The prayer of loving divinely
To love divinely is to humbly let the Christly truth of man be present in our thoughts and heart.
This article was published on August 5, 2021 as a web original.
As I was reading about autocrats, international and domestic injustice, division, and racism, my opinion of many political leaders was less than charitable. “Someday they will pay!” I thought to myself. It was so easy to castigate these leaders.
Yet the author of First John in the Bible pointedly says that if we hate our brother, whom we can see, then it is impossible to love God, whom we cannot see. In fact, he declares we are liars if we say we love God while hating our brother (see 4:20). That cut me to the quick as I realized how much anger had been fueling my thoughts. But it also lit the path I needed to walk.
Of course, I didn’t desire to be identified as a liar. I really did want, as Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “something better, higher, holier, than is afforded by a material belief in a physical God and man” (p. 258)—a material belief that paints an insufficient and inaccurate picture of the true, spiritual identity of each of us.
I thought about the life Christ Jesus led and the example he left for us. How did Jesus think about his own executioners? He asked God to forgive them, “for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Even in Jesus’ greatest trial, he was able to rise above any desire for revenge. But how to rise to that altitude of thought—that generosity of spirit? Mrs. Eddy points us in the right direction: “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (Science and Health, p. 494). In that hour of human need, what did Jesus do? He loved divinely.
Jesus’ words cut me to the quick as I realized how much anger had been fueling my thoughts.
To love divinely is to let Christ speak in one’s thought, one’s being—to humbly let the Christly truth of man be present in our thoughts and heart. Hymn 222 in the Christian Science Hymnal tells us of this divine activity in the human heart:
How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meekness will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.
This Christ, this eternal, indestructible idea of God, comes to our consciousness regardless of time, location, or circumstance. We recognize it through spiritual sense when we turn to God.
So what about me, and the anger I had been harboring? The first question I asked myself was “How did God make man, whether an autocrat, a politician, or me?” The first chapter of Genesis states that we are made in the image and likeness of God, Spirit. God knows us only as His likeness—spiritual; good; the image of Love, of divine Mind; intelligent; guided by spiritual sense and wisdom; not guided or influenced by evil. God does not know us as tyrannical, ignorant, cruel, egotistical, stupid, partisan, divisive, or racist.
God knows us only as His likeness—spiritual, the image of Love.
Man, God’s idea, is not material, “not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements,” because “the likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit. . . .
“The real man cannot depart from holiness, nor can God, by whom man is evolved, engender the capacity or freedom to sin” (Science and Health, p. 475).
Instead, man—each one of us—is good, loving, innocent, and tender. The Christ enables me to see my fellow man, my brothers and sisters, spiritually, regardless of political station, affiliation, national identity, or occupation.
And the Christ assures us that this spiritual creation is the only reality, emanating from God—from divine Life, Truth, Principle, and Love. Science and Health states: “There is but one way to heaven, harmony, and Christ in divine Science shows us this way. It is to know no other reality—to have no other consciousness of life—than good, God and His reflection, and to rise superior to the so-called pain and pleasure of the senses” (p. 242). To see this truth, to maintain this spiritual vision of divine Mind’s creation, is to love divinely, to love our brothers and sisters in the divinely inspired way Jesus showed us.
I saw that in order to love God more, to be obedient and to trust Him, I must turn to Christ and let the anger dissolve. I must be willing to ask, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And when I err, when anger gets the better of me, I can pray to God for “the dear Christ” to enter my heart, which brings forgiveness and humility.
Then, I can pray to know that there is only one God, one Love, one Principle and Truth, one Mind, one Life, one Soul. In all of God’s creation, there is no mortal man, no mortality, no limitation. There is no cruelty, no injustice, no division among God’s children, no ideology or action based on race. Instead, there is only the infinite expressiveness of God. All that exists is God’s perfect, pure, and innocent creation, always reflecting Him.
For the brotherhood of man to become established in our daily experience, it must be rooted in an acknowledged and lived understanding of God’s oneness and allness. Mrs. Eddy promises in Science and Health, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,—whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed” (p. 340).
Now is the time to love divinely. Now is the time to acknowledge one God and His infinite creation. Now is the time to recognize and affirm that God’s child—you, me, and every other individual we see, or read or hear about—is spiritual, perfect, and good, made in God’s image and likeness. For we are all God’s children.