After the Bombings in Moscow
Helm, Marie, The Christian Science Monitor
A Christian Science perspective.
I spend almost half of every year in Russia and frequently visit Moscow, where I regularly travel on its subways. I have many friends in Moscow, and I love praying to support the ongoing efforts to improve daily life there and throughout Russia.
Monday morning I was shocked, and had to fight a sense of grief and horror, when I learned about the suicide bombings that took place in Moscow's subway system. But I knew that letting those emotions reign in my thoughts would do little to ameliorate the situation or help others overcome the same sense of grief and fear that seemed so palpable right then.
As single individuals, perhaps we can't solve the immediate political and cultural issues that give rise to such destructive acts of terrorism around the world. But we can do something vitally important - we can let compassion transform our own thoughts, desires, and actions. Like ripples in a pond, our thoughts are far- reaching. They touch the lives of others and bear witness to the power of divine Love in action in our world.
I saw a beautiful little example of the healing effect of compassion - our unbiased love and efforts to understand our fellow man - take place in August 2000. My husband and I were visiting friends in Moscow when a bomb exploded in a busy underground passageway in the center of the city, just as people were heading home from work.
The city was in a frenzy to help those in need, reestablish order, and find the perpetrators. The attack had been carried out by people from the Caucasus, and everywhere, those who looked as if they might be from that region were being stopped and their documents examined.
The next morning, we needed to take the train into the city center. Fear was on the faces of so many people. As my husband, my Russian friend, and I boarded the train, a man of Caucasus ethnicity boarded, too. Everyone began to move away from him - some people even left the car - and he sat alone, looking isolated and miserable.
I began to pray. I didn't want to accept the notion that our ethnicity, culture, or religion could define or limit our ability to express our God-given goodness. …