My first knowledge of the London bombings was when a friend phoned from the United States to check that I was OK. Where I live and work, on the edge of London proper, there was neither sight nor sound of attack, and I hadn't been tracking the news up to that point. Since then e-mails and phone calls have been flowing in from concerned friends and colleagues from around the world.
This compassionate response is the upside of such a tragedy. Love gets expressed in tangible forms, whether it is from concerned friends and relatives, strangers helping one another out, or the emergency service workers doing their best under tough circumstances. Thank you one and all for your love!
If my experience has been replicated by millions of Londoners - and I am sure it has been - then there has been a flood of heartfelt caring in response to the targeted hatred of the few. Like all my fellow Londoners not directly involved in these attacks, I feel my heart going out with love to those caught up in the events, or who had friends and relatives who were.
Isn't such love rather weak, though, compared with the fury of multiple bombs ripping through the tube? Short term, it might seem that way. Long term, though, it is love that will endure because more than the sum total of all the human love in the world, divine Love - the source of that human love - is God, and God is indestructible and all-powerful.
Divine Love outlasts and outshines any tragedy and any accumulation of tragedies. It is infinite and inexhaustible. An immediate need I have, as a transport-using Londoner, is to see these things to be so - to understand that God, all-powerful Love, is the enduring reality. The way I know to do this effectively is through prayer.
Like millions around the world, I am sure, I was praying from the moment I found out about the bombs hitting my hometown, and I have been praying unceasingly since. I believe prayer can open the way for the wisdom and love of God, of the divine Mind, to be made clearly available to the people needing to respond to events on the ground. Above all, though, I think that prayer is the best way to defuse fear and to prevent terrorism from hitting its main target - the thoughts of Londoners and onlookers alike.
Londoners have worked through this before, with the World War II blitz and the IRA's mainland bombing campaign. They have an impressive record of surmounting such odds. My prayer at this moment, though, is not based just on an expectancy of repeating an admirable record of courage and determination not to cave in to evil. It is based on recognizing that man - that is, all men and women as God creates us - is inherently conscious of the allness of Love, which must ultimately exclude hatred and fear. Because God is infinite, that leaves no room for evil to impose itself on anyone's life, or to interfere with any good activity. The fact is, everyone has an existence and identity that is forever safe, and to the degree we are not convinced by thoughts to the contrary, we will experience more of that safety.
The Apostle Paul once stated that "now is the day of salvation." The best book I know for explaining the Bible and how its teachings help heal fear is Mary Baker Eddy's "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." It explains: " 'Now,' cried the apostle, 'is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,' - meaning, not that now men must prepare for a future-world salvation, or safety, but that now is the time in which to experience that salvation in spirit and in life" (page 39).
This idea of safety now came as a revelation to me some years ago, and it has brought me a deep sense of security ever since, despite living in London during the IRA bombing campaign. Safety on a divine basis is not flighty or weak or vulnerable to change. It is robust, stable, consistent, and dependable.
As London faces next steps, politically and in relation to its security needs, the more that we its citizens - and our friends around the world - glimpse this present spiritual safety, the more completely this great city will prove it in practice.