There wasn’t too much left to buy for an upcoming baby shower being hosted at our home. In fact, it was my last trip to the store to check off the final items on the list. I glanced around the corner of each aisle to make sure I hadn’t left anything out.
As I darted past a wall of drinks to pull a favorite tea off the shelf, a shopping cart very slowly blocked my path. My next stop, in front of the snacks, was also paused as this same woman continued to reach in front of me.
Every attempt, in each aisle, I found this same shopper gliding in. But instead of anger, I felt incredible patience. Although there weren’t any specific thoughts running through my mind during these moments, I felt a sense of overwhelming love for her.
As my shopping came to a close and the other members of my family approached me, the same cart came around the corner … again … ever so slowly!
The woman smiled. Noticing her cart was filled with yummy things, I remarked that she must be a terrific cook. She solemnly said she had no one to cook for anymore, just her cat, but that he didn’t really like what she liked to eat. Such a sad image! But instead of just expressing vague sympathy, I told her that I had noticed how often her path had crossed mine while we were shopping. “Each time your cart came through,” I told her, “and I stepped back to let you go first, all I felt was an incredible feeling of Mother-love all around us.”
Her face lit up! Her eyes sparkled and she shared with me that each morning she prayed, “Father, my prayer today is that the love You have for me shines through me, and that everyone around me feels Your love, too.” Most assuredly her prayer had been answered! With arms opened wide we met in a warm, motherly embrace I won’t soon forget. I thanked her for letting God’s love shine through! The trip wasn’t just about a baby shower anymore – it had become a shower of blessings.
As we went our separate ways, a thought from “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, came to mind. She writes, “In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all, as Jesus showed with the loaves and the fishes, – Spirit, not matter, being the source of supply” (p. 206).
Jesus demonstrated how the supply that comes from God blesses more than just the one asking. As Jesus prayed to feed the multitude (see Matthew 14:14-21), he didn’t pray from the perspective of lack, focusing on the very few loaves and fish the disciples had. He prayed from the understanding that God, divine Love, is always abundantly present, the only source of supply and sustenance. This is how those few were amplified to meet the need of thousands of people who were hungry.
In a similar way, this woman was able to amplify the love of God because she prayed from the standpoint of Love’s abundance. She freely and willingly shared the love she knew was available to everyone around her.
Elsewhere in Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy expands the Lord’s prayer with helpful spiritual insights. After the line “Give us this day our daily bread” she adds, “Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections” (p. 17). Our daily bread is not food exclusively. It’s the knowledge that divine Love meets every human need right now – and that God’s grace also nourishes our need to express spiritual qualities such as love, comfort, and peace. My new friend’s prayer to share the love of God was answered, and so was mine – the prayer for spiritual nourishment and regeneration.
We can be ready to receive the love that is everywhere reaching out to us, as we learn from a familiar hymn in the "Christian Science Hymnal":
Jesus’ prayer for all his brethren:
Father, that they may be one,
Echoes down through all the ages,
Nor prayed he for these alone
But for all, that through all time God’s will be done.
(Violet Hay, Hymn No. 157, © CSBD)