Today (January 18) in the United States of America is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
During these challenging, sometime turbulent yet transformative times, the quality I’ve thought most about is love. I’ve worked on the Wide Horizon campus and from home to support the daily loving, good works of Christian Science nurses and supportive staff who care for our residents.
In this light, I’m thankful for Reverend King’s example of Christian faith and practice. I appreciate his many good works and words. Among Dr. King’s many profound statements, he said this of love:
“Love has within it a redemptive power. There is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love, they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says…’love your enemies.’” (A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.)
We need, therefore, to love our enemies to be a true follower of Jesus Christ, who desired all people to “…love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gospel of Matthew 19:19) To truly do this, to see healing, it seems to me that we need to know God loves all His creation, all His children. And, we need to wholeheartedly love God. We need to love ourselves and others as God’s spiritual man – the image and likeness of Spirit, God, as stated in the first chapter of Genesis. Scripture also states, “God is love.” (I John 4:8)
I’m also grateful for Mary Baker Eddy, who was a Reverend and the Pastor Emeritus of The First Church of Christ, Scientist. Her thought-provoking writings have helped me understand more about divine Love. She wrote, “…Love is reflected in love.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 17) This Love is unconditional and powerful. This Love can and does heal. This Love transforms and restores.
When working in a Christian Science nursing environment, we strive to maintain an atmosphere of “Love reflected in love.” We do this partly by living the Principle and practice of our faith, as given by Mrs. Eddy: “The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 113)
In an article from The Christian Science Monitor, Ken Makin wrote, “In his time, Dr. King’s words weren’t always popular, but they were prophetic.” (“The Forgotten King: Commentary on protest, race, and MLK” June 5, 2020) One could say the same of Mrs. Eddy’s words and writings. She and Dr. King, respectively, both turned the other cheek many times and loved their enemies. They knew the transformative power of love and healing power of forgiveness.
Reverend King stated, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” And he said, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” (Speech accepting Nobel Peace Prize, Dec. 10, 1964) In this light of unconditional love, I figuratively strive to walk with Christ Jesus, and with Rev. King, who also stated, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” (Where Do We Go from Here, 1967)
So, friends and readers, who are beloved of God, “… let us love one another: for love is of God.” (I John 4:7)
D. Brian Boettiger