My husband and I could demonstrate in a humble way what difference it makes when human thought is brought under the gravitational pull of divine Love and its order of events, the basic law of the powerhouse of Love. We were in search for the right buyers of our condominium and for a new condominium at about the same time, and at the proposal of a Christian Science practitioner we looked at the concept of home in the Bible. We were encouraged to pray with the story of the woman of Shunem. In this story as related in the fourth chapter of 2 Kings, a spiritually minded woman prepares a place for a prophet, for Elisha, who occasionally comes through her village. She tells her husband: “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”
(2. Kings 4) This story is about divine perception and about spiritual attraction at the same time.
This lamp my husband and I understood for our situation to be the expectancy of Love as expressed in gratitude, spiritual sense, willingness to follow. Light in "the window" of thought - our task! There is something wonderfully meek and gentle about putting out a mental light – while at the same time looking out for a light which will draw us home. The acknowledgment and perception of spiritual truth enable us to see the specifics of good for our experience, but also enable us to become visible to good in a specific way. Spiritual understanding is this light on the candlestick. I actively included in my prayer everyone without a home, refugees, poor and lost people on the go, addressing homelessness as a terrible imposition on humanity which Love’s embrace rectifies.
In Isaiah (chapter 60) we read: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee.”
What we perceived was the double action of the powerhouse of Love: There is the light marking home and there is the capacity and guidance to perceive this light. Spiritual sense is the effect of Spirit on us, the effect of the will of Love to be felt and known – it marks the attraction of Love and makes Love visible. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come.” Our house found a family after our commitment to Love’s design became honest and sincere, but I remember one moment when being shaken with the prospect of selling our home, leaving our beloved family home behind. It was again a comment by my husband which broke through my sadness. “We are never selling or leaving home, dear; we are just selling a house.” In order to sort through step two of our experience, finding a new home for ourselves, we had gone for a few days to the seaside to pray and listen and sort this out.
The finding happened a few hours later, when my husband closed his Bible with vigor and declared an end to searching as opposed to finding. A phone call from a realtor reached us. We went directly to this gorgeous pre-WWII residential building in a historic area of our town which our family cherished for a long time, and learned it had been filled with classical music concerts for decades, something we deeply cherish, too. We can confidently say that the understanding of home as a powerhouse brought with it the ability to see and perceive its concrete expression in our experience. It also strengthened us to replace a limited sense of home for the expansive view of home as the consciousness of divine Love.
Now in other areas, too, I find placing a mental lamp (announcing the demand) and at the same time looking out for the answer (the supply part) is a powerful tool. God's love is providing the inspiration for both.
Learning to love: We can do this! Mary Baker Eddy shares this revolutionary definition of prayer - which I brought into this colorful little image - in her work "No and Yes" on p. 39. Yes, this is true prayer - because it involves the kind of sacrifice of ego, true effort, which is the only activity that ever moves anything forward. It is affection, the willingness to listen rather than speak, patience, a generous heart - a guarantee for progress and healing.
If you think you can't do that, you have encountered what the American author Steven Pressfield calls "resistance". He writes that "resistance" is a force that is neither a personal thing nor aimed at any one individual, a force that aims at keeping things as they are. "Resistance" is expressed not just in discouragement, but also in negativity, in a rehearsal of "the same old story", in the stifling of aspirations through sarcasm, the stoking of fears, self-doubt - and procrastination. A "resistance" that has been around for a very long time - only open the Bible for a starter.
Christ Jesus gave us the mightier tool in order to deal with "resistance". He invited us to follow him and to get to know Life, Truth, and Love, as they truly are, the reality of being. Following Jesus' example of practical love and healing moves one in a new direction - upward, outward, into a space of freedom and meaningful work. The desire to learn is the new normal in the kingdom of heaven. A true and honest desire - a desire that marches on no matter what and that aims at mastering the art that we are in the middle of learning. As they say: All things are difficult, before they are easy.
Of course, learning includes a lot of aspects that are challenging and in a way not fun: memorizing vocabulary when you learn a language, finger exercises when you learn an instrument, countless hours in the gym when you learn fencing (and need to work at your legwork, for starters), it includes the acceptance of exams, of opportunities to show what you've learned, of using what you have learned. Eventually what you learned will feel normal, like the new language you speak, the instrument you can play, the fencing you show in a competition.
From Love's perspective there is no resistance to including all mankind in one affection. From a human perspective there is a fierce resistance against everything that moves us forward and away from a human self shaped by a family tree, circumstance, or opportunity. To include all mankind in one affection rather than moving forward a personal agenda makes constant demands on the way we think and act. The resistance to learning to love grows beautifully less and less and less as we master what we are learning more and welcome the sacrifices, the work involved, as part of the learning curve, never as a sign that we can't do it. "Learning to love" is for all of us the most meaningful and satisfying and empowering activity of any day. It glorifies Life, God, like nothing else.
You will be inspired by this outstanding example of someone who got to know prayer as a way of learning to love - and how this prayer brought forgiveness and healing. You can find the article from the Christian Science Sentinel here.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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