It’s been over a month since the Association meeting, and I don’t think a day’s gone by when I haven’t felt grateful for it.
One of the most valuable things about the day for me actually surprised and sobered me a great deal. Your statements about the textbook, in section one, helped uncover a limited sense of Science and Health that I’d been harboring. I noticed this particularly with my work in the Reading Room. Even though I’ve been praying while working in the Reading Room, I haven’t been challenging the insistent thought that people may not be quite ready for some of the bold, radical statements in Science and Health. When choosing which citation from the Lesson to include in the window on the day I serve, I would sometimes find myself thinking, “no, this citation would probably be too difficult to understand, I better not choose this one.” Of course, keeping the context and audience and need in mind whenever sharing Science and Health is important and needs to be intelligently considered. However, what your address helped to dislodge was this low-lying, seemingly innocuous little thought that truth in the textbook could be closed to someone, rather than “open (ready to be read).” Your address helped to blow the cover on that con game of mortal mind’s and now it seems like such an obnoxious, obvious error. Thank you.
When I served in the Reading Room a few days after Association, I worked specifically to stay clear about Science and Health and its inherent ability to communicate Truth. I’m the main one who does the window displays in our Reading Room, and the display currently up – about family – did not include a Science and Health. I realized that, again, I would often entertain instead of challenge the thought that the Sentinel, posters, and children’s books usually provided better fodder for the window than Science and Health. I’m not now discounting the very important role that the Sentinel and poster and children’s books can play in sharing Christian Science and in providing colorful, eye-catching, helpful messages, but I’m now more aware of the need to be sure that the truth that Science and Health is “open (ready to be read)” is front and center – perhaps not literally in each display but definitely in thought. Anyway, right away, it became very clear how to adjust the window in a very simple way to bring out an aspect of how Science and Health sheds needed light on this topic, family.
When I was back the next week, I knew I needed to keep with this focus on Science and Health being “open (ready to be read)”, feeling very keenly that this is the main thing for me to be seeing clearly and demonstrating right now in the Reading Room. My prayers were “deep and conscientious protests of Truth…”
Well, that afternoon a man I had never seen walked in the Reading Room feeling troubled and wanting to ask some questions about how not to be discouraged by all the darkness in the world. We had a good talk, and he mentioned that he had his father’s Science and Health, which he had read for many years. But he had only attended church a few times, and I don’t think he had been in a Reading Room much or at all. It has been years since I’ve had such a meaningful encounter with someone in the Reading Room about Science and Health.
The next week, I kept at this specific work. At one point, a woman walked in who had never been in a Reading Room before. She was a “born again” Christian but was feeling estranged from her church at the moment because of the great grief she was feeling for the passing of her son and husband a year ago. We had a God-given conversation. At one point, I could feel my thought wondering if I should hold back delving into Science and Health and the Lesson topic, which was “Ancient and Modern Necromancy alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced.” But I recognized how bogus this thought was (thanks to the Association address), and plunged right in with Truth. What we talked about from the Lesson was extremely relevant to her, and she bought a Science and Health before she left. Wow, I thought, something has broken through.
The next week, I found it harder to work, and there were no life-changing discussions. Mortal mind didn’t like the breakthrough. But what I was sure of was that there was a breakthrough.
And, the next week, my work continued with this focus. A young woman came in who I had never seen. She asked about the copy of the Father’s Day Sentinel in the window. She said that her grandparents had been Christian Scientists and that she had attended Sunday School a few times as a kid. She had just recently divorced and had been stopping by our Reading Room because of the Sentinels in the literature distribution box outside. She had loved them so much that she started a subscription a few weeks earlier, but the Sentinels hadn’t started arriving yet, and she really wanted the Father’s Day Sentinel, which is why she came in. I told her our church had just bought and was stocking a literature distribution box at a busy intersection near our church, and she was absolutely thrilled to hear that. She mentioned that a church closer to her, where she had attended a service had a Reading Room that was in the church building so there was no exterior literature distribution box, so that’s why she had left her work in a different town during her lunch hour to drive to our Reading Room – so that she could take some Sentinels from our box. We talked very briefly, and I made sure she left with a Journal too, so she could locate nearby church services and Reading Rooms.
I now see the Reading Room work in a whole new light and am eager to discover and demonstrate more about Science and Health’s readiness for our community members (and me – I’m reading it again anew as well) and look forward to how God will lead and feed and prosper this work.
What stands out to me with all of this is that it’s not that I wasn’t praying before while I was working in the Reading Room. But this work since the Association Meeting felt like it was at a deeper level. For me, a key part of going deeper has been prayerfully taking off “the strictures on this volume [that] would condemn to oblivion the truth…”