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Sunday Message for February 18, 2018

HEART OF LOVE

This month, the month of love, has been about "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" and so far this month, we have done that by focusing on our Heart's Dreams and Desires. Today we are going to shift gears a bit and get to the Heart of a very important matter, a matter that is really important in our world today. We know right now that what the world needs now is love, sweet love. Right?

What the world needs now is love, sweet love; it's the only thing that there's just too little of. What the world needs now is love sweet love. No, not just for some but for everyone, . . . A song made popular by Jackie DeShannon in 1965 and then again by Dionne Warwick!

These words from Ernest Holmes in What Religious Science Teaches, seem particularly important right now:
"If we would look for a God of love we must look long and deeply into each other. We must look away from the differences until we penetrate into the Unity of the Whole. Love alone reveals love."a

The question is, what do we do when it is hard to love? And we see a lot of behaviors and situations that are hard to love in our world today, don't we? The recent school shooting in Florida is one of them.

Well, I heard a great answer to that question once from news commentator, author and social activist Van Jones, who happened to be speaking at a Revelations Conference at Agape. He said: "When it's hard to love, love harder."b

Doing that is high and holy work, that's for sure. But what could be more important? Today, we look at how we can "love harder" in some very real and tangible ways.

LOVE HARDER

Before we get to those very real and tangible ways, I want to remind you of the power of love.

A lot of research has been done on babies born addicted to drugs because of the addiction of their mothers.c Not surprising, these babies tend to be smaller in size than normal, they have weaker vital signs and are more lethargic than other babies. And their mortality rate is very high. Many of them simply don't survive.

Initially, these underweight and lethargic babies were given everything required for their physical health. They received medication and food and drink, but still this was not enough to keep them well; actually to even keep many of them alive.

However, they have found if volunteers regularly spent time with them and held them, rocked them in their arms and spoke lovingly and gently to them, then suddenly the health of the babies began to improve dramatically -- their weight increased, their vital signs improved and the mortality rate drastically decreased.

This probably doesn't surprise us. Knowing the power of love, we could see how these little babies improved so significantly because they were given massive amounts of love by the volunteers who held them. It looks like the love given TO them released in them those natural hormones and enzymes that were required for them to begin growing in a healthy way. And the scientists agreed. Based on the evidence, they concluded that these infants improved because they needed to be loved in order to develop normally.

But, let's think about it in a different way. We know that we are perfect, whole and complete expressions of the Divine. There is nothing that needs to be added to us to make us more perfect, more whole or more complete. And, we know that Love is our natural state. That is who and what we are. We are made in the image and likeness of the Supreme Essence of Love. We are Love incarnate.

Since we are intrinsically whole, perfect and complete, and since we are Love incarnate, then the Truth is that nothing needs to be added to us or GIVEN to us - it only needs to be released from us.

If we look at this story of the babies from this spiritual perspective, there's an entirely different conclusion. The babies became healthy and thrived NOT so much because they were given love, but because they were placed in an environment where the intrinsic Love within them was called forth. What healed their physical bodies was not so much the love they received from others, but the love that was released FROM within them.

That is big, isn't it? Really big! So, let me say it again: The babies became healthy and thrived NOT so much because they were given love, but because they were placed in an environment where the intrinsic Love within them was called forth.

What healed their physical bodies was not so much the love they received from others, but the love that was released FROM within them.

Rumi once said: "Your task is not to seek love, but merely seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."d

And that is what will heal our world. When enough people create the opportunity - the environment - the situation -- for the barriers to be dissolved so that love can be released from within humanity, we will see a new day.

OK, that's all good theory, but what can we actually, tangibly do to create that environment? That is where the rubber meets the road. We often think Love is a sense, a feeling, but actually I believe it is a verb. Love is actually a behavior. Love is the way we show up, the things we do, the way we speak, the way we treat one another.

Every time we love in a tangible, behavioral way, even if it is in a very small way, we create the environmental to release Love from within others. Even when it is difficult .. . or should I say, especially when it is difficult!

Meet every act of hatred with an act of love and unity - and it doesn't matter if your act of love and unity directly relates to the act of hatred or not! Remember our job is to release Love from within! Remember, "when it's hard to love, love harder."

I researched the internet on Ways to Bring More Love into the world and found some great stuff! I suggest you do it too. I want to give you a dozen ideas for bringing greater love into our world. Some of these won't be new ideas - the question... is do you do them? Some may be new and then the question is, will you do them?

I want you to be with them and feel into the idea that "if I did this, I would create an environment of greater love and therefore release it in humanity." For those of you who want the list, we'll post it on Facebook and this talk is on our website, both the word document and the audio version.

1. Go up to someone you've never met before, hand them a $10 bill and say "You look absolutely awesome/ stunning/gorgeous/beautiful/handsome (whatever you want to say!)" followed by "Have a great day!" and then walk away. This one is challenging for a lot of people in many different ways. It might feel confronting for your values around money, around whether or not you should be approaching strangers... which is why it's so great to do. Growth for you, and a delightful surprise for them.

2. When you see a police officer, fire fighter, a service man or woman, nurse, doctor, EMT, etc. - thank them. These are some of the most difficult jobs, so the next time you see one of them, sincerely thank them for doing their job.

3. Ask "What may I do to help?" Maybe it's someone you know who has a lot on their plate right now and might be feeling overwhelmed (i.e. maybe they just had a baby, or they're depressed, or they recently went through a breakup, or they have a big exam coming up) or maybe it's a complete stranger you see struggling to carry a heavy box. Ask them what you can do for them and then do it.

4. Offer to buy a homeless person whatever he wants from the store he's sitting in front of. If you see someone who appears to be homeless sitting in front of a store asking for change, ask if he/she wants anything from inside of it on your way in. And don't just lob the question over your shoulder as your feet keep moving. Really commit to it. Make the offer, gift them whatever they ask for (within your financial means), have a quick chat and/or shake their hand after, and be on your merry little way.

5. Do a 30-day forgiveness meditation for someone you are angry with or you dislike (personal or public!) Even if you never talk to them in real life, the world will be a better and more loving place if you have let go of whatever resentment you may have held or you may currently be holding toward them, and you will further free yourself emotionally in the process.

6. Admit you were wrong, but don't ask for forgiveness. Acknowledge and sincerely apologize for something you did that was less than skillful in a relationship, without asking for forgiveness. Why? Because asking for forgiveness is to help you feel better, right? If you really want to give an act of love, then think only of the other person.

7. Write someone a Letter of Appreciation. Work on it for a few days before you send it. Don't make it seem hurried and as though you just signed your name on a Hallmark card. Tell them specifically why you appreciate them.

8. Be lavish with your verbal praise. Tell your friends why you love them. Tell your parents why you love them. Compliment your co-workers/friends/lover in front of other people regularly. Only say things that you mean, but say them often. Again be specific! The next time you think something nice about someone, say it out loud.

9. Don't just wish somebody a happy birthday on Facebook. Text them. Call them. Send a card.

10. Choose Who You Associate With. Stop associating with people who don't do anything but make you feel bad about yourself or about life. Don't talk about that fact or about them. Just do something else.

11. So, if you can't do that . . . Make a list ahead of time of things to talk about with those people that do not involve complaining about life. Start with these: where you want to be in 10 years; where you'd like to see our world in 10 years; how you could team up together to do something good for someone else; a topic you feel strongly (and positively) about supporting.

12. From one of the many internet sites of how to bring more love into the world: "Acknowledge that there's a lot of stuff in this world. There are a lot of people who will say mean things about you and to you. There will be people who you want to punch and things that will make you want to scream. You will bear witness to unimaginable cruelty and severe injustice and it will make you want to turn your insides out and give up on humanity entirely - but choose to love anyway."

Or, as Mother Teresa once said: "People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway."

So there are twelve ideas for creating an environment where the intrinsic Love within people can be called forth. What do you say we give it a try. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: "We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization."e

Let's take that opportunity over the next 36 days. Why 36 days? Well, it will give you the opportunity to do one of these activities a day and roll through them three times! And journal how you feel and what you experience as a result of it. Post your experiences on our Facebook page and let's create a buzz, a stir and big deal about bringing some big doses of love to our world!

Because here's the Heart of the Matter: We are here to love each other even when it's hard and we are here to remind each other even when we forget.



aErnest Holmes What Religious Science Teaches>, p. 12
bVan Jones
cThe Quest: A Journey of Spiritual Rediscovery Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla
dRumi
eMartin Luther King, Jr



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