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What makes a vital church service and a good Reader?

From the April 2004 issue of The Christian Science Journal

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The whole thing about a really vital church service—the thing that keeps people's attention and creates a climate for healing—is freshness. You feel that at other churches, like the Baptist churches in our community. So why shouldn't Christian Science services feel that way, too?

I think a lot of it comes down to the freshness of the spoken word. The Bible was written based on oral stories, and so it's meant to be read out loud—with great energy and excitement and joy and revelation and meaning. It's the living Word, and it heals. The same goes for Science and Health.

Every time I read from these two books, it's different. "The scientific statement of being" This paragraph on p. 468 of Science and Health affirms the total spirituality of existence and is read at the end of each Sunday service along with a passage from I John: 3:1-3. is revolutionary, and it's constantly fluid. I figure if I can feel its freshness, its newness, and its unique power, then I'll read it that way—I'll read it a different way every Sunday—and the congregation will hear that newness and feel it.

This spirit is so much more important, I think, than never stumbling over a word. It's the spirit and active intelligence that enlivens a service. That's why people come. That's what makes them think. That's what they feel. That's what brings healing.

First Reader at First Church Fairfax, Virginia

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