Light in Dark Places

"Feed my sheep." It is just three years ago this month since this command of our Master met with a loving response among the members of Second Church of Christ, Scientist, of Minneapolis, and the regular Sunday service was instituted in the workhouse, the same being held Thursday evening of each week, and it may be of interest to the Field to know the changes which the truth has made in this institution within that time.

The services are held in the dining-room, which has a seating capacity of one hundred and fifty to two hundred. The first evening the service was held one small kerosene lamp furnished such light as there was, and truly it seemed that darkness ruled materially, morally, and spiritually. The guards spoke to the men as they would to brutes, giving them the stern, short command "Up," in a voice which thrilled one with terror, when they wished them to rise. The thought of absolute bondage was uppermost, and mortal sense would surely ask, "Can God prepare a table in this wilderness?" but ever-present Love re-echoed the question, "What cannot God do?" (Science and Health, p. 135.) "God said, Let there be light : and there was light." Within three weeks sixteen bright and shining lamps filled the large hall with light and cheer, and the sweet influence of "the still, small voice" of Truth and Love had lifted the dream shadows of harshness, subjection, utter hopelessness, and despair. The stern command had become a quiet request to "Rise," and to-day simply an uplifted hand is all that is necessary to insure prompt obedience on the part of the men and women. Instead of coming into the room with the thought of servitude, they now march in to music, the assistant superintendent leading the march with folded arms like the men, thus proving the unity and brotherhood of man; and the whole thought is now one of helpfulness and love.

The attendance at these meetings is wholly voluntary, and the extent of the work may be realized when it is known that the average has been seventy-five, and often one hundred and more are present, while no two congregations are ever composed of just the same person,—the sentences ranging from ten days to nine months and longer. The officers tell us that the long-term men always attend regularly after having attended one service, and one can soon discern among the faces those who have been attending for some time. The sullen, hopeless, despairing look first becomes one of surprise, then interest in what is being read, then earnest attention, and eventually hope and a higher desire for right is expressed. They quickly recognize the thought of love and helpfulness which is going out to them in place of the customary condemnation, and this at once arouses their interest.

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To whom Much has been Given and Forgiven
January 16, 1904

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