THIS past summer there were more blue jays than ever in our juniper trees. One morning the unusually plaintive cries of one fledgling drew me to the pizza pan of birdseed and crumbs I keep filled on the sun deck. There it stood, vividly blue and beautiful, deep in seed and crumbs, yet frantic for food. Hungry!
One of its parents sailed in on the wind and filled the open beak with morsels, and the cries lessened. Then, apparently gradually understanding where its parent was obtaining the food, the little bird began to eat on its own.
This little domestic drama, endearing in itself, could have been a metaphor of my own spiritual experience.
Years ago, in a time of need I was introduced to Christian Science. I began, almost desperately, a daily study of the Bible, especially the life and teachings of Christ Jesus, and of the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Church of Christ, Scientist.
One of the early weeks of my study included the story of the Apostle Paul at Mars' Hill. Paul had explained to the superstitious Athenians that God was not in a distant place, but actually present. He pointed out, the book of Acts records, ``For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring'' (17:28).
I had read that story many times, but on that day I remember being struck as never before by the statement that God, Love itself, is literally where I am. I hadn't ever before thought of what it had to mean that God, Love, is the present, only power.
I also read a passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures in which Mrs. Eddy vividly describes God's omnipresence. She writes: ``The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space. That is enough!'' (p. 520). In that moment I did begin, at least, to realize what it might mean to live, actually live, in God's love.
This was only the beginning of what has been an ongoing, glorious adventure. And I am still learning what the ever-increasing conscious awareness of infinite good can mean in human experience. During the years since that time I have repeatedly, always with fresh joy, seen the effects of praying in this way. I have been physically healed, protected, supplied, and seen loved ones protected and cherished.
Just this past year my husband and I learned once more that infinite Love truly does fill all space and that it is enough to solve any problem.
Though it was a village when we moved here, our mountain community has grown into a small city. A municipal sewer system was installed last year, and this was a very expensive project. All property owners were automatically assessed more than two thousand dollars, and were also responsible for installing pipelines from their homes to the main street lines.
The original assessment was an unexpected expense for us. And then we learned the city had discovered a hidden ledge of rock under our hilly neighborhood. Laying the pipes through it, we were warned, would require costly work with special equipment. Engineers couldn't even give us an estimate. It looked as if our savings were going to be devastated--and we could still be left with staggering debt.
At first the sheer solidity of the situation we faced frightened us into worry and foreboding. But then at last we stopped trying to think of human ways to meet the challenge and began to consider the omnipresence of God, good, that primal goodness that fills all space and had to include the answer we needed.
Before the project was begun I was asked to do some work I love. The job would last for a year. The opportunity was totally unexpected. What I earned would cover the basic charges of the piping company and leave a bit extra.
As it turned out when the digging began, the massive ledge of rock was under our property. But for most of the distance, the engineers were able to set the pipes just inches above the rock. Some extra jackhammer work was needed in a few places, but our available funds covered the cost.
The company had contracted to leave our yard landscaped as it had been. But--bless them--volunteered, at no extra charge, to use excess rock and gravel to smooth out a depression that had collected water and mud after storms, and to regravel our driveway.
We were left feeling grateful wonder at what happens in our lives when we become freshly, prayerfully, and humbly conscious of the Love that is God, the infinite good in which all of us live and move and have our being as His cherished offspring.
We never need to stand like fledgling blue jays and cry for food in the midst of plenty. But we do need to awake to the plenty--to, figuratively speaking, wake up and see the birdseed!
Herein is love,
not that we loved God,
but that the loved us,
and sent his Son to be
the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us,
we ought also
to love one another....
If we love one another,
God dwelleth in us,
and his love
is perfected in us.
I John 4:10-12