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Leading from the Heart—Christians under construction: It's gonna cost more

By: Bishop Laurie Haller, interim bishop

One of the most creative and impactful churches in this country is the Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. It all began in 1947 with three people: Gordon and Mary Cosby and her sister. In Gordon’s words, “We don’t exist as individuals. According to our faith, all of us are connected… To move from individually understanding it to corporately embodying it is one of the most important journeys in the world.”

Most people learned about Church of the Saviour because of its many outreach ministries, including a coffee house, clinic, housing assistance, job training, and placement care for children and the elderly. Realizing that intimacy and high expectations were necessary for spiritual depth, the first priority of the church was a total commitment to the Christian life. Over the years, Church of the Saviour intentionally divided into small independent and affiliated congregations, each committed to the reconciling way of Jesus where all people were welcome.

In the beginning years, Church of the Saviour provided a Sunday lunch that was free for first-time visitors. One Sunday, a woman went there for the first time, and a church member invited her to lunch. She said, “I’d love to.” He said, “Is this your first time here?” She said, “Yes.” “Then your lunch is free since it’s the first time you have visited.”

She said, “Oh no, no, no. I’ll pay my own way. Thank you.” When she got to the cash register, the man said, “Remember, this lunch is free.” She said, “Young man, I want to pay for this lunch. I want it to cost me something!” He said, “Lady, you stick around this church long enough. You stick around this Jesus about whom we preach, and this lunch will cost you your whole life!”[1]

There’s no free lunch in this world, even in the church. There is a cost to everything, especially to being a Christian. Last week, I began a series of four blogs based on architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s advice to his clients about how contracting and construction work will disrupt their lives. He says, “One: the project will take longer than you planned. Two: it will cost more than you figured. Three: it will be messier than you ever imagined. And four: it will take more patience, perseverance, and determination to get through it than you ever dreamed.” This week we are going to look at Wright’s second bit of advice. It’s gonna cost more than you figured.

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