`AND why do you like Michael Jordan?'' That was the question I put to a group of eight-year-olds when the professional basketball player recently retired. ``He's the best!'' one said. ``I love his haircut!'' piped another. But one little girl caught it just right, I think. She said: ``I love him because he soars!''
And if you've ever witnessed one of Jordan's gracious, swooping, dunk shots, you'll understand what that child meant. Witnessing such mastery can cause all of us to want to do some soaring of our own. But can we?
Few can physically soar in the same way Michael Jordan does. I certainly can't! But we can all soar by way of our own heaven-born aspirations. The Founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy, likens these spiritual aspirations to birds in flight. She says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``The fowls, which fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven, correspond to aspirations soaring beyond and above corporeality to the understanding of the incorporeal and divine Principle, Love'' (pp. 511-512).
What are aspirations? They are the deepest desires inside of us. They are more than just hopes--they are actual goals that we can shape according to the spiritual patterns the Bible shows us. And they can literally lift us above old habits and limits. Christ Jesus' life shows us what this means. Jesus wholeheartedly accepted the deep and broad range of spiritual values and affection that he learned from God--his Father and our Father. And he boldly lived out these affections every day. And just think what material limits Jesus rose above in his healing work! Physical barriers couldn't stop Jesus. He walked across a broad expanse of roiling sea; fed a large gathering of listeners who had not eaten all day; walked unharmed through an angry mob that had gathered to kill him. And the walls of hard and cold unbelief were no match for the spiritual power behind Jesus' life and works.
God is Spirit. He is not material or physical. Matter and space are not factors in God's existence, nor are they limits in any way to His power. God is Love itself. We tend to take our ideas about ``love'' from what we feel personally or what we see others saying or doing. But God is Love. Everything that is worthy of feeling, of desiring or wanting, has its root in God's love.
God's love isn't far removed from daily experience, however. Just the reverse! His love is in our hearts. But, if we lose sight of God, that love may seem to be covered over with fear or ill will or resentment. Then, we might well feel that our aspirations have stopped soaring Godward. But our soaring can't ever truly stop, because God is even now pouring the spirit of His love into our hearts. In Galatians the Bible says, ``And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father'' (4:6). This is the source of the soaring aspiration after good that will wash away fear and resentment if we will let it.
There is no belittling such aspirations, either. When we pattern our aspirations after the unselfed nature of God's love, they will grow and flourish. Jesus said, Matthew's Gospel tells us: ``The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed . . . : which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof'' (13:31, 32). So, let's cultivate those seeds of spiritual aspiration in our heart. They will grow into wonderful soaring!