There is an eternal wealth of Love, an endless space for the expressions of divine Love, infinite modes of divine goodness. We all are part Love's everlasting, graceful design. All of the goodness that is God and that is from God, is expressed in His/Her children. Each one of us. So our potential to be part of Love's warmth and care and healing presence isn't so much materially personal, it's actually divine.
So how do we experience this practical, healing effect of Love in our lives? Is giving more noble than receiving - is helping more powerful than being helped?
The day when I understood the huge dimension in this question, I had a conversation with a family member. And as we talked I could see that it is truly divine to perceive the need of help and let others give it. Within the infinity of Love there is room for everything, and the ability to accept help with grace is glorious.
I read in the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy:
"... the exercise of the sentiments — hope, faith, love — is the prayer of the righteous. This prayer, governed by Science instead of the senses, heals the sick.
In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all, as Jesus showed with the loaves and the fishes, — Spirit, not matter, being the source of supply." (SH 206:10-18)
When I read this once again, it became pretty obvious to me, that the practice of hope, faith, and love, is a prayer that is honorable and needed by both - caregiver and the one receiving care. The individual who is helping at a certain moment and the individual who is being helped can both exercising hope, faith, and love in their own individual way. It is a generous thing to be grateful and patient while being helped, while at the same time the individual giving help is being blessed because he/she is in a position into which the other individual brought him/her in the first place - under the guidance of divine Love. Whatever is truly beneficial to one must be a blessing to all because of the underlying law of the fairness, equality, and recompense of Love. God has only favorite children.
As I took a train home the same day I was open to this glorious freedom of divine Love in a special way. So more times than I can count I was just there when someone needed something, and I could give it. I could answer questions or be a calm and support for someone in a dire spot because of a cancelled train. When I started my walk home from the train station I stopped at a stationary story and there again was involved two times in a kind of improvised q&a session, which I could master and share answers.
At home I was confronted with our daughter's information that her bike was missing, and since this is so out of the question, we only briefly spoke about the possibilities where it might be. Since the option of a possible theft was completely rejected, the openness to a different answer was there. So it became clear where the bicycle should be, and there it turned out to be.
I have been in the last months on the receiving end of help many times - and I have been able to give help many times. I am deeply grateful to see more clearly the healing and empowering effect of Love in both modes of living. I also remembered spiritual insights from looking at different ways of responding to a gift. I wrote about it here.
So Love is expressed in the way we see the needs of others and respond to the best of our abilities with a generous heart. And Love is expressed in the grace and nobility in which we accept help being given to us without any reservation, shame, or selfishness. There is a wonderful equality from the perspective of divine Love - the dance of Love needs all participants and the rhythm is Soul, God.
In my practice I encounter the need for change, for progress, for renewal - mostly of myself, but also of others. It may sound like "I need more colors in my life, every day the same, all monochromatic" (that is one single base hue only). This morning cycling through a huge gorgeous park to a reading room of a library, I drove through lawn sprinklers of gigantic proportions, producing the most glorious rainbows under gigantic beech trees. And seeing a rainbow is always very special, don't you agree?
This year I will spend part of my summer time at Arc-en-Ciel in Switzerland, a Christian Science summer camp in its 50th year now. This camp offers a mix of togetherness, fun, development (from Bible exploration to sustainability, art, and more), most of all spiritual refreshment and empowerment. I was asked to be the Christian Science Practitioner on site. The organizing team is fantastic and we are ready to roll.
The theme of this year's camp is from Paul: "...walk as children of light!" (Ephesians 5:8). It is a wonderful motto and you might already have an idea what that could mean in your own life. Certainly Paul knew what he was writing about but evidently also perceiving the need to give more specific ideas to live by in order to heal the question mark on his readers' foreheads. So he sent the light of his spiritual teaching through a prism, dispersing the beam of light. A prism separates the long wavelengths from the shorter wavelengths and makes light visible, in a way - that's how we see colors. Paul gatheres nine qualities of light, from the other side of the prism, and these nine qualities, you might say, are the essence of a spiritual life, a life as "a child of light". They show the concrete uplift, relevance, and richness of spirituality in action. To walk as a child of light means that to be alive, productive, and truly content. It means making a difference in material concept of world - much as light does in darkness. Here are the nine qualities Paul mentions, in the translation of J.B. Phillips (Galatians 5: 22,23), writing from experience:
"love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance and self-control."
In the Message these same qualities are related this way:
"But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely."
Arc-en-Ciel means "rainbow" in French, and along with the campers we all are made for a colorful life, a rich life, an abundant life, in every land, in every culture. Spiritual living is light, no darkness at all - the total absence of light - which enables us to stop the repetition of the same story over and over again. There is a startling openness and surprising immediacy of the Spiritual. As the properties of visible light are intensity, direction, frequency or spectrum, so is it with our experience. The qualities Paul invites us to live present an infinite array of possibilities, opportunities of healing practice: kindness, generosity, and self-control can be explored, intensified, be given a direction, can be more frequent and display a larger spectrum.
There is no obligation to stare into the dark of materialism, every day. It is not our duty to live pressured lives in a hamster wheel or to bear the boredom of days without purpose. We can stop agreeing with the shadow of an existence and lift our thought towards spiritual living - which Jesus showed to be the only existence there is. We can turn thought to the elegant, beautiful order of the universe under the control of divine Principle. We can acknowledge that divine Love is present, embracing us with tender care and comfort and filling our days with --- light! And we respond by opening our eyes and acknowledging the warmth all around. All the good you are experiencing today is divine. All those lovely qualities of light are divine to start with and belong to Soul, God. They are not human accomplishments - they show forth in beauteous ways what light is: The essence of Life.
I picked one quality in particular to give my own "walk as a child of light" direction and to explore the spectrum of this quality in a more specific way. I intend to see the results very soon. I am looking up the word, write up a small concept and I am defining aspects of my thinking and living which will benefit from this discipline - to let my light shine more brightly and more consistently than before. Do you have one, too?
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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