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Look for and FIND LOVE in all the RIGHT places!

Julie Ward, C.S.B.
Posted Sunday, January 25th, 2004

Look for and FIND LOVE in all the RIGHT places!
Application ideas on LOVE - our weekly Bible Lesson for Jan. 26-Feb. 1, 2004
by Julie Ward, C.S. (Westwood, Massachusetts)

When Mary Baker Eddy taught her class of November 1898, she asked her students, "What is the best way to bring about an instantaneous healing?" Irving Tomlinson writes, "There were many answers, but when they had finished, she said that it is to love, to be love and to live love. There is nothing but Love. Love is the secret of all healing, the Love which forgets self and dwells in the secret place, in the realm of the real. But it is not mere human love that heals, she pointed out, not a love for a person nor for anything - it is Love itself. The realization of this love for a moment will heal the sick or raise the dead." (Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy, pages 90-91)

Because we yearn to heal, we yearn to love. And this lesson gives us so much practical guidance about living Love and BEING Love.

GOLDEN TEXT -- It's not enough to talk about love - let your life be the continual expression of Love itself!

RESPONSIVE READING - The word "charity" here is the deepest sense of love. The Interpreter's Bible says, "This was love, not affection for an adorable object, but the undeserved grace which they had received. Man could not return this to God; he could only respond to God's love by loving his fellow men in the same way." All of the things that we think of as humanly good add up to nothing if they don't express Love. They have the hollow ring of the sounding brass or the tinkling cymbal. What are some of the tests of true love? - It suffers long, and is kind
- It doesn't envy.
- It doesn't brag.
- It isn't arrogant or self-centered
- It doesn't behave in ways that make others uncomfortable.
- It's not selfish.
- It isn't touchy or argumentative.
- It doesn't think evil about others or about oneself.
- It's never happy about others' failures or problems, but finds happiness only in knowing the truth.
- It is patient, steadfast, hopeful - no matter what!
- It NEVER FAILS!

As you go through the week, hold up your sense of love to this list, and see if it stands the test. It's easy to say that we love someone, but if we actually reflect the Love that is God, our love will be strong and steady. It's the wholeness and oneness of Love reflected.

SECTION I -- "Love one another."
How do we know God? By loving one another. We love because God is Love, and we reflect Him. So our Love isn't just an emotion that we turn on and off as we respond to others. It's the very substance of our being. We can't help but love. Jesus knew this. His was a life of ceaseless, perfect, impersonal love. He said, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." Look for opportunities this week to love others as Jesus loved them - by seeing them as perfect ideas of God. (SH 4) The reflection can't help being just like the original - there's no other choice! So we can't help being just like God. We can't help but love!

SECTION II - two rules of perfect love
This section begins with two basic rules for loving. The first is often called the GOLDEN rule and is paraphrased, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." See how you can apply this as you go through the week. Apply it to your driving, your housework, your conversations. Think about how you would like to be treated, and - more important - how you would like people to think of you. Then think of them that way. See them as they are - without flaws, without lack, perfectly innocent and whole.

The second rule is "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Don't just love your neighbor as much as you love yourself (although that's always a good start). Love your neighbor AS yourself - AS the child of God, His own beloved idea. And be sure to love yourself AS you love your neighbor. No one is left out of this impartial, universal love.

The parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates these rules in action. In the story, the priest and the Levite, whose work it was to comfort others, passed by on the other side. Were they too busy? Were they afraid? Do we "pass by on the other side" when we see someone suffering? Let's look for opportunities to bind up the wounds of those who suffer physically or mentally. Let's refuse to "pass them by on the other side." Let's follow Jesus' command, "Go, and do thou likewise."

(SH6) Love is the true incentive, and when Love leads the way, our speech and action will always be right. (SH8) Theories, speeches, arguments - who needs them? What is needed is the "tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid." If it isn't "aflame with divine Love", it isn't legitimate Christian Science.

SECTION III - One Father, One Family
(B8) We do have one God, one Father, so there is no need for controversy. We were created to love one another as brothers and sisters. (B11) ... And there is neither young nor old, Republican nor Democrat, Christian Scientist nor non- Christian Scientist! (B12) We don't have to wish to have that mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus. We already have it, because God, Mind, is our Father, too. That mind is joyous, free, calm, inspired, unselfish, and that mind is ours today.

One Father, One God, One Mind! Everything that claims to divide us is erased by this one simple rule. We relate to one another only as we relate to God.

SECTION IV -- The inevitable result of God's love is healing.
(B15) Even after twelve years of searching for healing through medicine, this woman was "nothing bettered but rather grew worse." She was ready to abandon her trust in material methods for healing. Her deep desire to even touch Jesus indicated her love for and trust in Good. She reached out with her whole being, and Jesus felt that deep desire for good. He said to her, "Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague." Do we trust the Christ enough to BE whole of whatever seems to plague us?

(SH16) This is the topic sentence of our textbook. Mrs. Eddy tells us in one short sentence what constitutes healing prayer, and then spends the rest of the book explaining why it works. Check your prayers against these three points: Does it have: - an absolute faith that all things are possible to God?
- a spiritual understanding of Him?
- an unselfed love?
If the answer is yes, it WILL reform the sinner and heal the sick.

SECTION V -- rejecting Pharisaism, accepting humility
The Pharisees were scandalized that Jesus' disciples ate bread without first washing their hands, but Jesus warned them against being so busy with the traditions of men that they ignored the commandments of God. Consider his parable of the Pharisee and the publican. Which one do we resemble? Are we just glad that we're not like those poor suffering wretches, or do we humbly ask God's forgiveness? Are we ready to learn more of God's love every day? Do we realize our need to learn?

Pharisees aren't just people from Jesus' time. Mrs. Eddy defines Pharisee in the Glossary as "Corporeal and sensuous belief; self-righteousness; vanity; hypocrisy." (SH22) So a Pharisee isn't a person or a group of people, but a false mode of thought. Anatomy, or self-knowledge, helps us to detect that kind of thinking in our own mentality and to cast it out, replacing it with humility, receptivity, tolerance, and patience. Mrs. Eddy poses a searching question for us to consider: "If a friend informs us of a fault, do we listen patiently to the rebuke and credit what is said? Do we not rather give thanks that we are 'not as other men'?" (SH23) Or do we justify ourselves or get angry or get our feelings hurt? If we turn from the fault and seek truth righteously, "through Christ's precious love these efforts are crowned with success." (SH25)

SECTION VI -- Our marching orders - get out there and love, love, love!
This section urges us to make our love practical through healing. Jesus commands us, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received; freely give." (B22) Isn't that the nature of love? It demands to be shared. It can't be a mere theory or intellectual concept. If we truly love, that love will transform us. We will put off the old man, and put on the new. We will be born again. Words are not enough. We must live love.

Here are our marching orders straight from our textbook: "Christians are under as direct orders now, as they were then, to be Christlike, to possess the Christ- spirit, to follow the Christ-example, and to heal the sick as well as the sinning." (B29) We can only do this as we live our oneness with infinite Love. Forward - march!

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