In the church of Christ, Scientist, I attend, and in these churches around the world, a particular Bible passage is read to the congregation each week, just before the benediction that closes the Sunday service. It’s from the book of First John: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (3:1–3).
This is the perfect send-off! It reminds each of us that we are God’s children, that He loves each of us dearly, and that—whatever we are going through—as we awake to the true nature of God, we will see ourselves “like him,” reflecting God and expressing Christly qualities.
For years I mostly just listened very mechanically to this passage. It was almost time to leave church, so my thoughts would wander off.… “What will I have for lunch?” “I have to make sure the kids do their homework,” or “I have to talk to so-and-so after church!”