Love's own

A Valentine's Day greeting caught my eye the other day. On the face of a giant-sized card were the words ''Be mine.'' This brought to mind a well-loved Bible verse from Isaiah: ''Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.'' n1

n1 Isaiah 43:1.

Isn't it a comfort to know that we belong to God? Whether or not we're showered with affection on February 14, our creator is cherishing us.

Christian Science, in harmony with the Bible, teaches that God is Love. Since God is also Spirit, as the Scriptures state, the love of God is completely spiritual. This divine embrace is not limited by time or confined by space. God's love is utterly eternal and infinite. This pure love, this law of good, is a gentle presence from which we can never truly stray.

Man is the very offspring of Love. Though we seem to be flesh-and-blood mortals, separated from our divine source, our actual selfhood is incorporeal, expressing the nature of our creator, and forever safe in His care. ''The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God,'' writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. And further along she says, ''Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique.'' n2

n2 Science and Health with key to the Scriptures p. 475.

Now, we don't perceive God as divine Love or man as Love's reflection with our physical senses. It requires spiritual-mindedness, a cultivation of our spiritual sense, to know the truth of God and man. It also takes humility, teachableness, and a childlike faith.

One of the great blessings of this spiritual perception is a deeper sense of our inseparability from Love. Then, regardless of circumstances, we find we can tangibly feel God's tender presence with us.

A young friend of mine had an opportunity to prove her unity with divine Love. She's in the sixth grade. Recently her two best friends turned against her when hearing she had planned to spend a special Saturday afternoon with a new friend rather than with them.

Despite her persistent attempts to explain what had happened, they refused to be friendly with her and, in fact, started telling lies about her to others at school.

Feeling sad and angry, my friend called a Christian Science practitioner to pray for her. This is someone who devotes full time to healing through spiritual means alone - through prayer. The practitioner spoke comfortingly of divine Love's constant care. My friend was encouraged to continue expressing the qualities of Love, like warmth and joy, regardless of what others said or did. This way, it was explained, she would be siding with God and could expect to see the problem at school corrected one way or another.

A pertinent line from a hymn was shared. It reads, ''Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear/No ill, - since God is good, and loss is gain.'' n3 My friend agreed to think about these words of Mrs. Eddy's, and the practitioner agreed to pray.

n3 Christian Science Hymnal, No 207.

The result? The next day at school the girl found her two friends more willing than before to hear her side of the story, and possibly to forgive. But as they talked things over, some unkind remarks were leveled at her. At that point my friend thought to herself: ''These two are children of God, just as I am. That makes us sisters. They can't really hurt me.'' She was able to be quiet for a moment, rather than respond angrily. This helped to calm the others.

In a few days all the misunderstanding and hurt feelings were gone. The old friendships were beautifully restored, and new friendships were happily added. What's more, something important was learned about the power of Love to heal strained relationships.

What my young friend proved, you and I can prove. Right now, God is declaring ''thou art mine'' to each one of us. As we actively express the qualities of Love, we'll feel the joy of being Love's own. This spiritual joy is ours, not just on Valentine's Day but every day of the year. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me besdie the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. . . . Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalms 23:1-3, 6

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