is spiritual and good and benign--and God's kingdom is the only reality. Knowing this makes an enormous difference in our everyday lives.

When a terrible tragedy takes place most of us have heard someone say, ''I'll never believe in God again, if He would allow such an awful thing to happen, especially to so many good and innocent people.'' And while that might be an understandable response, it is unfortunate. Why? In a sense, the very thing that led to the tragedy in the first place was the view of existence as godless and material. So, why reject the very power that could offer relief at a time like this? Why side with the viewpoint so foundational to the killer?

The forces that blow up and tear down and rip apart are found only within the material concept of the universe. And that, in turn, is found only within a material consciousness. But this material mentality and its view of a violent material universe is an impossible limit on God! He didn't make it, He didn't authorize it, He doesn't permit it. The shift in prayer--the shift away from a matter-based view of reality toward a God's-eye view--reveals a wholly different set of forces right where the destructive ones had previously appeared. And the forces that come from God are spiritual and good and harmonious.

We could call terrorism--in fact, all evil--a lie about the goodness of God's creation and God's care for His creation. Christ Jesus said of the one evil, ''He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him'' (John 8:44). But Jesus also has assured us, ''If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'' (John 8:31, 32). What a marvelous promise. Free from fear. Free from anxiety. Free from dread of threatening evil. Free to know the truth that man is the offspring of pure Spirit. This knowing opens our eyes to the city we have truly always dwelt in: the Father's holy habitation. Each one of us is provided with safety and assurance as a resident of the realm of divine Science, New Jerusalem.

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