One’s heart goes out to the Polish people, who lost their president, Lech Kaczynski, and dozens of Poland’s top political and military officials, when the airplane carrying them to Smolensk crashed Saturday. They were on the way to an event commemorating a World War II massacre of 20,000 Polish officers by the Russian Army in 1940.
Just a few days earlier, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had been the first Russian to participate along with Polish officials in commemorative ceremonies. Since the massacre has festered like a wound between the two countries, there was hope that these efforts would move them toward healing.
At this writing, the cause of the crash has been given as the flight crew’s insistence on landing at Smolensk, despite heavy fog and the efforts of air-traffic controllers to send them to a safer landing place. The human loss is great, both for the families and the nation.
Our prayers can offer comfort to all who are affected, and can support the well-being and the stability of the nation, which will need to choose a new president and other officials. Prayer can call on the Comforter, the spirit of Christ-healing that Jesus lived and proved during his ministry, to touch the hearts of each individual citizen, and especially the families, colleagues, and friends of those who have been lost.
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). This spiritual courage is needed now for Poland and its citizens. Our prayers can claim this comfort as the people recover from these losses and regain a vision of light.
This light will also bring to the surface any condition that may need examination. For example, there have been claims that the Polish aircraft fleet is badly in need of upgrading, and if this is so, divine Love, which cherishes all of its children, can provide inspired ways to do what is needed, even in difficult economic times. Especially important right now is the recognition that the efforts toward progress in relations with Russia, and toward gaining more peace about the Katyn massacre, cannot be lost.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor and lived through wars and peacemaking in her own time, saw with special clarity the reality that good is permanent because it has a spiritual basis. She wrote, “Love’s labors are not lost” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896,” p. 100). God’s love is always at hand and is never expressed in vain. Whatever good the individuals on the plane had embraced and expressed in their own lives cannot be lost. That good will live on and will help forward whatever was dear to them, their families, and their nation.
The healing that people were hoping for at this event can still come about, even if it has faced a temporary setback. Those who strive for healing and peace are laboring lovingly, and this work cannot and will not be lost, if all maintain their strength and courage in these hours. Prayer that insists on the primacy of healing and on the power of God to support right endeavors is greatly needed.
There is something more. Several officials interviewed after the crash referred to the tragic history of Smolensk as an area cursed by the events at the Katyn Forest, and pointed out that this crash was a massacre of its own kind – killing the flower of the current government, just as the Polish military had been wiped out during the war.
God, who is and always has been good, never created any cursed places or people. Jesus made this very clear in his ministry as he helped all people, even if they were from backgrounds that weren’t well regarded. To each, in different ways, he said their hearts need not be troubled or afraid. That conviction of God’s love for humanity is the spirit of Christ, and it is evidenced in practical ways such as healing.
Christ, the spiritual love of God that Jesus proved, is with us now, with Poland and other European nations, as decisions are made and connections reestablished between and among them. Christ can bind up the wounded hearts and the wounded nation. It provides stability and peace. And it will bring forth evidence that the good that has been done will continue. It cannot be lost.