A guest post written by Melissa Clendenen from Newport Beach, California
I greatly admire the Shrine of Remembrance, a war memorial in Melbourne Australia built to commemorate Victoria’s World War I soldiers. Now the memorial is dedicated to all Australians who have served in wars, sacrificing unselfishly for their countrymen’s freedom. Visiting this beautiful spot years ago, my husband and I were moved by the appreciation and love expressed by those who staffed and cared for the memorial.
Inside this sanctuary is the Stone of Remembrance, a large piece of fine marble carved with the words, “Greater Love Hath No Man.” A ray of sunlight falls from a small opening above on the word “Love” at 11a.m. every 11th of November, to mark the time and date when World War I ended.
The inscription is part of a beautiful Bible quotation in John, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” These words were spoken by Jesus, the most loving, selfless person to walk this earth. He was speaking to his disciples, the friends he loved. Jesus literally lay down his life for his friends (and for all men) in his crucifixion and resurrection.
In an earlier verse, Jesus said to his disciples, “This is my commandment. That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” My husband and I agreed that this statement was a good starting point for us to meet new friends in the city where we had recently relocated. Although the need to literally lay down our lives for friends didn’t seem practical or necessary, we felt we could easily practice placing friends first.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, also understood the power of unselfish love and its ability to spiritually enhance relationships. She observed in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Love never loses sight of loveliness. Its halo rests upon its object. One marvels that a friend can ever seem less than beautiful.” My husband and I interpreted the idea of never losing “sight of loveliness” as an expression of Jesus’ commandment to love others.
The memorial reminded us to see the good in our friends and to practice grace in our relationships. We worked to lay down selfish motives and to instead see the innate good in our friends and others. As Eddy stated in Science and Health, “…we find that whatever blesses one blesses all…” We found long-lived friendships across the country as we were a blessing and were blessed.