AS I was driving to the recycling center the other day, my car packed with cans, glass, newspapers, and plastics, I was feeling grateful that these things would -- perhaps in a different form -- be used again. While these items are merely material objects, I have come to see over the years that the self-discipline involved in caring for our environment is more than a material activity. It is a way of expressing love for our neighbors -- far and near, now and in the future. Christ Jesus' teachings make clear that all good -- all love -- comes from God. And since God is Spirit, the good we receive from Him must be spiritual. On the human scene this good is most potently illustrated by love, whether this is love for the natural environment, which makes recycling a joy instead of a burden, or love for those around us -- our human environment.
Jesus spoke of the importance of loving our neighbors on many occasions. He told his followers, as John records, ``By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.'' This love that so invigorated the disciples and those in the early Church rested on their certainty that God specifically loved them and that, as Jesus had taught, they could never be cut off from Him. It was only natural for the love Jesus' followers felt from and for God to flow out to all people. In fact, their love was so strong that it enabled them to do the healing works Jesus had done.
This spiritual love for others and the certainty of God's love are still accessible to us. God loves us, not just because He is infinite Love but also because He sees us as we really are -- as His fully spiritual creation, made up of only good qualities such as joy, purity, love, wisdom. Each of us has the capacity to express spirituality if we are willing to turn from its opposite -- anger, fear, frustration, pain, hatred. We do this by resisting the temptation to indulge in wrong behavior and by actively striving to express spiritual qualities.
You can try this for yourself. Just spend one day endeavoring to be more loving and patient toward other people. You may find -- as I have -- that it actually is less tiring to be loving than it is to be angry! Not only that -- if we are willing to love others, the love we express toward them will make their days easier too.
I remember being very angry at a friend -- and he was angry at me, too. We were both shouting. As things got worse, I turned to God in prayer for just a moment. Instantly, I saw so clearly that my friend was angry because he was afraid. My anger melted away, and I could answer him gently. Within seconds, his anger was gone, too. There were still points we had to resolve, but at least now we could do it peacefully and intelligently.
Each of us has the opportunity to help our fellow humans, not just by recycling glass, paper, and other products, but by actively seeking to forward the cycle of good -- to help people feel the love that God has for them. This love is always fresh, always new, and as we express it to our fellow beings, we are multiplying its impact every day. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother's need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another's good.''
Feeling God's love for ourselves and knowing that we can never be separated from Him helps us to love others and to spread the joy and peace that come through divine Love. It's never too late for us to start, and each one of us has the power and opportunity to help.