In the December 5th edition of the Christian Science Sentinel there is an article, titled ‘Accept the midweek gift of Church’ by Consuela Allen.
In this busy run up to Christmas when we are thinking about the gifts we might be giving and receiving I was keen to read the article to find out more about this midweek gift of Church and of course it is all about these Wednesday evening meetings!
Consuela describes the format of the meetings and then goes on to write… and I quote
The Wednesday readings in each church are chosen by the First Reader and have a different theme each week, always with a message of healing. They remind us of our inseparable relation to God, divine Love, and assure us that no problem is ever too difficult or too insignificant to heal. The Bible is full of healing, and Science and Health explains how this healing is completely relevant and available to us today. Sometimes the theme of the readings speaks to a current problem in our own community or in the world, giving us specific spiritual truths we can apply in prayer to help solve the problem.
The second half of the Wednesday meeting is the proof of the power of prayer—we get to share how we have been healed in Christian Science and hear others share their healings. It’s a celebration of the ways Truth has blessed us. Expressing our gratitude lifts our thoughts and enables us to see even more good in our lives.
Do you think you’re not a good enough speaker to share your healing? It’s not eloquence that best communicates the healing message, but sincerity and conviction. If you speak from your heart, you will touch other hearts. And your testimony may be just what’s needed to strengthen someone else’s prayers.
I have long held the view that I am not a good enough speaker or even a good enough healer to perhaps contribute to the Wednesday meetings but gradually I am recognising that my contributions can be a valuable part of this mid week gift of Church ’ - giving a gift that indeed may touch another’s heart.
Gifts come in all shapes and sizes, are sometimes spontaneous and sometimes carefully planned but it is always love that is the inspiration. These thoughts have certainly helped me feel freer to share experiences and healings.
In the last section of the article the author makes some comments which also resonated with me and I have spent a lot of time considering them. Again I quote part of what Consuela writes
Balance: Many of us have busy lives, and the pace of life seems to get faster all the time. But isn’t this all the more reason to make room for an hour of spiritual refreshment and clarity? It allows us to gather new inspiration and spiritual solutions, which meet every need we have.
Strength: There have been Wednesdays when I’ve dragged myself to church, feeling exhausted from a long day of one problem after another, only to leave at the end of the meeting completely refreshed. I’m not being theoretical—I mean all weariness had vanished, and I felt invigorated. This has proved to me that the solution for fatigue is to look to Spirit, God, for our strength. Church helps to break the dream of life in matter and awakens us to see the fulfilment of this promise in Isaiah: “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (40:31).
Discipline: What if we feel we have more important things to do than go to church on Wednesday? By putting church first, even when it doesn’t seem convenient or we’re not in the mood, we make space in our lives to sit at the feet of Christ Jesus and hear his word through the readings from the Bible and Science and Health. Commitment to church helps bring focus and consistency to our practice of Christian Science, giving us greater spiritual understanding, healing, and joy.
Spiritual growth: This growth brings with it better health, harmony, and happiness. It gives us a clearer understanding of God, which blesses us in many ways. It helps us to be more unselfish and to watch for the good in our fellow members and visitors, in our community, and in the world. It reinforces our awareness that healing is natural and inevitable to the seeking heart.
Since reading the article I have recognised how important it is for me to work on this commitment to church and not be caught by the excuses that can easily pop into thought to stop me from attending.
Mrs Eddy’s provision of this ‘mid week gift of Church’ is immeasurable and there are so many ways that giving is expressed on a Wednesday evening!
The First Reader’s gift to us all is the message of healing in the readings carefully selected for the meeting, the ushers who warmly welcome us all at the door, the musician who plays and of course the congregation who join the meeting to give spiritual inspiration and also receive it!
I am so grateful for the technology which is available nowadays in some churches, such as ours, enabling people locally and from all over the world to listen to the meeting and contribute to it. This means we can all share our gifts – our testimonies - either live or through email.
So there is really nothing to stop us from giving and in being inspirational ‘givers’ and we will assuredly be ‘receivers’ of the inspiration we might be looking for!
Testimonies given and recorded at our branch church are extemporary accounts of testifiers’ personal experiences. Verified testimonies of healing can be found in the Christian Science periodicals published by The Christian Science Publishing Society.
Please note that the views expressed are those of the testifier and not necessarily the view of the church.