Today we are having a recently-laid patio torn up and replaced. Next year we will have our recently-laid driveway torn up and replaced. The cost of paying for two patios and two driveways is high. As well as the financial cost, there is the emotional cost, the angry words, the arguments, the viability of legal action and recovery, the conclusion that legal action would be successful but recovery would not. This goes down as a lesson learned.
But we are very fortunate. For the first time in our married life, we are able to pay the financial cost.
So today a thoroughly checked and vetted firm will arrive and tear up the existing patio. They will dig out the dodgy foundation bits. They will start again. And the patio that is will become the patio that never was.
GSHJ thought this little story worth mentioning in another context.
The cost of being at a point in one’s life where “you come to the Lord” – you “give your life to Christ” – you commit to change as perhaps never before. When you surrender your very life to One who is greater than All. That moment you believe. You believe love conquers all. Even death itself. You look up not down, you look out not in, your values over “stuff” changes, your approach to others changes radically.
You are “born again” (no evangelising required).
And just as with any child learning to walk, you toddle off to the church to seek others who are the same. Who have shared this birth of love and life in their own lives. And each step into that church is a walk of faith – blind faith – honest faith – true faith. The faith of a child in the grown-ups of God. Because that is where the grown-ups of God say we should go. That is where God says we should go.
Anyone who is a follower has walked that first walk.
And – just like so many grown-ups today meeting the children from school – these grown-ups so often have their heads in their smart phones.
These grown-ups of God smile sweetly for a minute of two than return to their smart-phones. The diaries, the meetings, the groups, the missions, the services, the volunteering, the rattle-tattle of grown-up[ church life. The grown-ups of God have their inner circle and this “toddler of faith” is not yet old enough to be included. This reborn child doesn’t know how things work around here yet.
And reading the blogs in this community I see many who walked that walk. I see many who walked in faith and were told that’s not how to walk. Who prayed with abandon and were told that’s not how to pray. Who gave their lives and were told that’s not how to follow Jesus. Who were told this is how we do things, this is how God likes things, this is how you and God must be – like we are with God and each other.
Today we are paying to have our newly laid patio ripped-up. Our patio is just “stuff”. Our finances are just money. The reason we are doing this again is because of the inside stuff. The important stuff. The stuff that comes with a cost as well.
I read a load of “how to” when it comes to welcoming newbies into church.
It is not a process or a procedure – not a tick-box to get right or wrong. It is a new connection, a new relationship, a touching of another’s sacred soul. It is GSHJ himself walking through that door – reborn time after time – untouched again by the hand of man – once again as innocent as the day he was born – filled and overflowing with the love of all Love.
So just why do we, so often, treat each GSHJ who walks through the doors as just a (welcome) potential new bum on a seat? Why do we drool over “a new family”? Why do we take diversity – and make it conformity?
Today we are ripping out and throwing away our patio for another.
I think that each and every Sunday many GSHJ’s are discarded – just as we will discard our patio today.