If we speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
I Corinthians 13:1-2
In Jesus’ footsteps
A Christian Science perspective
By John Biggs
Isn’t this story symbolically familiar? The comfort zone threatened. Something that disturbs the norm. The aha moment telling you that what lies beneath the surface is so much better. Then hesitancy about reaching for that depth and substance. Right here is where so much of life is decided. Do we stay comfortable or dive deeper? The good … or the best?
When I first heard about it, I was a bit skeptical. I was comfortable with my current understanding of Jesus’ teachings. I decided to engage, though, and then spent about a month participating in online discussions, enjoying music composed for this project and listening to audio stories by people living some pretty radical acts. I successfully incorporated the letter of some of these teachings – befriending “undesirables,” living abundantly, seeking the kingdom of God first – into my daily comfort zone.
Then last week, it hit me. I was downtown, being greeted by a man I’ve chatted with before. However, this man doesn’t dress or behave in a way that fits most people’s notions of normal, mine included. Whenever we talked in public, I was always spending half my time looking around to see who was watching me chat with him. I was living the letter of Jesus’ teachings about befriending folks not like myself, but I wasn’t engaging in the spirit and really taking this man into my heart. What’s more, I was not treating him as I would wish to be treated.
Did he notice? I don’t know. But here was my moment to dive deeper. I suddenly realized that it wasn’t about “successfully completing” a radical act or trying to fit it into society’s norms. The teachings of Jesus, or the teachings of any religious or inspirational figure, are not items on a checklist to be ticked off as I walk down the aisle of life. To live love – which I would venture is a summary of every spiritual and ethical path and teaching – means throwing out the checklists and being vitally, inseparably involved with the opportunity at hand to see just how beautiful, substantial, healthy, loving, and loved, we truly are. The “size” of the situation is irrelevant.
My study of Christian Science has shown me that Life is a synonym for God. So for me, the question means: Am I consciously living as the expression of that infinite joy and vitality that drives the whole universe? I also understand Love to be a synonym for God. So can I throw off the comfortable, and live so as to know nothing but Love itself?
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