First Church of Christ, Scientist, State College

(Christian Science)

Love Defuses Difficult Situation

A few weeks ago, our church listened to readings from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures on the theme of safety.  These ideas reminded me of an incident from several years ago. 

I was attending a large university in a large city and the fall of my sophomore year, I decided to do something that would benefit the community.

A community center called a Settlement House, not far from the university, ran an after-school program for neighborhood children. They needed volunteers to give the children constructive play time until they were picked up by parents or older siblings in the early evening.

In order to get to the community center, I walked to the edge of the university property, crossed a long bridge over many railroad tracks, and walked several blocks in a run-down neighborhood. When I first got there, I was met with skepticism: I was white, a college student, and young. I prayed to know whether I should take the job or not, and also to know how to overcome their obvious prejudice. I did take the job. Gradually, after a lot of prayer and genuine enthusiasm and love for the children, the other workers and the children came to accept me.I even got to know some parents and siblings a little.

As the fall progressed, it became darker and darker when I went home back to the university. One night as I was walking back, I heard my name called. I answered “hello.” To myself, I kept repeating, “Each one of these people is God’s child. Each one is loved and cherished by Him. I am included in this love.” In a little while, from the other side of the street, I heard my name again, and again I replied. This happened all the way to the bridge. These older kids were putting me under their protection. They were notifying anyone around that I was not to be harmed. This process continued throughout the fall and the center gave me a wonderful sendoff when I left at Christmas.

When we say with the 91st Psalm, “He will give his angels charge over thee”, that gives us an ever-present awareness of God’s love for us. I’m so grateful for Christian Science that encourages us to recognize that this ever-present love of God has the power to defuse a seemingly hostile situation.

Celia Nygard