The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12
MOSES' FINAL BLESSING ON the tribe of Benjamin is timeless, really. "The beloved of the Lord" includes us all. And this assurance seems especially needed now, following last week's massacre in a Colorado high school.
Notice, this biblical prayer speaks to who we really are: loved of God. And it spells out where we really are: between His shoulders, in God's safe presence. This is as true of those who died as it is of those who survived.
Of course, this promise of safety stands at odds with last week's tragedy. And here we each have a choice. We can be overwhelmed by the awful news. Or, we can begin the work of overwhelming it with a wave of prayer that never stops, with the intent of inspiring a sense of Love and Life in the community. We can begin the work of washing public thought free of hate, of selfishness, of the impulse toward further unthinking, destructive behavior.
To know our true status and our true place in God's presence is to be better equipped to pray for all the children of the world.
Think of God as divine Love and as divine Life. Love and Life are inextinguishable. To be loved of the Lord is to be the object of divine Love's deep contemplation. To be loved of the Lord is to be the focus of divine Life's full attention. God never stops knowing us as His own. We're God's expression, in God's own realm. God ceaselessly maintains us under a safe covering all day long. "Between his shoulders."
If we took the safe haven of God's "shoulders" to mean only a physical location, we'd be missing the larger promise of Moses' blessing - that our children can never be outside of God's presence. This is what reassures us that they are always safe.
When we hold to the good thoughts we derive from God, we are making a prayer. A prayer that makes a positive difference. That difference may seem modest, even unmeasurable, at first. But it is real. Through it, things will begin to happen. Shifts in individual thought and public outlook will take place. Circumstances will begin to adjust for the better.
According to Christ, genuine prayer has mountain-moving capacity (see Matt. 17:20). Right now, perhaps, the mountains most in need of moving may seem Everest-size masses of hate, alienation, mindless aping of violent movies and video games. In the face of this, seeking the good thoughts that come from God - of our true status as His beloved, and of our abiding-place as perpetually in His care - is praying a prayer that at least begins the mountain-moving process.
Granted, some people see praying as powerless, pointless. But think for a moment. Even if you hesitate to credit actual power to prayer, isn't praying at least better than being paralyzed by anguish? Isn't it more helpful than crying out "WHY?" without any meaningful answer?
Honestly, prayer has proved not to be pointless. Or to be too late. Genuine prayer has shown the good thoughts from divine Life and Love to result in sheltering and, when needed, comforting. It has brought greater assurance and less uncertainty. It has been found relevant to every circumstance. Prayer lifts human consciousness higher. Not just individual consciousness, but consciousness as a whole. People everywhere are touched by prayer.
For anyone wanting to pray for the safety of all children, the founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, offered some specifics: "... keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no place for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited."