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Welcoming strangers to our church services

From the September 1981 issue of The Christian Science Journal

A number of years ago I moved away from home to attend college. I soon discovered there was a branch Church of Christ, Scientist, in town. Being a little doubtful then about the importance of attending church, I was reluctant to visit. I finally decided to go, but only on the basis that if I didn't like it, I wouldn't feel any obligation to return.

You have to picture this the way it occurred. I was not dressed up. In fact, I looked rather shabby. My hair was long, and I was sporting a new beard, not yet filled in. To top it off, I came in late!

I can't describe what I felt when I entered—the joy, the deep peace. The Reader's face radiated love. I knew I had come home. I belonged there. In my heart the service echoed Mrs. Eddy's words in Science and Health: "Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God."Science and Health, p. 254. I felt so welcome, so comfortable—and nobody had even shaken my hand yet! After the service I was warmly greeted by almost everybody. What I felt there was more than just human affection; it was God's love. His tenderness and care poured through everyone. I was truly "in the house of the Lord," and I wanted to stay there forever.See Ps. 23:6. As soon as I could, I joined that church, and I've been happy to serve there in many capacities for almost ten years.