How do you make a Christian Science Reading Room bloom and bear fruit? Appreciate! Appreciate! Appreciate! A realization of the healing mission of our Reading Room in the community fosters a humble willingness to serve, support, and love it. Our appreciation deepens as we comprehend more clearly its vital purpose in the world to promote and to prosper Christian healing by revealing to men and women how to demonstrate their spiritual identity as children of God —now, as the Bible states.See I John 3:2.
As established under the Manual of The Mother Church by Mrs. Eddy, the Reading Room is uniquely designed to fulfill its functions as a vital component, an integral unit of her Church. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy states, "The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick." Science and Health, p. 583.
When I was a beginning student of Christian Science, the Reading Room became my oasis of peace in a desert of personal turmoil. There I began to learn more of my true individuality as a child of God and to see others in that same healing light. This brought a spiritual stability to my human relationships and life.
One morning I woke in physical pain and a sense of depression. I decided to go to the Reading Room and study the Bible Lesson in the Christian Science Quarterly. I continued to study and pray for some time. Soon I was aware of a stillness and peace that seemed to fill the room. I felt the comfort of an inner calm as I realized that the physical and mental distress was only a fear that a dreaded condition I had once experienced could return. Then I realized that in God's sight it had never actually happened. The whole difficulty moved off like a dark cloud, and the sun was back out! With a grateful goodbye to a warmly smiling attendant, I left completely healed.
Christ Jesus declared, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3. A scientific knowledge of God, divine Principle, as man's only source of life, love, intelligence, home, activity, and supply—and of man's sonship with God as revealed by Christ Jesus—saves and heals. It brings into our experience the comfort of the Comforter, Divine Science.
Reading Rooms throughout the world help bring this Comforter to mankind. They are focal points of a multifaceted spiritual education system that helps lift us and our fellowman from the tyranny of fear, ignorance, and sin spawned by material concepts of God, man, and universe as commonly taught. Through its literature, tools for research, and free lending library, as well as through the weekly Bible Lessons provided by the Christian Science pastor, the Bible and Science and Health, each Reading Room shines as a beacon of hope for those of every nationality, creed, and color. The stranger, the lost "lambs," those seeking a permanent basis for health and happiness, are all drawn to the gratitude and love of God glowing in the heart of each church member and Reading Room attendant who is living what he is learning. A healing concept of the Reading Room is an attractive concept.
What draws the passer-by to use our Reading Room? It is love lived that attracts and heals. A friend helped me see that whatever we seem to lack from without may be what we need to express from within. An active Reading Room represents church members' unselfed, Christly love, their response to divine ideas that heal and embrace humanity. This is the action of the Christ, of "the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness," Science and Health, p. 332. as Mrs. Eddy expresses it.
The stirring of the Christ in individual consciousness leads one to serve his branch Church of Christ, Scientist, by helping to bring its activities to the community throughout the week. Reading Room attendants witness healings of hopelessness, immorality, addiction, self-depreciation, discordant relationships. They see regenerated lives and individual spiritual progress, all encouraged by the warm welcome of genuine caring, the unselfed commitment of the church members to the spiritual welfare of all mankind. Participants in the redemptive mission of their church share the blessings that come from proving God's love for man, a love that shelters and protects us all.
What would hinder our part in the outreach of the great Shepherd to find, shelter, and feed His own? Self-interest, apathy, lukewarmness, a disinclination to grow Spiritward (appearing as one's own thinking), all would tempt loyal workers to break faith with their individual commitment to live for all mankind. Have you ever asked yourself these questions in regard to the Reading Room: "Do I fully avail myself of this Manual-provided resource for spiritual research and refreshment, its opportunity for uninterrupted study? Do I serve it in order to worship God in this way? Do I see this service as human evidence of an impulsion originating in divine Love?"
One branch church called a special meeting to solve a recurring difficulty they were having in maintaining their Reading Room hours. Reducing the hours, especially at night, seemed logical. However, one member reasoned that this would be a retrograde step. Another felt that nighttime workers had a special opportunity to pray specifically during those hours for the Reading Room and the community.
A follow-up meeting focused solely on spiritual solutions. An opening talk emphasized an active appreciation of the Reading Room as a rock of spiritual stability amid the unrest of changing times. Shared healing insights included the need for a deeper understanding of "Church" as a divine idea, "the structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle," Ibid., p. 583. as Science and Health explains. The divine concept of Church heals the human misconception of Church as capable of being unsupported or unappreciated.
This resurgence of love and gratitude resulted in offers made by new members to serve and to substitute whenever needed. Experienced workers rejoined the staff, and a busy professional couple split an afternoon shift. New visitors began to appear regularly. Sales increased. Today a full staff rejoices!
A "born again" appreciation of our Church and its activities counteracts the mortal tendency to meander away from Principle-impelled motives and acts. Planted on the Rock, Christ, we can defend and protect the good already achieved and clearly visible to our community in our Reading Rooms. Government by divine Principle, divine Love, grounds us firmly in ever-unfolding Life, lifting us above personal sense, self-will, and human limitations. Divine Life is our only real Mind. Listened to and obeyed, it frees us from the deception of stereotyped conclusions and solutions.
Around the world, from 5 World Trade Center, New York, New York, to Selous Avenue, Second Street, Harare, Zimbabwe, Christian Science Reading Rooms are welcoming the heaven-hungry home. And your Reading Room? It is a special gift to you and the community, testifying that Christian Science heals. Only as you unwrap a gift can you see its beauty and value. Appreciate your Reading Room. Love to use it and serve it. Then watch it bloom and bear fruit!
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