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The “nets” were filled: A Reading Room relocation story

From the December 2022 issue of The Christian Science Journal

In the Bible, two fishermen, Simon Peter and Andrew, had worked all night fishing, but their nets came up empty. In the morning, Jesus, relying on the wisdom of his heavenly Father, God, said to Peter, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught” (Luke 5:4). Peter’s willingness changed everything. They caught so many fish that it required two ships to bring in the catch. This remarkable evidence of abundance no doubt helped convince them to follow Jesus. They became his disciples, and many times saw him demonstrate the effectiveness of relying on God as the source of all provision. 

Yet, after Jesus was crucified, Peter and some of the other disciples went back to fishing one night. Why? Were they perhaps filled with doubt about their ability to heal, discouraged that Jesus wasn’t there, worried about the resistance they could encounter preaching the gospel? But Jesus had resurrected from the grave, and he appeared to the disciples on the shore in the morning. They had again caught nothing, but he told them to cast their net on the right side and they listened, resulting in another remarkable catch. Perhaps spiritual qualities of trust, faith, commitment, and love filled their thoughts and replaced their fears. They returned to teaching and preaching. 

I like thinking about how Christian Science Reading Rooms are staffed by those who rely on God and follow Jesus’ teachings to meet human needs. When I accepted the position of librarian for our church’s Reading Room, I was aware that we could be looking for a new location in the near future. The desire to share the Reading Room’s spiritual resources carried me through the doubts, discouragement, and frustration that I would encounter as the search progressed. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, states, “Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds” (p. 1). 

When doubt tried to take over, ideas of how to trust God came through quiet listening in prayer to what God knows. My prayers were fortified by powerful truths, among them: “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19), and, “Divine Science, rising above physical theories, excludes matter, resolves things into thoughts, and replaces the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas” (Science and Health, p. 123). 

Our Reading Room committee members thought about aspects of the Reading Room in terms of their expression of the synonyms Mrs. Eddy uses for God. For instance, we saw the Reading Room as expressing unlimited and abundant Soul, orderly Principle fulfilling every purpose, Spirit’s efficient provision, Life’s ever-flowing activity, all-embracing Love, Mind establishing good, and Truth supporting and maintaining every endeavor. 

I started each day asking God, “What would You have me do today?” and listened with love. I thought about the need for Reading Rooms to be “well located” (Mary Baker Eddy, Church Manual, p. 63). This encouraged me to open the door of thought, prayerfully prepare, clear mental obstacles, respond to God’s leading, and be alert to and love the community we serve.

In 2020, we found a space that interested us, but before we could move in, city officials shut down in-person activity due to the global pandemic, which meant we wouldn’t be able to make needed repairs. We weren’t able to move forward with the property.

A year later, a new search was launched with courage and determination. We ended up finding the same space we’d already explored still vacant with a willing landlord, and this time we were able to move ahead! Everything went quickly and was ready in time for the grand opening. A property manager I know remarked that we must have “had divine help.” 

As church members gained a higher spiritual perspective of the Reading Room, there was progress every step of the way. Like Simon Peter, we were willing to rely on God for the wisdom we needed to make big and small decisions. 

The current space meets all our needs. It is bright, orderly, spacious, and welcoming. Our “nets” were filled. It took reliance on God as our true source to see a fresh expression of our community’s Reading Room come to fruition.

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