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Ohio shooting: Affirm Life

A Christian Science perspective: The tragic shootings at Chardon High School in Ohio are a call to prayer to embrace the students, their families, and the community.

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“Please join me in praying for the students who’ve been injured in this horrible crime,” said Governor John R. Kasich in a statement after a shooting at Chardon High School in northeastern Ohio. One student was killed, and four were wounded. News reports say the gunman, also a student, was from a broken home. He may have targeted specific students who had bullied him. (UPDATE: Since the original version of this article was published, unfortunately as of Tuesday afternoon the death toll has risen to three.)

This call to prayer for the students first opens one’s heart to embrace all who may be in shock after the event, the families of the boy who was killed, and those who were wounded. There is much comfort to be found in the Bible. The  Psalmist, who was no stranger to violence in his day, once sang, “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer ... when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:1, 2). 

For me, this rock is Christ, the spiritual representation of God’s love for His children. All who sincerely turn to Christ can expect to find helpful and healing answers. Christ provides comfort to those struggling with grief, is a healer to those in need of mental or physical restoration, represents the divine law of Love which promotes justice for all concerned. 

In the coming days, there will be time to sort out the human conditions that may have led to these tragic events, but one way to ensure healing is to turn to the truth that each individual is spiritual, and inseparable from God, divine Life. This means that even if someone has passed away, he or she and members of the family can never be outside of God’s care.

Jesus’ healing ministry brought to humanity the healing power of Christ. Referring to one of Isaiah’s prophecies, Jesus declared that the “Spirit of the Lord” had sent him to “heal the brokenhearted” (Luke 4:18). The healing Christ is with all who mourn yesterday’s events, and others in the world where human life has been injured or lost. Christ is the restoring power of divine Love, which loves each of us as an infinitely good Mother, and an endlessly caring Father. That Father-Mother is with all mothers, fathers, and children right now, holding them, blessing them, guiding them.

In the book “Unity of Good,” Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote about the nature of eternal life and stated that none of us can be deprived of the spiritual life that divine Life gives. She said, “The sweet and sacred sense of the permanence of man’s unity with his Maker can illumine our present being with a continual presence and power of good, opening wide the portal from death into Life...” (p. 41).

The “continual presence and power of good” is actually with each of us, whether or not we are always conscious of it. Right now, that presence is with all affected by this shooting, binding up the brokenhearted. Each individual, including the one who was killed, can be held in the reality of divine Life, and lifted to an understanding of the Life that is God, forever caring for His children. Within divine Life there is no death, no ending, no snuffing out of potential. For each one of God’s children, the loving hand of the Divine is always present to guide toward good, even when that individual is no longer with us.

In an ultimate sense, divine Love is with all in the community as a very present help in trouble and as a refuge from the storm (see Psalm 46:1). In praying for the community as the governor requested, we can insist that Jesus’ mission of binding up the brokenhearted include all facets of this experience so that the “continual presence and power of good” will bless and uplift each heart.

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