“Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality,”
Mary Baker Eddy
There is hope
By Marci Martin
From the February 2011 issue of The Christian Science Journal
For decades, ever since Mary Baker Eddy asked her secretary to begin holding Christian Science services at a local jail in Concord, New Hampshire, Christian Science chaplains and others on institutional committees around the world (approximately 517 today in the United States alone) have been volunteering countless hours in local jails, prisons, and mental health facilities. They are the unsung heroes among church workers—those whose unselfish care for their neighbor often goes unnoticed or under-appreciated among other “church work.” With the support of branch churches, many of which supply Bibles and Christian Science literature to the facilities they serve, these volunteers bring the comforting and healing message of the Christ to people in great need. These workers’ efforts to include the men and women they minister to in the larger church community truly exemplify the spirit of a “church unconfined.” To honor their service, make it more widely known, and to help prosper it, the Journal will begin publishing regular reports on institutional work around the globe.
Visiting with inmates, I sensed their pain, loneliness, confusion, and fear. And sometimes, in their eyes, I glimpsed my son, who, for a terrible time, was deep into drug and alcohol addictions. During one visit in a facility, one of the guards said, “Nobody’s hopeless. Just because someone has an attitude at some point, it doesn’t mean they can’t change. You should never throw somebody away.” To condemn means to render incurable, to give up and think there is no hope for them. We should never throw a person away—anyone can change. The rays of possibilities shine on us all.
One day the Bible Lesson that week included the story about the three Hebrews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and their deliverance from the fiery furnace. He stopped reading, paused and looked away, deep in thought. Then, in a quiet voice he said: “You know what? The fire, which was supposed to destroy them, was the very thing that burned their bonds and set them free. Maybe that’s what’s happening to me in this prison furnace.” He fell silent for a bit and I waited for him to speak. He continued: “I don’t know, but maybe I can be of some help to the guys in here. I’m not fighting with everybody any more, and I even stopped a fight not long ago. Now that I’m not out of my head on drugs, things look pretty clear.”