Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Prayer for the Innocent Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to World Events and Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Prayer for the Innocent Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to World Events and Daily Life

Article excerpt

'THIS is a slaughter of the innocents" is how Helen Liddell, a member of the British Parliament, referred to the massacre of at least sixteen small children and their teacher by a gunman in Dunblane, Scotland, three weeks ago.

Each of us can benefit from praying for the citizens of Dunblane. Prayer requires us to think of ourselves and others in spiritual terms. In prayer we remember that God is a present help, no matter where we are. And thinking of our Scottish neighbors will aid in helping them to find peace.

While it is not possible to bring back those people who were lost, it is possible, through prayer, to contribute toward the alleviation of suffering. This is taking the road that Christ Jesus marked out for his followers. It is also an opportunity to remember that innocence and purity are spiritual qualities that cannot be lost, because they emanate from God. Jesus made this point when he told his followers, according to St. Matthew, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (18:3). When tragedy strikes, "the kingdom of heaven" might seem like an abstract concept. Yet the Bible's teachings make clear that God's children are spiritual right now. In the final analysis, the life of Jesus proved that innocence and goodness outweigh evil. From the compassion he expressed toward the sick and the sinning, to his willingness to forgive those who crucified him, he saw genuine, spiritual innocence as a quality of everyone-even of those who seemed to be anything but pure. By his insistence on living in harmony with God, Jesus literally conquered death. Mary Baker Eddy, the woman who founded the Christian Science Church on the teachings of Jesus, had this to say: "The motives of his persecutors were pride, envy, cruelty, and vengeance, inflicted on the physical Jesus, but aimed at the divine Principle, Love, which rebuked their sensuality." You can read that in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 51). The triumph of Jesus' enemies was short-lived. In just three days, he rose from the grave. …

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