Jets and Rockets

by Jim Chapman

This article is about relationships and about loving. It addresses an aspect of spiritual identity that seems the very opposite of a human personal sense of being. Spiritual progress beckons us to think and love from higher standpoints, and our ability to comprehend is an outgrowth of the way we love.

Let's begin with some words about how jets and rockets work, as they will be used to illustrate a point. A jet engine pulls air into it, compresses the air, adds fuel and spark to the air, and pushes the fiery mixture out the back. Jets work well where there is air, but at very high altitudes where the air is thin, and in outer space where there is no air, jets don't work at all. A rocket, on the other hand, carries not only fuel but its own oxygen. So a rocket can propel itself irrespective of the presence of air. The rocket is self-contained.

In most of our human relationships we tend to operate like jets. Someone smiles at us and we smile back. Or a loved one does something kind or helpful, and we take it in, like air into a jet, add a little fuel and spark, and off we go. In this way we soar and zoom about the atmosphere of human living.

But what happens if a family member acts selfishly, or if a loved one is unkind, or if we feel the chill of indifference from one who should know better? What happens if someone does something clearly wrong or even cruel?

If we have been flying about in jets, so to speak, that air of humanity we've been drawing on may become too thin or may seem to disappear altogether. The little bit of fuel and spark we have been adding to the human equation may become insufficient to keep powering our jet. Our jet may have to slow down or perhaps even land. We may decide we shouldn't fly in such chilly regions but should confine our soaring to elsewhere.

As we seek to climb and soar to greater heights of loving, we will encounter situations where the goodness we feel in the human atmosphere around us will not be enough to keep us flying, to keep us loving the way we want to. If we are making demands on ourselves to love, we will have many opportunities to unlimit our sense of loving. This will require choosing to spend less time in jets, and more time in rockets - where we can warm and brighten even the darkest and chilliest regions of space.

The choice to move from jets to rockets may appear in many forms, however, it is always the same choice. When we have prayed deeply and sincerely to be nothing more than a transparency for God's love, our hearts will have made the choice to love before the choice appears on the human scene. The choice may come as the appearance that we've been wronged, betrayed, or hurt - or where the other person clearly just isn't doing their share. After we've despaired of trying to get them to change, and have tired of mentally arguing about who did what, the question will come - will I have to love enough for both of us? Will I have to continue to love when those around me appear to have stopped? Or will I just let them go their own way, and I'll go mine? It may seem like a hard moment. Our frail sense of being a human person may argue that it feels misunderstood, mistreated, or misjudged.

Sometimes the situation won't be a hurt, but just the human problem of being alone. We may yearn to be loved by someone, or by someone special. We may despair of being loved by anyone on earth the way we long to be. After reaching out to God for love, we can declare that we feel deeply loved by God. This prayer to feel the love of God can bring satisfaction to the human heart, but progress will eventually bring the question: Loved by God? But what is that? God is the I am - yours and mine as the expressions of God. The one reflecting God gains the realization: "God has made me able to love." When this sinks in, the heart will rejoice, for it is the ultimate indeed - to be able to love. Mary Baker Eddy the founder of Christian Science once wrote that each of us may "rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing."(1) In this state of thought, our finite personal concerns disappear, and more of man in his noble majesty as the likeness of God shines forth.

It may take great spiritual desire and courage to reach such a point of progress. When the crumbling of an external sense of love and support is most acute, it may feel akin to being in outer space. It may seem momentarily dark and cold, with no one there but just you and God, and finally with just you alone, expressing God. But when you fire up your rocket out there in space, when your desire to keep soaring is greater than your dread of the chill, you can rejoice in hearing God speaking as your own thought saying: "I am loving all mankind, and they can feel my love."

The human situations that lead to such lessons may seem difficult and burdensome, or they may be just little experiences, hardly noticeable in the day's events. But every time you transcend a seeming need to be loved, and find your answer in a larger, more potent spiritual love for all, you will be realizing more of your potential to be. It is at this point that you find out how deeply and dearly you are loved by God. Because to be given the ability to love is to be loved most of all.

You can never get far from earth in a jet. But in a rocket you can break free from earthly pull and soar in the expansive universe. Of course, the one in the rocket can come back to earth and land at anytime, but with what new dominion and freedom! This is your destiny - to learn to express God's infinite love to all. This is reflecting the God-Mind that is indeed "the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever."(2)

The love that Jesus lived is an example of what it means to be a rocket. Had Jesus sustained the physical injuries he did on the cross from an accident, his resurrection would not have approached what he actually accomplished. He came to save and heal mankind. Jesus came to love, and everywhere he went he loved, and loved, and loved. He brought healing to the multitudes and ministered truth compassionately to all. What kind or loving thing didn't Jesus do for humanity?

And how was he repaid by humanity? In his hour of need he was condemned and deserted. His closest friends failed him. The people he had sought out as lost sheep had him crucified. And he loved them still. His simple request to God was, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."(3) Jesus's example of love shows us what being man is all about. He showed us that man expressing the God-Mind, infinite Love, is able to love undaunted, and in loving undaunted, to live undaunted. Jesus's secret was that he knew how to keep loving, and that he knew how to keep loving them all.

Loving is this way can only be accomplished by reflecting and expressing God's love. It is not an act of sentiment, human virtue, or good intentions. It is the intelligent reflection of God's infinite love. This reflection gradually unfolds man's unity with God as the individual expression of all that infinite Love is.

When Jesus was on the cross he turned to God for help. As the last vestige of a sense of God separate from his consciousness was disappearing, his human self felt alone and forsaken, and he cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"(4)

This temporary sense of being severely alone will be familiar to everyone whose sense of a God apart has, in a degree, disappeared. In those moments our sense of the divine is being transformed from a human sense of being present with infinite Love, to the scientific sense of being present as the expression of infinite Love, as the consciousness of infinite Love alone. When we are at this point, seemingly alone, and we still insist on using what we know of God to keep loving, then some of our sense of separate God and man is replaced by a glorious larger sense of man's oneness as God's expression.

When Jesus felt momentarily alone on the cross, he used what he knew of God to love enough for us all. In his commitment to loving forever, Jesus opened the way to living forever. Each of us can learn to reflect the infinite Love that embraces all mankind in its love. God always answers the prayerful heart striving to love more - so we have simply to ask. Eventually each of us will, because that is what we are - to know the joy of reflecting the Love that loves all. The Bible says, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:"(5) - that we should be made able to love.

(1) Miscellany, by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 165:19; (2) Matthew 6:13 (KJV); (3) Luke 23:34; (4) Matthew 27:46; (5) I John 3:1

Copyright 1996, Jim Chapman

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