“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 former airport policeman stopped in indicating that he was in town for a meeting. Our conversation turned to the Bible when he asked, “What is Christian Science?” I began by explaining that it’s a religion based on the word and works of Christ Jesus and the examples of Jesus’ teachings that we can apply and demonstrate in our lives each day. I handed him a Christian Science brochure on the topic, and we agreed that if everyone were to live by the Sermon on the Mount, our country and world would be a very different place. We also appreciated together the value and power of living that life for ourselves and following the example of Christ Jesus in everything we do. He spoke of the devil and so I asked him if he had seen the Disney movie “The Little Mermaid” to which he had. I then described the scene where Ursula’s (the sea witch) two eels talked with Ariel, the Mermaid, suggesting for Ariel to go to the sea witch for a solution to her problems. Of course, Ariel says “no,” then the eels say, “It’s only a suggestion,” and Ariel accepts it and fatefully goes to Ursula. The visitor agreed that error’s claims are false and can’t suggest we do anything we don’t want to do. But, if we are alert to rejecting these false claims and replace them with thoughts of God, good, we are victorious and will stay on the straight and narrow path with Him. He said he used to get a beverage from the café opposite the Reading Room, but never ventured in to talk. He was glad he came in for the visit.
A young woman came in to ask if she could charge her cell phone, and immediately asked, “What kind of place is this?” I told her it is a Christian Science Reading Room, a quiet, peaceful place where people of all religions can come to study, pray, and be closer to God. She walked into the study room and as she charged her phone, she began reading recent copies of the Christian Science Sentinel and Journal. After an hour, she came out and asked if the testimonies of the healings she read were true, and I assured her they were. I further explained to her that a Christian Science Reading Room is a place to study and pray in a quiet, healing atmosphere and is part of the Christian Science Church, a religion that bases its teachings on the healings and lessons of Christ Jesus, the Way shower. I shared with her that all the healings she read were from Christian Scientists around the world, and there are Reading Rooms, as well, open to the public for spiritual discovery and support. I discussed Jesus’ healing ministry and, through study of the Bible, the lessons it taught Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science. We talked about Mrs. Eddy turning to the Bible and reading of Jesus’ healing of the palsied man in the book of Matthew when she seriously injured herself after a fall on the ice. Her clear understanding of how Jesus healed the man, seeing that God created all of us in His image and likeness, spiritual and perfect, led to her immediate and complete healing of all injuries from the fall. I then turned to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy and read to the visitor the first few words on page 1, “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.” She asked how she could learn to pray for healing, and I told her she could learn more by reading Science and Health and that there were many practitioners listed in the Christian Science Journal who would support her desire to heal herself and others. She readily purchased Science and Health and picked up a brochure titled, “What is Christian Science?” Upon her exit, she smiled as I handed her a copy of the previous month’s Christian Science Journal from our complimentary literature basket.
An airport worker was on his way to the airport ‘Lost and Found’ desk and stopped in to ask, “How is Christian Science different from other Christian religions?” After some discussion of Mary Baker Eddy’s discovery of Christian Science, the visitor agreed that healing is possible as he shared examples of answered prayer in his own life. He asked for something he could take with him to better understand how Science and Health serves as an interpretive companion to the Bible and how both are recognized as our pastor. I also explained how Christian Science churches around the world hear the same Bible lesson each week. Prior to departing, the visitor purchased a copy of the Bible lesson, and he picked up a Christian Science Sentinel from our literature basket as well as an invitation flyer to an upcoming local Christian Science lecture. The visitor retuned 15 minutes later and shared that ‘Lost and Found’ was unable to locate his item. He then smiled and said he must have been led to this part of the airport terminal to stop and visit the Reading Room!
A gentleman who works at one of the airport Information booths stopped by to say that he has read The Christian Science Monitor since he was in college and how much he appreciated its “fair reporting.” He only had enough time to read a current article on Ukraine, but he gratefully accepted a recent Monitor from our literature basket on his way out.
I was getting ready to close and looked up when I was greeted by a young pilot from a regional airline, who asked “What is this place?” After mentioning that Christian Science is a religion based on the word and healings of Christ Jesus, I gave him a copy of a brochure titled “What is Christian Science?” and he took some free literature as he exited. I hope he might pass by again and visit sometime!
A man walked by the Reading Room a few times and I asked him if I could help him. “Is this the Reading Room?”, he asked. When I confirmed that it was, he said he saw our sign down the hall, that he is a Buddhist Priest, and was seeking a place to pray. We started to talk about some of the basic understandings of the world’s religions and, especially, the effect of Jesus’ ministry on the world. I told him our Reading Room is open to visitors of all backgrounds and practicing religions as a place for study, sharing, and learning more about Christian Science.
A visiting traveler went into the study room to read through the Beatitudes in the book of Matthew. Upon exiting, he mentioned heading to Iowa to conduct a memorial service for his grandfather and that he found what he needed for the service. He said he would stop by the Reading Room on his return to San Francisco.
An airport electrician came by to read passages from an open Science and Health and Bible displayed in the front window. Upon leaving, he stuck his head into the doorway and said, “My father is a minister and I always like to tell him of the Bible passages in your window for us to discuss.”
An airport police officer came in for the first time and appeared to have a certain sadness about him. I expressed how wonderful it is to have so much of God’s abundant love around us, as a source to draw from when in need. We discussed the 91st Psalm in the Bible and how God’s love embraces us all. The visitor then appeared to be more at peace and, upon leaving, said he will be back. Shortly thereafter, I learned the visiting officer was so despondent because he shot and killed a criminal in the line of duty six months prior. I felt blessed to have been able to discuss some of the healings in the Bible with him that resulted in broadening his awareness of Christ in his life.
A man came in who shared he was raised in Hong Kong and that he now lives next to a Reading Room in San Francisco which he’s visited several times. He also shared that he has attended three services at a local Christian Science church. He had several questions about how to pray without being distracted. I shared some ideas with him when it occurred to me to call my daughter who manages The Mother Church department in Boston, MA that handles the language translations of all of Mary Baker Eddy’s written works. She told me how to find the link to the two Chinese translations of Science and Health at the website, christianscience.com. He seemed very pleased to know where to find and purchase a Chinese translation of the Christian Science textbook.
A traveler on a long layover followed the airport maps to our location. After arriving, she explained how she found us and remarked how surprised she was to see a Reading Room in an airport. She was even more surprised when I explained we had been at the airport for nearly 66 years. She said, “I am a Christian and feel such a sense of peace knowing you are here, and I know it has to be a blessing for all travelers arriving and departing the airport.”
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 nearly 66 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)