Abuse. What can we do now?
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
For me, each new report of the sexual abuse of children carried by the press these weeks has felt like another punch in the stomach. My heart aches as much for the children as for those whose religious faith is being shaken to the core. Christ Jesus' words are speaking to me with renewed force. He told the disciples he would send another Comforter, a spiritual counselor, adviser, or teacher who would remind them of all that he said, of all that he did.
Despite this assurance, the disciples lost hope. Following Jesus' crucifixion, their hearts were heavy and dark; they gave up their preaching and healing work. Peter and John and some others went back to fishing. And, as the Bible says, they caught nothing. When we lose hope, nothing seems worth doing.
But Jesus knew, and the disciples were to learn, as we are, that evil cannot triumph over good. The power of God, the will of God, cannot be nullified by evil. At some point we will learn, as they did, that the supreme power of God will eradicate the activity and effects of evil. The Book of Psalms expresses it this way: "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (24:1).
We can rephrase that and say, Our life is the Lord's, and all that it includes. It is formed by Him, it is governed by Him, it is filled with His ideas and the manifestation of His will. And His will for us all is unwavering, unalterable good.
It didn't seem that way to the disciples when they were fishing. They were completely unaware of the supreme power of divine Love that was neutralizing the effects of hate and overcoming death and resurrecting their Master. But their grief and despair could not prevent the resurrection that was soon to take place in their lives, when Jesus reappeared to them on the shores of Galilee.
Jesus proved to them that the Christ, the manifestation of divine Love, never goes offline. Divine Life, which gives us our life, never shuts down. The grace of God, which reveals the powerful presence of divine Love in our life, is never withdrawn. The connection we have with divine good is never severed.
As the disciples ended a grim night of fruitless fishing, Jesus appeared on the shore. The moment they realized who he was, the light of Love glowed in them in a resurrection splendor beyond anything they had ever felt before. The Christian exclamation "He is risen!" still stirs countless hearts today, because Christ is still appearing on the shore of our life. Still calls out to us. Still awakens us to the undiminished glory of God's goodness in our own life.
In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy writes about this meeting between Jesus and his disciples: "His resurrection was also their resurrection. It helped them to raise themselves and others from spiritual dulness and blind belief in God into the perception of infinite possibilities" (pg. 34). And Science and Health points out that this spiritual resurrection is part of the experience of every Christian that encounters the power of Christ, Truth.
We, too, need this awakening to the "infinite possibilities" of a life that is "hid with Christ in God" (see Col. 3:3). As we understand the resurrection and its message of full deliverance from the predations of evil, we are safe, totally and completely safe, and wonderfully whole.
I'm grateful that Easter is on the horizon of the world's thought right now. The fears that people are crippled, permanently scarred, held in the grip of hopeless anger and grief, sick at heart, or that they have lost their faith are countered by these words in Revelation: "Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful" (21:5). Christ makes all things new. These are the words we need to heed. This is the message we need to allow to be written in our hearts.
It may be hard to see this at times. Restoration may seem as impossible as things seemed to the disciples when they were out in their boat fishing. But there is an Easter of the soul, of our spiritual sense of life. May this Easter season nourish us all and give every one of us the help we need.