Response 1: David Stevens
Thinking about this question, one might point to the impact of sports and other extra curricular activities, lack of interest on the parents’ part, family logistics, and more. All of these reasons either obscure or mistake the value, and promise of the Wednesday night service. Those of us who attend can continue to cherish the value and promise of Wednesday evening testimony services for young people.
I love these opportunities to hear the word of God together and to share with one another the practical inspiration and healing impact of Christian Science. The readings are fresh inspirations about God as infinite Love, all good, here, now. They always include our status as God’s own children and how knowing that brings freedom, harmony, health, ability, and joy to our lives. They turn us back to Christ Jesus’ forever relevant example. The testimonies of healing are present proofs of “God with us” and our status as “joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). All over the world children and adults are experiencing God’s higher law right where some other law tries to say, “you are hurt, sick, stuck, limited.” There’s got to be a venue for sharing this meaningful news and thanks to Mrs. Eddy’s listening, there is!
In 6th grade I sat in a Wednesday service, worried about a relationship problem at school. The message that we are children of God and therefore good came through the readings, the hymns, and the testimonies. I suddenly knew what to think and do. I could identify myself and the other boy this way. The problem was solved. In college I sat in a testimony meeting, frustrated by a nagging football injury. Somehow, hobbling out of that service I knew that healing was possible at that moment. I called a Christian Science practitioner and was completely and permanently free from the injury the next day.
It’s hard to think of a more practical dialogue of Love, available to all, affirming the worth and divine rights of every person. Every child deserves to feel this, and every child who visits these services will feel this.
Response 2: Shelly Richardson
I remember years ago when I first started bringing my girls to Wednesday night testimony meetings. Someone asked me if I was worried if bringing him or her would eventually turn them away from Christian Science. They wondered if attending two services a week was too much?
Around that time, three of their girlfriends were attending classes for their Bat Mitzvah. It was a monumental commitment over several years to learn Hebrew and study the Torah. I started asking myself what limitations I was putting on youth and their natural desire to learn about God. Did I believe that the structure of church that Mary Baker Eddy established was for members of all ages? Did I really believe that there was nothing more important for my children’s well being than learning about the Science of the Christ? Did I believe that children and youth were integral to our vision of Church?
As my thoughts about church changed, it was normal and natural for my kids to attend Wednesday testimony meetings. Now I see those meetings as the perfect bridge between Sunday School and church whether kids go once a month or every week. It’s a time for the congregation to celebrate together, humbly learn from each other, and cherish every fresh and seasoned idea of God.
Sure, kids have homework, sports, and rehearsals and we all want our kids to have healthy structure in their lives, but as I grew to see that church was “the structure of Truth and Love,” (see Science and Health, p. 583) all the other activities fell into place.
Our family has visited lots of Christian Science churches that have young people attending on Wednesdays. You can feel the mutual commitment on the part of the membership that both Testimony meetings and youth are vital. That prayerful commitment melts all obstacles.