A message of hope in the aftermath of terror in Nairobi

A Christian Science perspective: A Kenyan tells how he is finding peace after the terrorist attacks in the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.

“To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.” Wow! What a way to begin a book. Today? Sometimes circumstances are such that it seems hardly appropriate, let alone possible, to make this declaration. Yet Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, began the preface of her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” with that dramatic statement.

The power of that message has been in my heart during the past few days here in Nairobi, Kenya, after terrorists stormed a popular upmarket shopping mall, killing an estimated 67 people and injuring hundreds. During the past few years, there have been other smaller attacks, mainly involving the explosion of grenades in public places such as worship centers, restaurants, and buses. But this latest attack was the most vicious and the deadliest, comparable only to the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi.

Because of these intermittent attacks, it has become common to hear statements such as “No one is safe” and “It can happen to anyone.” But this is where Mrs. Eddy’s statement, “to-day is big with blessings,” can be helpful. She says that for this to happen, one has to lean on the “sustaining infinite.” Elsewhere in the book she makes it clear that the sustaining infinite is none other than God – filling all space, the All-in-all. When this thought takes hold, it then becomes obvious that since God is all Love and fills all space, the idea that no one is safe and that it can happen to anyone is a lie.

The Psalmist sang, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High/ Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalms 91:1, New King James Version). When this step is taken, with full faith and expectation, then whatever the circumstance, the establishment of peace – otherwise called the kingdom of heaven – cannot fail to appear. This is the method of Christian Science healing, based on the teachings and works of Christ Jesus.

It has been very difficult when I hear of friends caught up in the terrorist hostage crisis in Nairobi to hold on to this wonderful thought, but I know that it is true; I have proved that it is not mere wishful thinking but an affirmation of the only reality that establishes the kingdom of heaven, now, today.

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About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

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The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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