To preserve life

A Christian Science perspective: A ray of hope for Syria and other trouble spots in the world.

Many have watched conditions in Syria with dismay and a great desire for a peaceful solution that will preserve life. The Monitor has noted that thousands have already been killed, and the nation may need support for years in order to stabilize politically and socially.

Syria isn’t the only nation in the grip of conflict – Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan are among several others. The chilling images of child deaths as well as those of civilian adults argue that life is cheap and easily taken, that God is absent.

These events call to mind the book of Lamentations in the Bible, where the writer records the sufferings of his people – and then reminds himself that God is present. He says, “Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not” (3:57).

This message, “Fear not,” doesn’t rest on human conditions. Its foundation is an understanding that God is good, and that good does prevail, even as biblical figures from Elijah to Christ Jesus and the Apostle Paul proved. Their example can strengthen the conviction of all who pray for Syria and other troubled parts of the world that there is an answer to such conflicts, and it can be found.

In her seminal work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy presents Life as a synonym for God. From this perspective, Life is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, and the sole creator. These scientific facts reveal that each individual is the spiritual idea of Life, empowered with intelligence, honesty, strength, and goodness.

In reality, the allness of divine Life effectively excludes death as an option. With even a small grasp of divine Life and the man and woman God created, it’s possible to challenge suggestions of death or deadly behavior – whether in the news or among those around us. There is no law of Life to support them, nor do they fulfill a divine purpose. Death is never a tool of divinity.

This standpoint isn’t ignoring the cruel behavior that inflicts death on innocents. Rather, it insists that divine Love, or Principle, has the power to arrest such behavior. Even in the darkest realm of mortal thought, the light of Life can be seen and felt. Its lawfulness and goodness have saving power.

It can be useful, too, to affirm God’s presence with aid workers and others who are on the ground in conflict situations. Our spiritual support of people in danger honors God’s all-power and each individual’s spiritual nature by insisting that divine Life is present and is indestructible.

To see evidence of this change may take persistence in prayer and conviction in practice. But these efforts are not in vain. A stalwart commitment to divine Life and a refusal to be drawn into despair or frustration will do much. The deaths at Srebrenica, among other places, during the Bosnian-Croatian war led to criminal charges – proof that ignoring such acts, which might have been ignored in the past, is not acceptable and cannot be tolerated.

Even when interpretation of the facts may be difficult in a given situation, one can always ask in prayer: What in this situation is pointing toward or, contrariwise, seeming to resist divine Life and goodness? Often this will yield fresh inspiration for prayer, and can even lead to specific guidance. As Mrs. Eddy put it in Science and Health, we can “[l]et Truth uncover and destroy error in God’s own way, and let human justice pattern the divine” (p. 542).

Whether or not there are visible results, our individual prayer can rest on the example of Christ Jesus and others who turned to God for life, healing, and justice. No matter how aggressive conditions may appear, Jesus’ own triumph over the grave shows divine Life, not death, is, and always will, be the victor.

From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.

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