When I learned of the bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, my heart ached to do something to help. I found myself reaching out to God, seeking the comfort of the Christ, which touches the human heart, heals grief, and unites us all as one universal family. But in all honesty, at that moment the possibility of unity felt very far away – even farther away than Moscow, which is halfway around the world from my home. I also live and work in Russia about half of every year, and I wanted to help in any way I could.
I wrestled with the question: Is terrorism just too big a problem for prayer to resolve? As I did, a friend from Moscow called to ask if I’d heard their tragic news. She was looking for comfort. After listening to her describe the fear, vulnerability, and confusion she and her fellow Moscovites were feeling, my thought quickly switched into prayer mode. I began affirming with renewed conviction the ever-presence and power of God, divine Love.
Quick flashes of the times when I had experienced the protection and power of God’s love came to my thought, displacing the question that had presented itself earlier. I remembered the safety and calm I felt in Tbilisi, Georgia, when war was threatening to break out between Russia and Georgia, and even more important, I remembered my visit to Tbilisi just a few months ago, and how the atmosphere had changed. Although people still don’t agree about how the war began, when I visited with residents there, I felt they had no resentment nor animosity toward the Russian people. They regretted the war that had taken place, but by and large they were dedicated to mercy and forgiveness, and gratitude for the good going on in their community.
The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, saw the ravages of her nation’s civil war, but never surrendered her faith in the power of divine Love’s ability to unite humanity through a clearer sense of our identity as God’s image and likeness. Understanding the omnipotence of God as divine Love, she wrote: “At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 571).
The word “humanity” means the nature of being human. It speaks to the best nature of who and what we are. It includes kindness, compassion, mercy. These are divine qualities that are innate in every individual, and we each have the ability to express them in our thoughts and words and actions. They have their source in God’s own nature and are reflected throughout His creation.
Conversely, every destructive act is the outgrowth not of divinity but of ignorance, in someone’s not recognizing our true spiritual nature. Such acts stem from the fear that evil is as powerful as God. They include fear of limitation, fear of being excluded from opportunities, fear of being vulnerable to harm, fear of losing one’s identity, to name just a few.
There is great liberty in knowing who we are and the true nature of our fellow man and woman. Knowing ourselves as God’s beloved family helps us experience God’s promise: “ 'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope' ” (Jer. 29:11, New Living Translation). This promise includes supply for our daily needs and abundant opportunities for everyone. It reveals love as the only true motive for all legitimate activity. As we unite in prayer, let’s pray for everyone’s enlightenment – even those whose ignorance led them astray. As we unite in a prayer of love, which acknowledges the divine qualities of mercy, forgiveness, and the saving grace of redemption, we will be uniting in expressing more of this unifying “higher humanity.”
Our compassion is the established fact of our nature as God’s image and likeness. As we individually acknowledge this fact and strive to live in accord with it, we will see love for our neighbor growing into greater respect, inclusiveness, kindness, and mercy. Terrorism must then begin to fade and disappear.
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all founded on the great First Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Referring to this, Mrs. Eddy wrote, “This me is Spirit. Therefore the command means this: Thou shalt have no intelligence, no life, no substance, no truth, no love, but that which is spiritual.... It should be thoroughly understood that all men have one Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love. Mankind will become perfect in proportion as this fact becomes apparent, war will cease and the true brotherhood of man will be established. Having no other gods, turning to no other but the one perfect Mind to guide him, man is the likeness of God, pure and eternal, having that Mind which was also in Christ” (Science and Health, p. 467).
As each of us diligently looks for the divine qualities in others and strives to express them more faithfully in our individual lives, we will experience the fulfillment of this promise.