by Rev. Howard Ray Carey
''A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.''
This pronouncement, given through Jesus and recorded in John's gospel, seems a bit surprising at first. Why did he call it new? The command to love one's neighbor as oneself had been given long before, and recorded in the Old Testament. In the New Testament it has been elevated to prominence by Jesus, as He pronounced it to be equal to the command to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength.
The fact is that some degree of emphasis on love is found in all the great religions. Marcus Bach, director of the Fellowship for Spiritual Understanding, and a long-time teacher in the field of world religions, capsulizes such emphasis in his flier entitled Love In The World's Great Religions. It includes these quotes:
In what sense, then, is Jesus' commandment that we love one another even as He loves us a new commandment? The answer lies in the completeness and unconditional nature of this love of which He speaks, which He poured out to His disciples then, and which He continues to pour out even now ---- to the whole world.
Consider this: I may love my neighbor as myself. But if my love for myself is limited, sentimental and conditional, then my love for others can turn out to be also very limited, and thus of questionable value. But if I rise to the level where I love as Christ loves, from the higher Self or Soul level, then that is a new expression of love indeed, at least for most persons. This is the quality of love shown on the cross in the words: ''Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.'' Such love flows from the buddhic or Christ-consciousness plane, with the power to lift me and all humanity out of our darkness and fear into the clear light of brotherhood and oneness.
But in what sense can such love be the key to sharing? The answer should be quite evident. For if our love is not of this high Soul quality, then whatever sharing we may do will be very limited in scope, tainted by fear, and lacking in the needed motivation. Selfish individuals and governments sometimes do a bit of sharing ---- often because they are in a situation where they think they cannot avoid it ---- and usually with the motive of getting something deemed important for themselves in return. But a Mother Teresa or a Francis of Assisi pours out love so fully that it results in a sharing of life-energy, substance, and loving service with no strings attached, asking nothing in return.
Can we do likewise? Yes, we can, when we rise to the level of our true Selves, and serve from that high plane. Then this buddhic quality of love, which gives freely, making no demands, will naturally pour forth from us with the kind of sharing on all levels, which not only has power to heal and uplift a shattered world, but which also immeasurably enriches and frees our own lives as well.
Long ago the Christ, speaking through Jesus, expressed this truth in many ways, including the following gem (which we seem so slow to comprehend):''Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.'' (Luke 6:38)
Likewise, in the Messages which the Christ has been giving us through Benjamin Creme since 1977, these twin factors of love and sharing have been shown to be the paired principles basic to all that He comes to do among men, and that these principles of love and sharing must be focal in our life and work as we let him work through us to implement His purpose. In Message No. 91, for instance, He states:
ëëMy Light embraces all. My Love fills their hearts.'' In that same Message He stresses: ëëLearn to share, to grasp your brother's hand and know him as yourself. Teach this simple Truth and you teach the Law of God.''Let us note that with this realization of oneness the matter of sharing is seen in a new light ---- for we are in effect sharing with ourselves!
Many passages from these poignant Messages of the Christ might be cited to show how sharing flows naturally from real love. Let me conclude with a beautiful quote from Message No. 57. He bids us to send His words of love:ëë...throughout the world and reach the hearts of your brothers. Help them, too, to share in a great manifestation of God's Love, and awaken them to the promise of the future... The central point of My Plan is to evoke in men the desire to share, for on this Principle all else rests. Sharing, My friends, is an attribute of God. To become the gods which you are, this Principle must govern your lives. Allow Me to remind you of this simple Truth once again and show you the path to the future. My Blessing goes with you all.''
May we do our best to embody such fullness of outgoing love that true sharing will constitute our joyous outreach on all levels of our ëdharma' of service ---- service offered to Maitreya and to all our sisters and brothers everywhere.
This article is a chapter from The Joy of Christ's Coming. This book by the late Rev. Howard Ray Carey was published by Share International Foundation in 1988. It is not currently available in hard copy form. Copyright © Share International Foundation. Biblical quotations are taken from the Revised Standard version unless otherwise indicated.
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