A Christian Science perspective: The bombings at the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon left a city seeking comfort.
Marathons, including the one in Boston, celebrate courage, endurance, strength, freedom, and joy, and the bombings that took place at this year's event cannot be allowed to have the last word.
Freedom cannot be despoiled by fear, and love cannot be replaced by hate. Our prayers – wherever we are, whatever our religious beliefs – can prove this. And as we pray, we can embrace in our hearts and thoughts all who have been injured, the families who have lost loved ones, and those whose joyful participation may now seem shadowed by fear and sorrow.
To all those, and others, the comfort of divine Love is present, right now, and is a powerful redeemer. The word "comfort" derives from two Latin words (cum + fortis), which mean “with strength.” This is the kind of comfort that is present for those immediately affected, for the police and other officials who are striving to find solutions, for all who are in any way engaged by this event.
With strength, divine Love, God, is with all who mourn. The prophet Isaiah – who witnessed his own share of violence – spoke from experience when he said of God, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).
With strength, divine Love is speaking to all who are fearful, including visitors to the city who may feel at sea in an unfamiliar place. Love’s presence comforts, guards, and guides them to intelligent decisions, to safety and peace.
With strength, divine Truth, God, is with those who are seeking the answers to these events and are also trying to help bring peace and safety to the city.
With strength, each one of us can push back against the belief that the mental darkness behind these events can despoil good and fill people with anguish and fear. Our prayer can insist that God’s love is present and that this love can never be taken away from any of His children. In her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy" (p. 477).
Given the many situations Jesus faced – including terrorism in his own time – his unshakable conviction of God’s power to heal even in the most hopeless circumstances gives hope and strength to all who love God and pray for His goodness to be seen right now, in these times. Jesus' conviction that God could meet every need can strengthen our prayers. He didn’t just hope that God’s goodness would prevail, he expected it to do so. Behind this conviction was his consciousness of Christ, which Christian Science explains as the spiritual relation between God and man, between infinite Love and its spiritual offspring.
The Christ-power behind Jesus' healing work is present with each man, woman, and child – in Boston and beyond. This is the power that "comforts those that mourn" – not only with an arm around the shoulders (tender as that may be) but with something more: It was and is comfort “with strength.”
This is our comfort, and the comfort our prayers can bring to all.