Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Putting out Fire Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to World Events and Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Putting out Fire Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to World Events and Daily Life

Article excerpt

This year forest fires and church burnings in the United States, and bombings throughout the world, have all pointed up the need for greater safety and protection. Families, homes, and places of worship, all aspects of our environment, need the benefits of prayer for peace. What is our individual part in helping to snuff out the fires of fear and the threat of destruction, particularly by combustion?

Ignorance and fear often ignite and fan the flames of hatred and persecution. But neither is a power in the face of calm, steadfast trust in God. The Bible tells in the book of Daniel how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found that their prayer-their hearts' love for and unwavering faith in God-was their protection from death by burning (see chap. 3). They stepped out of a furnace unsinged, unharmed. "Neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them," the Bible adds (verse 27). Such protection is just as possible today, through prayer.

St. Paul would ask the church at Corinth centuries later, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (I Corinthians 3:16) It is essential today that we gain the understanding of God in our own hearts. The consciousness of God's all-presence is still a mighty power to douse the flames of fear and protect people from pain and destruction.

One summer afternoon our son and a friend ignored warnings they'd been given about playing with fire and experimented with lighting firecrackers. In a sudden explosion, our son's fingers on one hand were severely burned. He was in great pain. As Christian Scientists, we immediately turned to God. We also contacted a Christian Science nurse, who came and bandaged the hand. As we prayed, the child's pain ended completely.

He was very sorry about playing with fire. It was tempting at first for me to think that the injury was punishment for his disobedience. But that would mean that suffering, something opposite to good and therefore unlike God, had power. If such were the case, God, who is all-good, would not be all-power. I returned to my prayer. …

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