Consideration of the subject of readers for our churches may and properly should begin with reference to the provisions of the Manual of The Mother Church concerning readers in branch churches; namely, Section 6 of Article III, which among other things stipulates that "these readers shall be members of The Mother Church. They shall read understandingly and be well educated." It scarcely need be said that one who is not sufficiently alive to the privilege of membership in The Mother Church would not be likely to make an acceptable reader in a branch church. Therefore, even if this provision were not part of the organic law of the Church of Christ, Scientist, it still would be a wise rule to follow in practice.

The second part of the by-law above quoted is likewise of obvious importance, especially when considered in connection with Section 1 of Article III, which prescribes that readers "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." To "read understandingly" a Lesson-Sermon, "on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends," is work which should inspire those to whom it has been entrusted with a sincere desire to make adequate preparation for each service.

It should be plain to Christian Scientists who are church readers that due preparation to read the Lesson-Sermon understandingly involves not merely careful study, but likewise "prayer and fasting." Those who have had the experience of serving as readers will be likely to recall instances when the mere study of the "letter" of the Lesson-Sermon or some part thereof would not reveal its true meaning, and when it was only after earnest prayer to be free from human opinion and let the divine Mind interpret itself, that the real spiritual message which the Lesson contained was revealed to them, and in turn they were able to read it to the congregation with understanding.

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December 9, 1911

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