OVER the past several days, a bomb exploded beneath a skyscraper in New York City, another in a London shopping district. A Russian train was bombed, and an explosion went off in the Philippines. The media have actively covered these events, trying to help us understand why these things have happened and who may be responsible.
Senseless violence, which almost always harms innocent people, has never accomplished anything good. Neither has any progress come through ignoring the social or political ills that have driven people to such extremes. While religious conflict appears to underlie many of today's violent eruptions, the true spirit of religion provides the answers that are needed for healing. I have listened to speakers of many faiths, and it is clear that the violence we see today violates the spiritual values that lie at
the heart of religious teachings.
The warfare that exists among Christians or between Christians and Muslims or other faiths finds no support in Christ Jesus' teachings. The mental elements that lead to strife -- anger, hatred, vengeance, racism, religious prejudice -- are directly addressed by him. He made no allowance for them; he rebuked them. Such passions, he taught, blind men to the presence of God and to His government.
One of Jesus' startling pronouncements was that the kingdom of God is within us. Yet when we let passion rule within us, we are deprived of the reign of divine justice, which alone is able to correct all ills. Acknowledging that God is omnipotent, and that His omnipotence is constantly operating in our lives, we are able to master anger and hate and to feel the power of God ruling within our consciousness. This prepares us to see the proof of His power. Divine Love corrects ills, establishes justice, and
restores to each individual his divine rights.
A second startling feature of Jesus' teaching was his setting forth of a new commandment, a commandment that would actually make the kingdom of God real in our lives. As recorded in the Gospel of John, he said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." Such love requires spiritual discipline. It may cause a struggle, but through Christ, Truth, we can succeed.
Violence makes us long for safety. But can real safety be found if we ignore God's law? True safety is at hand -- it is available to all, in our homes, in the streets, in the midst of battle. The question is, Are we willing to do what Jesus taught is required to experience the safety God provides? Are we willing to allow the reign of God to rule in our hearts? Are we willing to love our neighbor?
If so, we will devote our energies to praying to free ourselves from all strife, and we will love our neighbors enough to pray for the correction of all injustices and inequities. This spiritual activism opens our eyes more than ever before to the power of divine goodness. We gain a tangible sense of God's presence, a certainty of His constant care, an unassailable sense of safety.
The prayer that reveals the kingdom of God is a divine influence restoring order and justice throughout the earth. Understanding this, the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, provided this rule for the members of her church: "It shall be the duty of every member of this Church to pray each day: `Thy kingdom come;' let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!" (Manual of
The Mother Church)