The whole city seemed cold. I had arrived there knowing no one. I suppose plenty of fine people lived there, warm and good people - but they didn't cross my path. I made no effort, either, to reach out in a friendly way. And that cold feeling did not thaw during my short, solitary stay.
Later, I arrived alone in another unfamiliar city. There was a difference though. I knew someone in this second city, someone I loved, someone who loved me. Simply knowing she was there, even before we spoke, colored the entire city for me. People on the street seemed warm, cab drivers friendly, the day cheerful despite a steady rain. It was the love that made the difference.
This just barely hints at what would happen if we, if any of us, really understood the presence of divine Love, of God, always with us. What a transforming effect this understanding would have! What a tangible help it would be.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not interested in a false view of the world through rose-colored glasses. But the presence and power of Love drench the whole landscape of our lives with light. The more we understand this presence, the more of it we'll discern. The more we'll see its warming, transforming, even healing effect. That's the nature of divine Love. And, best of all, this warmth doesn't hinge on the presence or absence of a particular individual. Love is always there; we just need to become conscious of it, really understand its constant nature. ''Divine Love is your ever-present help,'' n1 writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n1The First Church of Christ,Scientist and Miscellany, p. 295.
Think of the qualities of Love: freshness, warmth, harmony, inspiration, and so on. Where Love is - and that is everywhere - these qualities are.
If we have a problem before us, if we find ourselves in an environment that reeks of staleness, coldness, discord, what can we do about it? Plenty. Through prayer we can acknowledge the presence of Love's qualities right where the dark, negative ones appear. Prayer enables us to discern the warmth, freshness, and harmony that are actually right where coldness, staleness, or discord seem so real. Note: the acknowledgment, the prayer, precedesm the appearing of Love's qualities in our experience; prayer uncovers the good that is already present. The more faithfully and understandingly we stick with this prayer, the more we'll see its good effect in tangible, everyday terms. The qualities of divine Love will appear as a natural part of our lives.
In the Bible, in the Gospel of John, is an account of a wedding Christ Jesus attended. n2 It was there that he changed the water into wine. Does this account have a special message for us? Could it be that Christ Jesus was bringing a sense of spiritual inspiration - which ''wine'' sometimes symbolizes in the Bible - to that marriage? If so, he was doing something far more significant than merely saving the bridegroom the embarassment of not providing enough wine. He was bringing to light the very thing needed for a lasting, Love-expressing relationship.
n2See John 2:1-11.
Jesus knew that ''God is love'' n3 as John puts it. And throughout his career he demonstrated this truth - with all its inevitable, wonderful ramifications - in a whole range of experiences. As we follow him, as we come to understand the nature and presence of Love, and of Love's qualities, we find we can bring our prayers to bear on a full range of experiences and help to change them for the better. The marriage or home or neighborhood that needs more freshness, harmony, warmth, inspiration, can have them. Where will these be found? In the understanding that these qualities derive from Love. In the understanding that Love is always here.
n3 I John 4:8.
Daily Bible Verse How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. . . .For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart. Psalms 36:7, 9, 10