What if it’s all about love?

A Christian Science perspective: On devoting every moment to being more loving.

Each of us has to try to make sense of the world we live in, and it can sometimes feel that most news we get from around the world is bad. Each of us also has to figure out our own career and purpose, and how we can make a difference for good in our world. We have to wrestle with how to be healthy and how to value who we are. And then too often, separated in their own little corner, are feelings about love. But that’s completely upside down.

In fact, shouldn’t the purpose of life be to rebel against that tendency, and instead to make everything about love? Isn’t that what Christ Jesus did? The unbounded Christly love that animated Jesus enabled him to rise above even the intensely focused hate he experienced on the cross. His example shows us that our own yearning to love even in the midst of difficulties is the same Christ, the true idea of Love, speaking to our hearts. We just need to respond to that impulse, not bury it.

Love isn’t just friendliness and well-intended human affection. Love is so much bigger. Love is intelligent power for good, instead of destruction. Love is infinite meaning and purpose, instead of confusion and anger. Love is divine action and healing, instead of chaos and coping. Moreover, love is never limited, never without an answer; it is always present, because in its fullness, Love is God. And because divine Love is God, that means our ability to feel and express love is never determined by our personality type, or whether we “deserve” love, or the circumstances we find ourselves in, but by the forever fact that God is cherishing and animating us with love.

When Christ Jesus said to “love your enemies,” he wasn’t excusing evil. Rather, he was insisting that no claims of evil can separate us from a recognition that the real power and reality of life is Love. At its essence, isn’t evil a very aggressive suggestion to get us to believe that something other than Love is in control? Jesus’ words have as much to do with the effect that loving has on us, as they do with how much of an impact that love will have on our enemies. That is why he ended his command with, “that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven” (see Matthew 5:43-45). In other words, loving in any and every circumstance keeps us awake to the fact that God, divine Love, is supreme, and that we are actually the children, the very expression, of Love.

What if you decided that the only responsibility you had tomorrow was to express love? I’m not saying you should skip classes or quit your job or stop engaging in social media. But what if you decided that the only thing you were truly tasked with doing at school, on your job, or online was to be conscious that Love is supreme? How different would our purpose in life feel?

Isn't that what Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was pointing to when she wrote, “Truth, Life, and Love are the only legitimate and eternal demands on man, and they are spiritual lawgivers, enforcing obedience through divine statutes” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 184). Expressing Truth, Life, and Love – these are the only legitimate demands on you and me. Everything else is noise. When we accept that demand, we find our lives governed by good. We see that Love’s purpose is always for good, for health, for wholeness, and we find Love bringing those out in our lives.

People don’t tend to remember Jesus because of anything he did as a carpenter. They don’t remember Paul because of what he accomplished making tents. And they’re not likely to remember you or me because of any career moves we make. They remember the love, and the power of that love to heal and awaken in people a realization that the undergirding foundation of the whole universe is divine Love, is God. Because Love is the underlying Principle of all, we can do this. We can love.

This article was adapted from an editorial in the Aug. 8 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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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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