Early in November 2016, my wife and I agreed to purchase a particular insurance policy that included an initial health screening. Unfortunately, I did not realize what this would entail. We had the screenings done in our home. When we received the test results, they indicated that I was physically fit, but they also noted potential serious issues: hypertension and coronary artery disease. I was told that I would need to have a thorough health and wellness exam with a doctor to confirm the findings and officially diagnose the issue.
During this time, I had been substituting for the First Reader in my local Church of Christ, Scientist, for much of the fall season.
I’d appreciated both learning about and meeting the demands placed upon Readers. According to the Manual of The Mother Church by Mary Baker Eddy, “It shall be the duty of the First Readers to conduct the principal part of the Sunday services, and the Wednesday evening meetings” (p. 31). And, “The Readers of The Mother Church and of all its branch churches must devote a suitable portion of their time to preparation for the reading of the Sunday lesson,—a lesson on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends. They must keep themselves unspotted from the world,—uncontaminated with evil,—that the mental atmosphere they exhale shall promote health and holiness, even that spiritual animus so universally needed” (p. 31). Also, “The Church Reader shall not be a Leader, but he shall maintain the Tenets, Rules, and discipline of the Church” (p. 33).