Prayer for Homs, Syria

A Christian Science perspective: Inspired by a visit to Homs, Syria, several years ago, this writer now embraces the city in prayer as it faces increased violence in the streets.

I had the privilege of traveling to the beautiful, ancient city of Homs several years ago, loving its Roman waterwheel, still turning, and the gentle way its residents milled in the city center, greeting friends, engaging in conversations over outdoor cafes – all the ways you would expect to see people enjoy a sunny day.

Now a tragic picture is unfolding. Protests against the authoritarian regime of Bashar al-Assad are being violently suppressed by government forces. Secret pictures and videos smuggled out in the most difficult of circumstances document this. Shelling of the city has killed hundreds of Syrians. At least four journalists have been among the dead. Only by the end of the week were the wounded allowed to be evacuated.

What can those of us far away from the violence do to help? We can pray deeply to know that even in such war-torn circumstances, God’s law of divine Love is protecting its creation. The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” what the action of God – also called Truth, Life, and Love – is doing in spite of what the senses see: “Truth has no consciousness of error. Love has no sense of hatred. Life has no partnership with death. Truth, Life, and Love are a law of annihilation to everything unlike themselves, because they declare nothing except God” (p. 243).

Just as light annihilates darkness effortlessly, by being itself, the truth destroys a lie once it has been exposed. The lie here is that individuals are motivated by such ambition, brutality, and cruelty that they will go to any length to protect their own position. The truth is that God is ever in control, and God’s sons and daughters can never be out from under the protection of this divine Love. Why? Because each one is made in the very image and likeness of God, as the first chapter in Genesis declares: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...” (1:26).

The implications of being the image of divine Love, God, are true for every single one of us. That means that a regime that looks determined to stay in power is also ultimately subject to this government, as well as those who appear to be the victims of such an imbalance of military strength.

The writer of Hebrews makes an astounding observation that has the feel of an eye-witness who has experienced the truth which he describes: “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable” (Hebrews 4:12, 13, New Living Translation).

Government representatives may try to reason with the Assad regime, but only God, infinite Mind, can provide the kind of searing truth that cuts through all beliefs and goes to the deepest core – to the heart – that deeply knows what is the difference between right and wrong. Nothing can interfere with the laserlike reach of infinite Mind, God. Nothing can resist the power of light to illumine the dark corners of thought that need transforming.

God, divine Love, is operating right now in Homs, as it is in other trouble spots in the world, bringing protection and safety to its citizens and making the way clear for its government to resolve whatever needs resolution to return to a life of peace for its citizens. God is in charge, regardless of what the headlines claim.

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