“God’s being is infinity, freedom, harmony, and boundless bliss.” (Science and Health 481:3-4)
Greetings and blessings from the Christian Science Reading Room at the San Francisco International Airport. Enjoy the fruitage reported by our attendants:
A young man came in this evening and asked what we were. I briefly told him that we were Christianity with healing and that Mary Baker Eddy had figured out how Jesus healed and wrote a book about it. Those who read it and studied Christian Science became healers in most cases, or at least found themselves healed just by reading the book. He shared that he needed healing and went on to tell me that the addiction of the plague of his family and himself. Interestingly he said that he gave up other organizations because he found that the affirmation of the powerlessness at every meeting was no longer helpful to him. I began to talk to him about power, sharing that nothing can take away man’s power or dominion. He has to give it up willingly. I told him he should take the power back from it. He said, “I only have power over the first drink.” I suggested he had power over every drink and every sip of every drink, although the drink is believed to weaken a person physically and mentally. Most people who don’t drink at all or drink very little never give power to it. I shared that my son and his father before him, had that problem. One gave it up, one has not. I asked, “Do you want to buy a good book?” He said, “Yes but I cannot fit it in my luggage.” I showed him the marble edition, and he said, “Oh, that will fit.” I suggested he read the Preface and start reading wherever. He shared that he did not really understand the Bible or that the stories did not make sense to him. I said, “You have just purchased the Key to the Scriptures. This book will light up the Bible for you.” He said that he must have been meant to come into the store. He gave me his phone number and email address, and I have already thanked him for coming in and hope to keep a dialog going. Addiction is so personal that I have never healed anybody except myself of tobacco addiction, and that was a struggle because I did it without Christian Science. But Science and Health has healed many people of addiction to nicotine simply by their having read the book.
A passenger from one of the airlines came in and asked if we were Christian. I said, “Oh yes! We practice Christianity with healing, which is Christ’s Christianity.” He was introduced to Mary Baker Eddy and some of her teachings based on the Bible. He stopped me and I answered other questions about the Bible. I told him a little of the efficacy of Christian Science healing and he talked about the Coronavirus. I wasn’t feeling well but was healed quickly with the help of a practitioner. I was at the Wednesday evening testimony meeting, reading for my church on the topic of contagion, and I had a wonderful opportunity to put into practice the citations from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. I was healed. Our visitor was amazed, and then I said, “May I show you this book?” I pulled the English and the Spanish translations off the top shelf, and he whipped out $40 for the Spanish translation. I said, “Let me tell you a little more.” I told him about the Fruitage chapter, that the last hundred pages of Science and Health were documented healings and testimonies by people who were healed of every disease known to man, just by reading the book! He said, “I was meant to have my flight cancelled and to come in here!” He sat reading across from the desk and we continued chatting until my relief came. We chatted and I answered questions for over 3 hours and it went so fast. We went over the tenets. I also showed him the churches in Chile in the Christian Science Journal. I am told he read until we closed at 9pm.
An attendant told me he had a visitor come in and ask, “What is Christian Science?” He was told that Mary Baker Eddy had written Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures to set forth Jesus’ healing method which she discovered in the Scriptures. The attendant presented the book as a companion to the Bible, and how it presents the spiritual interpretation or import of the Scriptures. When asked what that meant, he turned fortuitously to the page in the Glossary where “Eyes” are defined as spiritual discernment–“Having eyes, see ye not?” The Glossary explains that and helps the reader to see the spiritual import of the Bible. The gentleman then asked, “Can I buy that book?” The attendant showed him a marble paperback copy and he readily purchased it. He said the conversation only lasted a few minutes.
We got a visitor this morning whose flight was cancelled. He had seen our store when he came into San Francisco and stopped in to look around. I sort of disrupted him when I had to mark books in the window and we got to talking. He had asked if I had a book by Kierkegaard. That told me he was a thinker. I told him what we sold and I told him a little of Mary Baker Eddy and her book. He said he was looking for a book, and I told him I have the best book I have ever read. I pulled out the marble copy of Science and Health, telling him of some of the chapters that radically changed my thinking. He said he would definitely like to have it and readily purchased it. And here I was worried that I would disturb him by marking the books in the window behind him, but I walked right in there anyway and did so. He also took some of our free literature, which sits next to the open door. He told me he was glad his flight was cancelled.
A gentleman came in and wanted to know where Starbucks Coffee was. I sent him to the arrivals level of Terminal 3, a good walk. He returned with coffee, and happily sat and talked with me for at least an hour. He wanted to charge his phone and I was grateful to have a visitor. Well, he talked and talked, and began to share some challenges, and after a time, I pointed to the Christian Science textbook. I said, “You have to buy this! Many of the answers are in here, and Mary Baker Eddy teaches her readers how to listen and hear the still small voice with all the answers.” He said, “Yes! Let me give you cash!” I told him that the book would bless and heal him, or solve other situations needing a divine touch or blessing.
A woman came in this afternoon who had arrived early and was taking a company-chartered bus to Half Moon Bay to a conference, so she had some time. I explained a little of Christian Science and introduced her to Mary Baker Eddy and explained how she came to write her book. She was shown the first sentence of Science and Health * and told how the book teaches us to handle fear, which is such an important part of healing. She readily agreed. I invited her to purchase Science and Health, but she declined, and then she asked me about how I came to it. I shared my experience, and she asked me about my marriage and children, and I told her. She is also a single parent of two young children, one of whom is only 5. I told her how much Christian Science had helped me raise my children and support my family. I told her to just know that all her needs would be and are being met. She told me she wasn’t religious, but I told her that she should never doubt that God was with her helping her. “He shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11) I told her my mom helped me, but she said that she did not have anyone here in the United States. She is from China but lives in Ohio and works for a university there. We talked for a long time, and she expressed gratitude that we took the time to talk to her.
* “The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God—a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love.” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 1:1–4).
A lovely man came in and began looking around, and I ended my phone call to a regular telephone visitor and invited him to come and sit down. He asked about Christian Science and listened very attentively as I introduced him to Mary Baker Eddy and to her discovery of Christian healing in the Scriptures and explained how Mrs. Eddy came to write her book. When invited, he readily purchased a marble copy and asked me to inscribe the inside of it to him and his wife whom he was meeting at the airport. I wrote a beautiful blessing for them with the date. By then my relief was there and I excused myself to the study room to finish my phone call to the telephone patron. Then awhile later he brought his wife back to meet to me, and one of our volunteers took a photo of us. They were the sweetest couple. They are moving to Grass Valley, CA where we have a Christian Science church with a downtown Reading Room.
A young man who works at the airport for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was here when I came in, listening to an explanation of Christian Science. He had a lot of insightful questions and the attendant was doing a brilliant job fielding the questions. I had questions for him and he was fairly articulate in his answers. We encouraged him to purchase the book if he had a real interest in the spiritual import of the Bible, but he said he would be back. He works fairly close to the Reading Room.
A woman came into the Reading Room and flopped down in the chair next to the first visitor and began chatting with the three of us. She was also introduced to Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy and how she came to write her book after being encouraged to do so by a doctor who had witnessed one of her healings on one of his patients. The woman immediately told us she was a healer and how she had prayed for some individuals and how they were healed. And she loved the Bible. She was invited to purchase the book but declined. I thought maybe it was that some Christians are afraid to read anything but the Bible. But as it turned out, she had come to California to work for a political campaign, and her job had abruptly ended after Super Tuesday, and she was on her way back to Chicago. As the afternoon wore on, the other visitor left and she stayed until the end of my shift. I had to work on some reports, but we chatted the entire time. At some point I sensed a germaphobia about her. I told her that she should never fear anything and explained that we are given that counsel specifically by Jesus and by Mrs. Eddy: “Be not afraid!” I was led to purchase a book for her and give it to her. She was so grateful and has since called to tell us so.
An airline worker came in and told me that she wasn’t so good. She was on the verge of tears. I got out the tissue box, and said kindly, “What’s going on?” She told me she was afraid her Mom was going to die of a recurrence of cancer. She had beaten it once and now it was back. I said “Oh, don’t accept that!” I introduced her to Mary Baker Eddy and her writings, but she wasn’t too receptive. In retrospect I just should have told her I would pray for her and her mom. She was inconsolable, but I was able to convey that there is no death nor death process. She said she hoped that was true. She rejected any literature because she had to meet a flight and everything was in her locker. So I am praying for her to be comforted, and I know that God will find a way to get her the help and comfort she requires.
We just had an employee of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) come in and ask, “What is this place? I pass it all the time but really should ask.” I told him we are a bookstore and we sell the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who figured out how Jesus healed. She got really good at it and taught other people how to do it, and eventually they wanted to start a church. So they did. She had trouble getting her books published, so she started the Christian Science Publishing Society. He asked if we had the book. I showed him the one on display and I showed him the first page, first sentence of chapter one of the desk copy and read it out loud. I said, “Do you want one?” He said, “Yes I think I do.” He gave me a $20 and would not accept the change!
A woman was waiting when I came in at 8am. She really wanted some literature. I immediately put the literature basket outside the door and she looked through it. She selected a Christian Science Monitor and a Sentinel and remarked, “I wish more people knew of this wonderful literature you provide!” I could not help thinking, “It’s the best in the world.” I said, “It provides solutions to every conceivable human problem!”
A young man came in and said, “I’m not a Christian Scientist but would just like to look around and read for a bit.” I certainly encouraged him to do so. He looked through our older and free periodicals and after several minutes selected two Journals to take with him, securing them in his suitcase. By his initial responses and quiet nature, I could tell he was one of our visitors who wasn’t so interested in conversation or discussion, so I didn’t press unnecessarily. After looking through our displays, he asked me if we had any books that were authored other than by Mary Baker… (he struggled with the last name). I said, “Oh, yes, by Mary Baker Eddy,” and I led him to the space behind the attendant’s desk and showed him several books that would meet his need including some of the autobiographies for sale. He spent about 10 minutes perusing and reading through various books and then turned around and said, “I’d like to buy this one.” I exclaimed, “Excellent, you selected Science and Health!” Despite his earlier comments, I had a sense that Science and Health was the book he was seeking and searching for all along. By this point, my shift relief had arrived and all three of us engaged in friendly conversation about the young man’s travel plans and where he was from. The visitor departed very happy and grateful for his “find” and the on-coming attendant gave him directions to security and his connecting gate.
An on-duty San Francisco City Police Officer walked in and exclaimed, “Have you heard the good news today?” I said, “Well, I’m not quite sure what news you’re speaking of.” He said again, “Are you sure you haven’t heard the good news? This is the day which the Lord hath made!” And, in unison, we both finished the familiar Psalms 118 verse together, “we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It was a wonderful moment. The officer then shared with me how grateful he was we were “hanging in there” through the slower travel times of the pandemic and Terminal 1 construction. He said, “I know there are times between flights where it can be a bit lonely but your presence here is so important, particularly at this time.” We both agreed that God is always present with us no matter the circumstances. This truth-affirming thought led us to share our veteran service status and our overseas deployment experiences with one another, his in Iraq and mine in Afghanistan. The officer said, “You know what my greatest source of protection in Balad was?” He then proceeded to pull out of his leg pocket a small and well-worn tan deployment Bible and said, “The exact same ‘weapon of truth’ I carry with me for protection today!” I thanked him for both his military career service and his many years of community service as a police officer. Onward, Christian soldiers!
We have a regular in-person visitor and a regular caller. We nearly always read the Bible with the caller and we have read a bit of Revelation, and Exodus, and all of Esther, Job, Ephesians, Philippians, Romans, Jude, Zechariah, and other assorted books. Several times I have been reading with him, and he will say, “That scares me,” or “I am afraid of that!” I find that by that by reading with him, he finds nothing to fear and that it isn’t nearly as scary or complex as he thought. And it helps me too. It is like we are in “the safe space” of the Reading Room, where no night is
Over the years, our visitor has told me about various attacks on his thought. I usually talk about what Jesus said, which is “with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you,” (Mark 4:24) which loosely translates, “What goes around comes around!” This has always made him laugh and feel better. Today he called to tell me about a physical attack that happened to him in a convenience store about not having an adequate mask, and another attack started while I was on the phone with him. Now I know that attack thoughts can be a source of those experiences, acting as invitations. I referred him to some good reading I have been doing which has really helped me see things in Science and Health I had not seen before. It is like reading it with renewed understanding.
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Donations Doubled until February 28, 2021.
We have a most generous donor who has offered to double what you give up to $6,000. This will allow us to keep our doors open, open to travelers and open to the world community. To make your donation, send a check to our Treasurer or visit our website at www.csreadingroom-sfo.org. Our treasurer’s address is:
Harley Bennett, Treasurer, 23871 Willows Drive, #384, Laguna Hills, CA 92653