PEOPLE have a great longing to love and tend to search for a human being on whom to lavish attention. This is understandable, and certainly we're all grateful for the Godlike qualities people express. But there is only one who is worthy of our profound worship, and that is God. We learn from the Bible that God is Love and Spirit, the infinite intelligence that knows and loves each one of His offspring. God expresses Himself in wisdom, strength, lovingkindness, beauty--the very qualities we are searching for in other people. In response to the question ``Which is the first commandment of all?'' Christ Jesus said, ``Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength....'' And then he said, ``The second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.''1
So worship of the one God does not cut out loving others. It awakes us to the demand to do so, because God has made man in His own image, and man expresses all of God's qualities. We can recognize and appreciate in others the integrity, activity, love, joy, and understanding that constitute God's likeness. Because there is no materiality in these qualities, they do not age, wear out, or become stale, but are forever new and lovable.
To appreciate another's expression of the divine nature is for us to love that person in the truest way and to put our relationships on a sound basis. How different this concept of love is from the emotion of romantic dreams, or that poor imitation of real love which is based solely on physical attraction and gratification. The record sleeve of a recent popular song supposedly about love shows a young man with head bent. Out of his cigarette smoke rises the sensually depicted figure of a young woman with hands bound. The situation is obviously bringing not joy but misery to the young man. A relationship with this basis can lead only to disappointment, emptiness, coldness, even hatred.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``The good in human affections must have ascendency over the evil and the spiritual over the animal, or happiness will never be won.''2
In giving the spiritual sense of the Lord's Prayer, Mrs. Eddy interprets the words ``Give us this day our daily bread'' as ``Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections.''3 We can trust God to feed our affections, to satisfy our need for love, not only because He is Love itself but because He governs His creation wisely, and through prayer we can discern His tender guidance in our relationships. We can be led to the appropriate relationships and steered away from the inappropriate.
A drama teacher realized that a member of her adult class had taken her friendly encouragement in a personal way and was hoping that she was the answer to his need for love. The tutor prayed about the situation, and the answer came in a line from a hymn: ``Embosomed deep in Thy dear love.''4 She saw that the student really lived in God and that his needs would be met by divine Love. She also saw that divine Love was caring for each one and that each one was truly dependent on God for happiness, not on any other human being. Soon circumstances ended the acquaintanceship. Later when she found herself taking too personal an interest in a married man, she realized that God was the center of her affections and this man was not. She was grateful when the personal attach-ment faded, and a wholesome friendship remained.
Talking of the need to love in everything we do, Mrs. Eddy once said in substance, ``When your love requires an object to call it forth, you will know it is personal; when it flows out freely to all, you will know it is impersonal.''5 How good a companion one will be if he or she worships God and loves all mankind, thereby giving affection from the standpoint of stability and wholeness rather than weakness and need. Such a person truly knows the joy of being in the embrace of divine Love.
1Mark 12:28-31. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 61. 3Ibid., p. 17. 4Christian Science Hymnal, No. 134. 5Quoted in We Knew Mary Baker Eddy (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1979), p. 143. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Keep yourselves in the love of God. Jude 1:21