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Prayer for Binghamton

A Christian Science perspective.

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One thing was different. One small and perhaps insignificant detail was not quite the same, at least not for me. As I watched the video feed come in on my computer, I learned more of the terrible tragedy in Binghamton, N.Y. on Friday. I saw that no one could make sense of those senseless shootings that left 14 dead at a center for immigrants hoping to become US citizens. Tragically, that much was all too familiar and not fundamentally different from news reports of other similarly horrific tragedies.

The one small difference I noticed this time was that along with the news coverage there were now instant responses from viewers who were e-mailing or twittering their thoughts to the news outlet. I selected at random a half dozen or so of these instant responses. They were, of course, written by strangers. It was in these responses that I unexpectedly found the faintest glimmer of light. None of them spent a single word pouring out anger at the gunman, who took his own life. More than half of them mentioned prayer. One spoke of God and divine help. These messages reminded me of how universal prayer is. And of how instant its impact can be. When a person is at a distance from a tragedy and yearns to do something, prayer is the one game-changer, the one difference-maker that can reach a scene of tragedy at the speed of thought. It can provide comfort with powerful, wordless impact. Clearly, many, many people grasp this – and were praying and continue to pray.

I think of Christ Jesus and his original followers. He evidently was preparing them for the time when he'd no longer be with them. Were they, at least some of them, aching over the enormous void they sensed would be left at the center of their lives? Have countless others over the centuries, when overwhelmed with inconsolable grief through the loss of a loved one, also felt an enormous void at the center of their lives?

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