After a shooting, letting Love lead

A Christian Science perspective: Even in emotionally charged situations, such as the wake of Trayvon Martin's shooting, prayer comforts, uplifts, and unites.

At this writing, a lot of questions remain in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death in Sanford, Fla. People are eager to discover what truly happened that night. But much of the discourse surrounding the event seems fraught with suspicion, tension, and fear. This and other violent incidents around the world – often prompted by emotional fervor, political unrest, or religious fundamentalism – can be met with prayer, but because of the emotionally charged atmosphere surrounding these “hot spots,” it can be difficult to know where to begin.

I’m comforted by something I’ve learned in my own experience: When divine Love leads, peace must follow. God’s love comforts grieving hearts and calms every situation. God, divine Love, has the power to reveal what is true and guide people to a just outcome.

Let me share a brief illustration of how God’s love operates. Several years ago, while vacationing in Florida, I was just getting ready to settle down for a good night’s sleep after a dinner with my family when I felt intense pain and rigidity throughout my mid-section. The discomfort was so great that I could not sit or lie down, but paced the hotel room praying aloud. Although I knew in my heart that God was with me, the physical suffering was overwhelming.

I asked God what I needed to learn about Him and my relationship to Him in order to gain dominion over the situation, and quickly the thought came, “You are innocent.” And again, “This is an imposition of suffering, and nothing that you have done wrong.”

Just acknowledging that God knew me right then as His innocent, pure image and likeness, His loved daughter, immediately began to release some of the tension. I was able to sit down on the bed. The next Christly thought that came was, “Divine Love neutralizes all hatred, anger, and pain.” I accepted that message from God, the Father-Mother of all, with an open heart, both for myself and for the whole of humankind. In a short while, I was able to lie down. I continued to embrace God, and She, of course, was already embracing me right back. Starting from the top of my head and moving all the way down my body, I felt everything relax. It was as if a light flowed right through me. That was the end of the whole thing. No more tension. No more pain. The night’s sleep was peaceful, and my whole being just overflowed with gratitude to God.

Two lessons stood out to me afterward. First, God’s neutralizing power can be felt physically, mentally, and practically in our lives. Second, because Love is present and ever active, the “script” of human life need never be followed to a violent or painful conclusion.

Any toxic animosity, hatred, injustice, or destructive impulse in our national discourse can be healed through God’s love, just as the pain in my body was effectively cleansed. Our steadfast prayers supporting a calm, cooperative, and compassionate investigation of the events in Florida – acknowledging God’s absolute jurisdiction – will comfort grieving hearts, quell vengeful impulses, and assure justice. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote: “The pent-up elements of mortal mind need no terrible detonation to free them. Envy, rivalry, hate need no temporary indulgence that they be destroyed through suffering; they should be stifled from lack of air and freedom” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883 - 1896,” p. 356).

This calming, cleansing Love is present and at work in Florida and throughout the world. No situation is impervious to the power of God. The prophecy that says evil must “play itself out” before being destroyed is proved an illusion in the face of divine Love.

Mrs. Eddy rejoiced in the power of Love to destroy the temptation to indulge in hateful or violent thinking in these words: “Thank God! this evil can be resisted by true Christianity. Divine Love is our hope, strength, and shield. We have nothing to fear when Love is at the helm of thought, but everything to enjoy on earth and in heaven” (“Miscellaneous Writings,” p. 113). When Love leads, peace will follow.

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