I REMEMBER one evening when I wanted to be anyplace but where I was. The occasion was a special dinner and club ceremony afterwards. Although I had lost interest in the organization, it had fallen to me to conduct the ceremony. What made it more difficult is that I had a sore on the sole of my foot. It had been there for a while, and it had been getting worse. I was feeling pretty miserable. Although I was accustomed to turning to God in prayer for healing, I had only prayed sporadically about the difficulty I was having with my foot. But that night I turned wholeheartedly to God for help. And as people began to arrive, it occurred to me that it didn't really matter how I had got into that position, my real job and my real nature were to express Love, God, right then.
The evening turned out to be quite special -- more than just organizationally. I had learned something of the harmony and joy that come from divine Love. My foot stopped hurting, too, and was soon normal.
I thought of that night again recently when I was considering Love -- the Love that is God. It has gradually become more clear to me that divine Love is quite distinct from the emotion called love. For example, as an emotion we might find it easy to love some people and difficult to love others. Sometimes we might feel too busy or too shy to give love while at other times we may feel great and think we could love everyone.
But divine Love is not subject to moods or personality. Divine Love is God, and the Bible describes God as having ``no variableness, neither shadow of turning.''1 So divine Love is more like a law than an emotion. Its tenderness, mercy, loveliness, and caring don't depend on human circumstances but transcend and transform them. The statement ``God is Love'' is so familiar to many of us that it sometimes triggers the automatic reaction of a clich. We may see God, divine Love, as beautiful and comforting but still not connect the divine with our own actions.
The connection of divine Love and our daily living, however, is one of the things that always stands out to me when I read the Sermon on the Mount.2 Mercy, peace, forgiveness, forbearance, patience, are shown as natural and essential -- as the result of our spiritual unity with God. And, as Christ Jesus showed in his life, obeying divine Love does not belittle true human affection. Instead our obedience to God strengthens our affections by giving them a spiritual foundation. With this spiritual basis, affection can remain genuine even when it isn't returned.
The effect of living in obedience to the Sermon on the Mount is that the influence of divine Love goes beyond just how we act when we're with other people. It lifts our concerns, activities, thoughts, above a preoccupation with ourselves. Love becomes the discipline, as well as the inspiration, of our motives, hopes, ambitions, imagination, and logic.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, there is a short sentence that says a lot to me: ``Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way.''3 This is what happened that night that had at first seemed so empty of meaning and full of pain. Love -- God -- had lifted me out of the rut of opinions, habits, personality, to see something of my Godlike identity. And I found that divine Love heals.
1James 1:17. 2See Matthew, chaps. 5-7. 3Science and Health, p. 454.