Friday, June 7th, 2013 — Boston University and Principia College
It has been such a blessing to be a part of two Christian Science Organizations (CSO) during my academic career, and I am so grateful for all the growth and healing that has taken place through my involvement in each.
As an undergraduate at Principia College, I really enjoyed being involved in such a large CSO, and having the opportunity to serve on a variety of committees. The highlight, though, was probably getting to serve as a testimony meeting reader.
The quarter that I was elected was an extremely difficult one for me. I spent about a third of my time off-campus supporting a friend who seemed to be working through a pretty serious challenge. But even with all of this time away, I managed to put together readings and share those with the campus, which was an incredibly healing experience. Being asked to elevate my thought to select a topic that would meet the needs of the entire campus, having the opportunity to pray for the community, was so uplifting. And I really enjoyed bearing witness to the fact that “…whatever blesses one blesses all” 1 during each service. It was heartwarming to hear students, faculty, and staff singing the hymns that I had selected and sharing such incredible testimonies of healing. These services really laid a nice foundation for healing throughout the semester—as did all the activities of the CSO.
Last fall, I was also grateful to be a part of Boston University’s CSO, an experience which helped me further value the role of a CSO and what a healing presence it can be on campus.
One of the ways that members of Boston University’s CSO worked to support the community was to select an issue on campus that we would specially address through prayer each week. There were opportunities to share some of these ideas at our weekly meetings and also via email and on our Facebook page. Throughout the semester, we chose to pray about challenges such as cancer, accidents, and theft.
With one particular topic, we were grateful to witness the healing effect of our prayers. At the beginning of the fall, as students returned to campus and freshmen were being introduced to a new lifestyle away from home, we chose to pray about alcohol consumption. During the next couple meetings, CSO members shared how they were praying about this issue, whether specifically treating the suggestion of false attraction, or lack of dominion, or influences other than God. At the end of the semester, it was reported that the campus saw a 79% reduction in alcohol violations and 35% reduction in alcohol-related hospital runs!
At the end of the semester, we also decided to set up a CSO table in the Student Union to ask students, faculty, staff, and community members what Christmas meant to them. Some of the responses we got were:
- Cherishing the Christ presence & Christmas spirit
- Love, family, peace
- Reaching out & giving to others, cheering them up in the cold of winter
- Infinite blessings to all
- Peace on earth
- Loving neighbors
In addition to having community members write down ideas on post-its and displaying them on a poster we had created, we also had copies of Mrs. Eddy’s article, “What Christmas Means to Me” and of her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures to share with anyone who was interested.
As I sat at our table during my shift, I actively worked to embrace everyone who passed by in my thoughts. It was so uplifting to spend a couple hours praying for the community, while out in the community, and to serve as a healing presence as the holiday season approached. I was humbled to realize that the Christ was comforting each person I saw that afternoon, regardless of age, background, denomination, or beliefs. This really propelled me forward in how I prayed for the world during the holiday season.
I also benefited personally from the prayerful work we were all doing for and because of our CSO. On one occasion, I found myself suddenly ill with the belief of food poisoning. As I was trying to pray for myself, what came to me was a bit of spiritual inspiration that a member of our CSO had shared the previous day. At that point, I wasn’t necessarily in a condition where I thought I could pray, but this simple truth was what broke the mesmerism of the experience and prompted a nice healing.
In Article VIII, Section 15 of the Manual of The Mother Church, Mrs. Eddy wrote, “Members of this Church shall not unite with organizations which impede their progress in Christian Science.” 2 With all the campus clubs and organizations countrywide, I am so very grateful for the spiritual growth and progress, which result from being involved in a Christian Science Organization, no matter how big or small. Not only can it be a healing presence for each of the CSO members, but it certainly has a healing effect on the community as well!
1. Science and Health, p. 206. 2 Church Manual, p. 44.
By Heather K. Libbe