The horrific bombings in Manchester, England; Baghdad; and Kabul, Afghanistan, bring back memories of a time when my stores were bombed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the time known as the “Troubles.” I asked myself, as I did then, How can we respond helpfully to such atrocities?
It might seem simplistic, even naive, to say we can pray, but from Bible times to the present day there are examples of prayer bringing enlightenment and intuition that enabled folk to overcome dire circumstances and impending peril. Isaiah 41:10 states: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Psalm 91 says, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” These and many other comforting thoughts speak of the peace, protection, and belonging people felt in a higher power and still can feel today.
Christian Science has taught me that God is Love only, rather than a God of wrath sending sickness and destruction, and that Love could never create war or violence. It is praying with the understanding that God is Love that brings peace. It helps me see man as God-created: peaceful, cooperative, loving, and concerned with welfare.
In reality, each of us is the unique reflection of God. As Jesus put it, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). We each have the ability to put those loving qualities into action at any given moment. The concern expressed and aid given by the folk and emergency services around the world is certainly evidence of the love we are able to express.
The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: “love more for every hate …” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 389). If we can love our fellow man, everyone, more – no matter the seeming cultural or religious divides and no matter what evil or terror has been foisted on us, for revenge is never an answer – then we are contributing to world peace.