Learning God’s love through loving

A Christian Science perspective: Uplifting thoughts in preparation for Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is often linked with romantic love, although many people all over the world make it a special day to show friends, family, colleagues, and even pets the love and affection they feel for them.

But sometimes love seems palpably absent. Maybe it has turned sour or fizzled out; maybe hurt feelings are running the show. Most of us at one time or another have yearned to find a more lasting sense of comfort – a love that doesn’t come and go in its sweet presence and inspiration and is not dependent on circumstances or people for its expression and fulfillment.

Is there such a love? I have learned in my study and practice of Christian Science that there truly is, and the good news is that it is never confined to a single day. It is available every moment. It is the love that comes from God, who is infinite, unfailing Love itself. Because God is Spirit, then Love is Spirit, and therefore the love of divine Love is wholly spiritual and unchanging, unscathed by loss, disappointment, or misunderstanding. Turning to God in prayer brings His love to our lives and to all those whose lives we touch.

There is a Bible verse that begins to explain God as Love. It says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (I John 4:8, Modern English Version). If God is Love itself, then loving spiritually really is the way we get to know God and begin to understand the deeper sense of love that comes from and expresses God. God’s love is universal as well as individual. It embraces all, and it embraces each of us. It is stable, consistent, and inclusive.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science and the founder of this newspaper, writes, “True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us” (“No and Yes,” p. 39). Christian Science teaches that divine Love is the creator of every man, woman, child, and creature; that God is our Father and Mother, warmly caring for us. Everyone is a beautiful, whole idea made in the image and likeness of God and possessing no elements unlike Him – unlike Love. God has only ever caused us to love.

Jesus commended to us the great commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves (see Luke 10:27). Wasn’t he asking us to honor God first as the true source of love, and to express this love to others? The Christ, the divine nature of Love that Jesus so perfectly demonstrated, is so natural for each of us to begin to understand and express. The Christ comes to our thought, imparting a spiritual, loving perception of others as God’s children, healing all hate, fear, and envy that would oppose our natural outpouring of love. For me, knowing that my oneness with divine Love is a spiritual fact and the only reality of my being helps me recognize and remove whatever is unlike Love in my thinking. The Christ awakens in us the perception and acceptance of divine Love as our very life, free of disease, fear, pain, or threat.

The love of God takes root in human thought, showing us what we are and what we have as children of God. By praying to understand the precious relationship each of us has to God, our lives can only be enriched with purpose, activities, and relationships that honor and give evidence of the one source of all good. As we learn to love the way we are eternally loved, our lives are permanently and irreversibly blessed.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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