On Tuesday night, like many others in New York City, we gathered together in church to pray. Whether we had been near the World Trade Center or not, we all needed the strength and reassurance that only God can provide. We all knew people who worked in the area and had businesses in the area, and we also knew that the destruction would touch us personally one way or another.
The people in the city have been at their best. There has been a great, immediate response to this emergency. The police and firefighters and other emergency services have been fearless in their efforts to save lives and bring things under control. News report after news report mentions the enormous community of people who helped one another as thousands and thousands struggled to leave the area.
At church, as I prayed, one thing became clearer: the enormous human love and care, the strength and courage, the amazing goodness that was being lived moment by moment, was not enough. That's not to say that it isn't essential, crucial; it's simply to acknowledge that we all need more. We came to church because we realized we needed something greater to help us face the day's events and to help others recover in the days to come.
We needed evidence of divine Love in our lives. And we still do. Every Sunday when I go to church, I see these words on the front wall: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, pg. 494).
Sometimes, in the face of tragedy, words can seem hollow. But Tuesday night, they struck me with renewed force. Those might not be the exact words that will reach everyone's heart, but I realized that divine Love has the power and ability to reach every mind and heart in a way that each can understand. That whether one is staying in a shelter or waiting by the phone to hear from a loved one, divine Love is providing the courage and strength and comfort and reassurance that is needed. Love speaks to us all individually. Nothing can sever us from this saving Love.
Paul affirmed this in his great letter to the Romans. He declared: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:35, 37-39).
The destruction of life and property around us in New York is great. But many people are praying with more fervor and steadfastness than ever before. In many ways, we are already surrounded by the triumph of good over evil. And this is something that, through prayer, we can help continue. In the same letter to the Romans, Paul urged his readers, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:21). What I've seen on the streets and on news reports assures me this is being done.
It is the power of God in our lives that enables us to triumph over evil. It is this inseparable link with divine good that lets us rise above fear. It is our eternal connection with God, divine Life, that enables us to overcome grief and to experience the comfort and reassurance from God that can never be taken away. Christ Jesus' message to all humanity in every age was that nothing can deprive us of life. That we live beyond mortality. That not even death can rob us of the love of God, nor of the life that God provides.
The divine Love that has provided us with good, with love, with happiness, is still at work in us all, and is even now filling the void that many feel. Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy ended a short article called "Heart to Heart" with these words "Always bear in mind that His presence, power, and peace meet all human needs and reflect all bliss" ("Miscellaneous Writings," pg. 263).