Living love, wherever we are
Good old predictive text. That software designed to anticipate our responses based on language patterns doesn’t always get it quite right. Answering a tech’s query about my internet browser, I wrote, “Primarily, I am a Safari user.” My phone adjusted this to “Ordinarily, I am a sardine!”
While this was cause for hearty laughter, a more recent predictive text change gave me pause. Explaining why I wouldn’t buy a product sold exclusively in the United States, I wrote, “I live in London.” But the message crossed the Atlantic as “I love in London.”
What a lovely way to describe where we live! It’s the place where we get to live our love for family, friends, and an entire community. A hymn says,
Make channels for the streams of Love,
Where they may broadly run;
And Love has overflowing streams,
To fill them every one.
(Richard C. Trench, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 182)
Wherever life takes us, we’re there to be a transparency for divine Love, God, whose pure affection and care are native to us as Love’s sons and daughters. “Make channels for the streams of Love” could even describe God’s blueprint for creation. God has created infinite channels to express Love’s inexhaustible love, and we’re each a unique channel. In fact, that’s all we are: a pure and spiritually perfect expression of God’s all-embracing love.
Of course, it doesn’t always feel that way. It can seem as though there’s a kind of mental character rewriter that constantly misrepresents us to ourselves in a far less humorous way than an off-base predictive text. It might concede that we have a smattering of love in us but are generally sad, self-concerned, or even self-condemning mortals.
This claim would flip the immortal truth of being exemplified in the love lived by Jesus in 1st-century Judea. He said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). Yet, so often when we think of our own perpetual spiritual oneness with God, it gets mistranslated to “I’m an isolated material selfhood cut off from good, God.”
The truth expressed in Jesus’ statement above is Christ, the message Jesus knew so well, which ceaselessly comes to each of us from the divine Mind, God. Its misrepresentation is from the godless false talker called the carnal, or mortal, mind. Every attitude, action, or circumstance detailing a separation from God, good, is mortal mind’s attempted rewrite of Mind’s flawless creation and Mind’s purpose for each of us. Knowing this, and understanding that mortal mind is actually a term of convenience used to denote a mentality that has no genuine existence, we can take a thoughtful step back. We can affirm what’s truly going on: the forever unfoldment of God’s infinite spiritual goodness.
Mortal mind’s most ubiquitous rewrite tells us we’re self-serving mortals made up of fleshly elements subject to malfunction, contagion, accident, and decay. This manifests itself as self-love, self-aggrandizement, and egotism on the one hand, and injury, disease, or deterioration on the other. Yet, when we seek the unaltered and unaltering Science or divine truth of being, we find the opposite message: We are changeless spiritual representations of God, immune to limiting, material conditions. Genuinely grasping this truth leads to regeneration and healing.
So we need to filter what we take in about ourselves. Here’s one way this is described in the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “In Science, all being is eternal, spiritual, perfect, harmonious in every action. Let the perfect model be present in your thoughts instead of its demoralized opposite” (p. 407).
Implementing this counsel is following in Jesus’ footsteps. He always had this perfect model in thought, with powerful impact. Faced with a man whose hand had withered, he asked him to stretch it out, and it was restored to full usefulness. Finding a follower’s mother-in-law bedridden with fever, he prayed for her; the fever abated, and she resumed her normal activities. Urged to accuse a sinner of her sins, Jesus instead sent her on her way uncondemned and empowered to see that she could cease sinning. Jesus’ understanding of God’s love even overcame the supposed finality of death on several occasions.
This was the acme of living love. And our willingness to follow in his hallowed footsteps, no matter how modestly, is our reason for being where we are. We are there to live the Christly love that Jesus exemplified.
If our thoughts tell us differently, that’s mortal mind saying we are sardines. And while spiritual reformation and regeneration are more demanding than simply laughing off a lie, the belief that we are self-centered mortals is provably as absurd as that predictive text. We are children of the living God. This is our enduring spiritual identity, and our purpose is to glorify God by uniquely expressing Love’s healing love, wherever we are.
Tony Lobl, Associate Editor