A Christian Science perspective.
Recently the Sunday Times [London] had a headline that I believe came as no surprise to many caregivers in the healing ministry. It said, “A wonder drug on the NHS [National Health Service] shelf: love” (Jan. 9). The article reports, “Clinical studies show that considerate care speeds healing, reduces complications and cuts readmissions, whereas creating fear and anxiety among patients has the opposite effect.”
This discovery is one that many people will applaud because there’s little doubt that such treatment will lead to more comfort and happiness for patients. It is a step in the right direction.
In the ultimate sense, however, the best care and love that can be practiced was shown by Christ Jesus, who understood that each individual is spiritual and under the care of God, divine Love. The greatest physician the world has ever known, Jesus healed through his understanding and obedience to God. His works were truly Love expressed. And what I find very significant is that he expected his followers to do the same. He told the disciples, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).
To me the key point of this verse is in the phrase “as I have loved you.” While there were times when Jesus needed to firmly instruct and even correct his disciples, the love he expressed toward them was unconditional and unlimited because its real source was God.
Human love, on the other hand, has its limitations. It gets tired, busy, stretched, overworked, or it “doesn’t have time right now.” But the love Jesus expressed had its source in divine Love, and it came to each individual through his or her consciousness of the Christ – God’s message of love to humanity. This love is never too busy or too late. It lifts one’s individual consciousness of love above human affection, to the spiritual understanding that frees us from limitations.
Each individual can feel and know this love because we are all spiritual, the children of God, as the Bible makes clear: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God” (I John 4:7). God made each one of us in His own image, in the image of Love, and as Love’s image, or reflection, we all have the natural capacity to express Love and to see it expressed by others.
Agape, the Greek word for unconditional love in Jesus’ instruction to “love one another,” is central to Jesus’ teachings. It is explained in the Apostle Paul’s famous discourse on love. The qualities it includes are patience, kindness, gentleness, hopefulness. It doesn’t get jealous, and it never boasts or gets angry. This is the love that heals. And once someone is touched by this kind of love, it’s natural to express it to others.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote, “Love is not something put upon a shelf, to be taken down on rare occasions with sugar-tongs and laid on a rose-leaf. I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results.... Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 250).
Unconditional love knows no faith boundaries, and it is practiced by people regardless of their religion or spiritual tradition. Because God is Love, Love is universal. When we feel that touch, we cannot help but express to others that which has touched us, healing our hearts and lives.