Start with love
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
The search for comfort and understanding goes on in Uganda after the mass suicide in March by members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments. For spiritual seekers everywhere, it raises the questions, What will really guide people to a holier life? Where can we turn in this world for safety and comfort? Do we have a direct relation to God? If so, what does it do for us?
Those who seek their relation to the creator - the one who the Bible says knows our "downsitting" and our "uprising" (Ps. 139:2) - can find that God knows and cares for each of us unconditionally. This God is Love itself.
There is a naturalness to seeking something better than the turmoil and agony of this world. Some may think this can happen only by disassociation from other people. But there is a spiritual separateness we all can have, which in fact will make our daily lives more useful, productive, and enjoyable - and will not keep us removed from a world that needs us in it.
It is the act of loving.
The Bible says, "We love him [God], because he first loved us" (I John 4:19). It also cautions, in the words of Jesus, that we "cannot serve God and mammon" (Matt 6:24). Perhaps the idea is not to separate from humanity in an attempt to find God, but simply to love God more than all else. This is an individual quest. This is a purpose that can help us help ourselves and others.
But how do we know we are loving God more than materialism ("mammon")? According to the founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, "Simply asking that we may love God will never make us love Him; but the longing to be better and holier, expressed in daily watchfulness and in striving to assimilate more of the divine character, will mould and fashion us anew, until we awake in His likeness" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 4).
The Ten Commandments all have to do with love (see Ex. 20:3-17). The first five are about loving God, and the last five are about loving one another. This is the way Jesus summed them up: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matt. 22:37-39).
So, how does this relate to overcoming the fears that surround our days? To finding a safe place to worship? Coming to know like-minded believers without stepping outside of society? Starting with love alone, we can go a long way toward alleviating fear for ourselves or for the world. St. John wrote of this in his first letter to the early Christian church: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (I John 4:18).
The commandments of divinity are put simply in that one word love. When we are feeling unloved or unloving - no matter how justified - that's the time to act in love. And the excuses for not loving just aren't valid.
Start where you are, and begin to count the things you do love! For me, it's my cat curled up on the couch; the sunbeams splashing color on the floor; the inchworm steadily making its way up the fronds of the plant by my desk; the thought of a child's smile; the tenderness of God's care. This softens the heart and causes me to respond with good thinking, holier thinking, timeless thinking. This is the action of expressing God, Love, in daily living.
Love knows no political or circumstantial rivalry. Right where we are, we can commit the act of loving, and find that love breaks the grip of fear or pain or sorrow. Love is the healer in every thought and prayer about our day, our place, our world.
We all can follow this course. Practice it. Heal with it. And, finally, overcome the fear that makes us believe all is lost. All good is found - in loving.
Let love be without
dissimulation. Abhor that
which is evil; cleave to that
which is good. Be kindly
affectioned one to another
with brotherly love; in honour
preferring one another.
Romans 12:9, 10
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society