“Christian Science is more than a prophet or a prophecy: it presents not words alone, but works, — the daily demonstration of Truth and Love.” (Mis. 373:30–32)
A visitor came out of the study room and was excited to talk about the passages he had just read in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. He came in, sat down, and began reading through the textbook and was so pleased because it answered many of his questions. He said he would like to come in again and learn some more about Christian Science. I said, “Why don’t you purchase a copy of Science and Health? It is only $13.” He was then shown a new copy of both the marble and the mid-sized Sterling editions. He said, “Oh, I’ll purchase one of each. Science and Health is in the hands of a new reader who will learn and heal with our textbook.”
An airport employee came in and asked a question many attendants hear very often, “What is Christian Science?” We talked about Mary Baker Eddy’s discovery of Christian Science through her study of the Bible and Jesus’ teachings and healing works which led to her deeper understanding of God as infinite Love. This spiritual understanding and the demonstration of God’s qualities in our daily lives and in prayer can heal, redeem, and restore anyone. He then asked some good questions and departed with a pamphlet that further explains the origin of Christian Science, church activities, and the role of both Christian Science practitioners and nurses in healing. He also purchased one of the themed booklets titled, Freedom from Addiction, and then returned to his duties at the airport.
A young man came in wondering what Christian Science was all about. He was given a copy of “What is Christian Science?” and then we discussed the basic truths of our religion as “the law of God, the law of good…” as defined by Mrs. Eddy in the book Rudimental Divine Science. He departed with some Christian Science periodicals and a better understanding of God as “. . . all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all loving, and eternal;…” (S&H 587:5-6) and man as “…the spiritual image and likeness of God;” (S&H 591:5-6)
A woman came in for a long visit as she had a lengthy wait for her next plane. She knew nothing about Christian Science nor Mary Baker Eddy, so I started by giving her a handout titled, “What is Christian Science?” I also pointed out our weekly Bible sermon as she was provided a past copy of the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lessons. We talked in the study room and when she asked for some prayers, I gave her some of our free pamphlets, including one on the Scientific Statement of Being, which we discussed. She also asked about ‘mesmerism’ which led to pointing her to chapter 5, “Animal Magnetism Unmasked” in Science and Health which she then eagerly read. We had several thoughtful chats resulting in her taking from the free literature basket several past copies of periodicals, including The Christian Science Sentinel and The Christian Science Journal as she happily departed.
A telephone visitor called in asking to pick up two printed articles and a testimony that were in previous editions of Christian Science Sentinels. I was able to locate one article dealing with a serious skin condition and the other overcoming challenges of alcohol abuse. In reading through the testimony, I learned the author was arrested many times, but his discovery of Christian Science and Science and Health enabled him to overcome both challenges and eventually led to Christian Science class instruction and church membership. I was inspired by the account and know this wonderful proof of spiritual progress will meet the needs of our visitor as well.
A young woman came into the Reading Room exclaiming, “Oh great, you’re open!” She was from Boston and said the last time she visited San Francisco was just before the airport’s shutdown due to the pandemic. She said she was working on a challenge and needed time and a quiet place to study. She was able to spend over an hour in the study room, and then picked up some periodicals and departed with a smile. I was so happy knowing the Reading Room is serving its purpose “to disseminate our Leader’s revelation for the enlightenment of the world, and providing comfort, spiritual inspiration and a place for prayer and study, for travelers and others.” (Jointly Maintained Reading Room Bylaws)
“Hey, what is this place and what is Christian Science?” a visitor exclaimed as he walked in and took a seat in front of the attendant’s desk. His enthusiasm prompted an hour-long discussion on the teachings and healing efficacy of Christian Science, beginning with the answer to his first question, “Christian Science is a religion based on the words and works of Christ Jesus.” During the hour, we read aloud the opposing accounts of creation in the first and second chapters of Genesis, reaffirming the absolute truth of the first account as man spiritually created in God’s image and likeness. (Gen. 1:26) The following passage shared from Science and Health helped the visitor further understand his relationship to our Father-Mother God, “As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being.” (361:16-18) When the visitor then asked what he could specifically do each day to put into practice the teachings of Christian Science, we discussed how to pray for himself and others and turned to a guiding principle in Science and Health that he truly appreciated, “Self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers.” (S&H 15:26–27) As the visitor departed, he selected some Christian Science periodicals from our literature basket to take with him.
“What kind of place is this?”, a visitor walked in exclaiming. I explained the Reading Room was an extension of Christian Science Bay Area churches and a place to pray and connect with God. I further shared that the premise of our church is based on the healings of Christ Jesus as given in the Holy Bible. We read from the book of Job 23:13-14, “He is one mind and, who can turn him? . . . For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me:” This led me to introduce Mary Baker Eddy and her textbook, Science and Health. I read aloud the first sentence in the Preface, “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.” (S&H vii:1-2) I pointed out that Jesus’ healing ability and ministry is just as possible for us today as it was in his time. I gave him an older Bible lesson Quarterly to study from and explained that our church’s pastor was the Bible and Science and Health. As we read over some of the Bible lesson citations, he was provided the pamphlet titled, “What is Christian Science?” He also took some periodicals from our literature distribution basket when I explained they contained accounts of healings through reliance on Christian Science. After about an hour, our visitor departed spiritually enlightened and eager to find a Christian Science church in the local area.
A couple standing outside our front door looked lost so I went out to offer some assistance. After directing them to the right airport location, the man looked up at our sign above the door and said to his wife, “He works at the Christian Science Reading Room!” This is a very common experience shared by all our attendants. An act of kindness and outreach resulted in an acknowledgement of appreciation and receptivity.
A young woman came limping into the Reading Room complaining of a leg injury and how one leg was visibly swollen. I said to her compassionately, “Who said so?” The question captured her attention and receptivity as I mentioned the importance of seeing and accepting God as perfect and her likeness as His perfect expression. I read to her from Science and Health, “Jesus established in the Christian era the precedent for all Christianity, theology, and healing. Christians are under as direct orders now, as they were then, to be Christlike, to possess the Christ-spirit, to follow the Christ-example, and to heal the sick as well as the sinning.” (S&H 138:17-18) She went into the study room for over an hour and when she came out the limping and swelling had both disappeared!
We extend our heartfelt thanks to the many Christian Science churches and individuals for their interest in and support of this Reading Room. We have been here for 65 years, meeting the spiritual needs of travelers, airport employees, and our local and global community. We are always looking for more volunteers willing to staff the Reading Room, as well as prayerful support and financial contributions.
To make an online donation, please return to our main website page, or mail a check to our Treasurer at:
Harley Bennett, JMRR Treasurer
23871 Willows Drive, #384
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)