A Christian Science perspective.
Following the deadly bombing and shootings in Norway last week, that question is surely ricocheting from the heart of Oslo to the farthest reaches of the globe, piercing the hearts of many who want to believe in an all-good God but struggle to do so in the wake of such evil.
Where is the divine Love that takes care of us all? Sometimes “everywhere” seems like way too glib an answer. For many, God’s omnipresence is not in doubt. But the starkness of the exceptions, which seem to confirm that there is no such divine rule, makes it seem so much harder to believe.
Where is the Love that takes care of one and all? That is the Love Jesus proved exists, which he showed has potency, and by which he healed. He restored broken bodies, re-enlivened broken hearts, revived flagging hope. He even crossed the threshold called death only to prove that it is not the permanent void that a frightened material sense of things concludes it must be. Apprehending the indelible spiritual relationship between God and His incorporeal creation, we awaken from a profoundly mistaken conviction of life and death in matter.
In Jesus’ example of good’s trumping evil, there is seen the Love that takes care of us all, and Life’s divine continuity triumphing over death. Jesus is no longer here to give us the spiritual lessons he gave in person to his immediate disciples. But he showed for all ages there is something more than material life for himself and everyone: ceaseless spiritual existence. There is the Christ – the spirit of Life and Love that animated Jesus – which even the dreadful violence of an unjust crucifixion couldn’t bury for good.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, described the significance of understanding what Jesus’ experience proved to us: “When spiritual being is understood in all its perfection, continuity, and might, then shall man be found in God’s image.... Then shall man be found, in His likeness, perfect as the Father, indestructible in Life, ‘hid with Christ in God,’ – with Truth in divine Love, where human sense hath not seen man” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 325).
Here “man” means all men, women, and children. It signifies the individual spiritual identity of everyone that we want so badly to see, but no longer can. We can find comfort in realizing the unique, eternal nature of every cherished friend, fellow worker, or family member that the human heart wants to hug, to talk to, to walk and sing and dance and laugh and cook and eat with, but cannot.
No, the Love that takes care of us all cannot return to us the particular human touch we ache to feel. But Jesus showed us that Love does continue to care for all, even when we have lost sight of them. And the Love that cares for all will continue to care for those left grieving too. Not only with spiritual solace penetrating the gloom with glimpses of spiritual light, but with practical evidence of good in our lives, taking fresh forms that can echo anew the qualities loved in those who are no longer present to our eyes.
In the wake of a tragedy on the scale of Norway’s shockingly unexpected mass murder, there are practical, political, and legal needs. There are emotional and physical needs.
And for many, if not all – from Norway to North Carolina – there is a need to know that there truly is a divine Love whose infinite warmth and undying affection continuously cares for us all. Jesus showed us that there is.
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