For many years I was a member of The Mother Church and a branch church. For reasons which escape me now I grew dissatisfied with my branch church, I guess I felt more emphasis was placed on the color of the carpet and not enough emphasis was placed on Spirit and Christian healing. So I left my branch church thinking I would join another branch.
But a funny thing happened, I began to find all sorts of things to do on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. We had built a new house and the landscaping was an especially tempting activity and so instead of attending church I gardened. And instead of reading CS publications, the Taunton Press became my preferred reading. I also fell more and more into relying on material means and methods, until the only tie I had to Christian Science other than membership in The Mother Church was Association Day, which I attended faithfully. I would happily do the assignment and the references. And every July I would pull out my class notes and go over them. But I knew that not being a member of a branch church was not right, I just couldn’t seem to do anything about it.
Finally, after a particularly emphatic set of references for Association, I realized that my reluctance to attend church was nothing more than mesmeric belief. I realized that Church was the structure of Truth and Love (S&H 583:12) and that it existed to serve mankind. I also realized Christian Science meant more to me than my garden, in fact it meant everything and so I started returning to church on Sunday mornings, the same branch church I had left. Each Sunday morning I said to “self” it doesn’t matter what you are doing, nothing is more important than Church. So sometimes I would drop the trowel get in the car with mud on my shoes and under my finger nails, but I got there and when I did, I realized how very much it meant to me and that I felt like I had been living in a desert and was now in a lush and vibrant world.
It was awhile before I went back to Wednesday evening meetings, but I felt impelled to share a healing I had in response to our Association assignment which was reading Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer, Amplified. When I got to the church, I found that instead of holding service in the auditorium, it was held in the reading room. And instead of reading from a podium, the First Reader sat in a chair, which was set with others forming a circle. Everyone spoke from their hearts. The meeting was a feast of healing and the sharing of ideas on Christian Science, it was so exciting that I did not want the meeting to end!
The church services were dynamic and fruitful. The healings were great and a natural part of the members lives. There were many new members and many who attended because they were interested in learning more about Christian Science.
I rejoined the branch church and was assigned to the Reading Room duties and shortly thereafter I was elected First Reader and am now serving my second year in that position. And the joy with which I am able to carry out that responsibility is unending.
I have had other healings but to me this journey back to church most clearly relates to this year’s assignment and what I would most like to pass on is found on page 337 of Mary Eaton’s remembrances (WKMBE, vol. II):
“Mrs. Eddy gave us her concept of God. She said, ‘It is like the father protecting and caring for his child; it is like the mother taking the little one in her arms and feeding it with the milk of the Word; it is like the tender shepherd caring for his flock, going out into the marshes after the lost lamb, calling, calling—listening for its little plaintiff voice, taking it in His arms, carrying it home, and doing it over and over again.’”