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Church Alive

The following was written in support of Church Alive, a focus of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, that explores the meaning and possibilities of awakening to the spiritual basis and impact of Church.

The warmth of church

From the March 19, 2012 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Something I love about my branch church is how warm it is. Living in central Oregon, I certainly do appreciate the literal warmth of the church on a chilly Wednesday night! But what I’m most grateful for is that deeper, abiding sense of warmth that welcomes, comforts, and encourages all, no matter what the season is.

One way this warmth is expressed is during our Wednesday evening testimony meetings. I love how so often, testifiers don’t just give a dry-bones account of healing; their joy at the spiritual discovery they’ve had pours through every word. Perhaps this means they introduce their testimony with a humorous anecdote, or maybe it’s just the way they come across as speaking to everyone in attendance individually. The sincerity of the truths they’ve experienced is very inspiring.

I don't feel that I have to follow some set script–the point is to glorify God!

Another way this warmth is expressed is through everyone’s acceptance of how the testimony is shared. I’m not nervous to share that “I suddenly realized I could pray about this!” In other words, I’m not afraid to simply share how God’s angels revealed a solution to me and how I realized their presence, and I’m not afraid of being judged by other attendees at the service for not having turned immediately to prayer. I don’t feel that I have to follow some set script—the point is to glorify God! Of course, I hold very dearly Mary Baker Eddy’s statements in the Manual of the Mother Church (p. 47) about not including details of disease or accident, but if my sharing includes a joke or just the simple recounting of how I came to trust God’s healing messages, I feel so free to simply share as it comes.

A visitor at our church recently remarked that they loved how we’re all so clearly just “working it out” and supporting each other in that working out. I was so grateful for that succinct, lovely observation! Church truly is such a wonderful environment for cherishing our innate oneness with God—and it’s good to know we can confidently share our growing understanding of that oneness! I’m very grateful for the warmth of church.

John Biggs is a Christian Science practitioner in Bend, Oregon.

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