Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Refuge for Indonesians

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Refuge for Indonesians

Article excerpt

A Christian Science perspective.

"Love is our refuge," wrote Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor ("Poems," p. 4). She was speaking of God as divine Love, who is ever present. Right now, the people of Indonesia need to feel the healing presence of this spiritual refuge, even as they seek human refuge from what appear to be growing natural disasters.

Indonesia's most active volcano, Merapi, has erupted several times and still hasn't quieted down. As of this writing, the dangerous conditions have displaced 69,000 people and killed 38. Reports earlier this week indicated that 21 of Indonesia's other volcanoes have begun to rumble. And as if volcanic activity weren't enough, the nation's Mentawai Islands were hit by a tsunami, triggered by a 7.7-magnitude underwater quake last week. Sixteen thousand people have been displaced, 431 were killed, and more are still missing.

At least one geophysicist, Pall Einarsson of the University of Iceland, believes that the volcanoes are affecting one another. Geologist Brent McInnes, a professor at Australia's Curtin University, suggests that this increased activity could mean "a major plate restructuring" is going on ("Indonesia Volcano Shoots New Blast; 21 More Rumble, The New York Times, Nov. 1). Such theories indicate that these events could pose a wider danger and should not be ignored.

While most readers of this article won't be in or near Indonesia physically, each of us can draw near to its people in our hearts. First, we can embrace all of them, whether they are affected by the volcanoes or by the tsunami, with compassion, especially for those whose lives and livelihoods have been disrupted by the danger. Many have had to virtually abandon homes, flocks, and herds near the volcano. Those rendered homeless by the tsunami also need to feel Love's presence and guidance.

In prayer, it's possible to recognize that no matter where they are, divine Love really is their refuge and the refuge of all they are concerned about - whether it's their much-needed livestock, destroyed homes, or missing loved ones. Divine Love can care for them, bring them peace of mind and heart, and enable them to act with wisdom, especially in the face of the still active volcano. …

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