Insecurity in the eastern part of Rwanda, where the Interahamwe militia and others continue to be responsible for killings, sexual violence, and harassment, cries out for our prayers.
According to the Rwandan Newtimes, the government is reinforcing its troops there. Meanwhile, some human rights activists say that justice regarding the original Rwandan genocide is not being pursued aggressively enough. For people "on the ground," these are difficult issues to resolve.
This newspaper as well as others has told the story of people who survived the Rwandan genocide. One series included remarkable accounts of those who found the grace to forgive those who killed their family members (Oct. 24, 2006). These accounts show that there is a spirit that transcends individual feelings of anger, fear, dread, and the desire for revenge. It is the spirit that Jesus embodied during his ministry on earth, and that he promised would remain with us forever.
This spirit is Christ, God's message of love for each of His children and for His whole creation. Christ sheds its light on every aspect of a problem and reveals what needs to be corrected and how. It opens the door to reconciliation, justice, and peace.
In her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mary Baker Eddy provided a thought that can help us in our prayers for peace in Rwanda. She wrote: "Jesus aided in reconciling man to God by giving man a truer sense of Love, the divine Principle of Jesus' teachings, and this truer sense of Love redeems man from the law of matter, sin, and death by the law of Spirit, – the law of divine Love" (p. 19).
This truer sense of divine Love is impartial and ever present, and it is well able to operate at all levels in the Rwandan conflict. Through our prayers, people can begin to see beyond material conditions or relationships – where prejudice often holds sway – to each individual's spiritual nature.
For example, prejudice might say that a certain group of people doesn't actually deserve justice. But Love sees all its children as well worthy of its love; it doesn't deprive one to give to others because it is limitless. To recognize this is to embrace all the groups in this conflict within God's love. Then there are no winners or losers, no struggle to avoid losing face, no one to be jealous of another's good.
Ethnic hatred may argue that purity has to be upheld, that a "mongrel" race needs to be destroyed. But the "truer sense of Love" reveals that each of us can claim a purely good God as our Father-Mother.
The first chapter of Genesis in the Bible speaks of God as creating man "in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them." There isn't a footnote to that passage indicating that some races were created by a different, less pure god than infinite Spirit or that certain ethnic groups were "more created" by God than others.
In fact, God knows nothing about the divisions that seem to haunt human society. What He does know is that each of us is beloved, needed, spiritual, and fully equipped to do good in this world – and this is the employment all of us are meant to have.
As you and I turn in prayer to this "truer sense of Love," we can help erase those divisions and reveal the goodness, beauty, intelligence, and purity that God has given to all of His people. And we can put this idea into practice by looking for spirituality in everyone we meet and work with during the week, every week.
Requiring ourselves to look on our world with a spiritual vision is allying ourselves with the Love that is at the heart of the universe. It is Love with power, Love that heals, that unites and saves. It is this Love that will bring healing and peace to us, to Rwanda, and to other countries around the world.