It was Sunday morning. I arrived at church early that day to take my post as an usher, ready to greet newcomers as well as our regular attendants. I had chosen this particular church, not for its close proximity to my home — as it was nearly a 45 minute drive — but because of the tangible presence of love that I felt and the sincerity and spiritual depth of the members of this small but mighty congregation.
My spiritual preparation that morning was the recognition that no one could be outside of “the structure of Truth and Love.” A definition for “church” found in our church textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. I also affirmed that man’s innate spiritual sense can never be dulled or deadened by the materialism of the world. That every member and every individual in the community was awake to God’s goodness and receptive and responsive to the Christ, man’s true Godlike nature.
As I took my post at the door in the foyer, I was informed by another member that a new visitor had shown up more than an hour before the service. He was a tall, slender African American man sitting front and center, listening attentively as the first and second readers prepared to start the service. I said hello and welcomed him to our service. The church service was given and afterwards many of our members welcomed our guest, who introduced himself as Daniel Alexander.
In the weeks and months that followed, Daniel regularly attended our Wednesday and Sunday services, avidly reading shared Christian Science periodicals, bringing more newcomers and giving his own inspiring testimonies. We could see the spiritual growth going on in him. But he wasn’t the only one growing — so were we. You see, the reciprocal law of Love doesn’t go only in one direction. There are no hierarchies or favored sons. It is a totally impartial, all encompassing love that embraces and blesses both the giver and the receiver.
At this particular period of time, the world was grappling with the Covid pandemic with its mask mandates, supply chain disruptions and Black Lives Matter with escalating racial tensions.
Where were we? We were at work bridging the divide in our own church experience by seeing that the only difference between us and our brother man was not about skin color or cultural or racial backgrounds but in the unique and completely individual way in which we expressed all the qualities of God. God didn’t see a black man with a bunch of white people, He only saw His own precious children — loved, loving and lovable.
What has happened since Daniel Alexander first arrived at our doorstep has been inspiring, heartwarming and life changing for all of us. Daniel has been included at holiday dinner tables, after church lunches and movie nights with pizza. He is always ready to lend a helping hand to people in need and actively works alongside church members with landscaping projects and various tasks. We didn’t find out about Daniel’s 47-year sentence until nearly two years later when he gave a testimony about one Wednesday night. But that didn’t shake us!
I remember a group of us sharing a meal one Sunday after church. Daniel commented on how he couldn’t believe that he had always felt the loving embrace of church from the “get-go,” insinuating that he could have been someone with bad intentions. Immediately a member piped up and said, “Yes we did! We knew that you were the child of God!”
Today Daniel is a full-fledged member of our church. The day we welcomed him aboard there were many tears. They were tears of joy! Imagine the blessings that would abound and the ripple effects if we all worked to heal the claims of the world when they knock at our door! As a loved hymn states, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Today our church shares a special bond amidst our members. Ask Daniel about his church experience and he will tell you, “It’s not a church family. It’s just family.”