All this Dr. Bruce told his people simply and with a personal interest that evidently led the way to the announcement which now followed. Felicia had listened to every word with strained attention. She sat there by the side of Rose, in contrast like fire beside snow, although even Rose was alert and as excited as she could be.
“Dear friends,” he said, and for the first time since his prayer the emotion of the occasion was revealed in his voice and gesture, “I am going to ask that Nazareth Avenue Church take the same pledge that Raymond Church has taken. I know what this will mean to you and me. It will mean the complete change of very many habits. It will mean, possibly, social loss. It will mean very probably, in many cases, loss of money. It will mean suffering. It will mean what following Jesus meant in the first century, and then it meant suffering, loss, hardship, separation from everything un-Christian. But what does following Jesus mean? The test of discipleship is the same now as then. Those of us who volunteer in this church to do as Jesus would do, simply promise to walk in His steps as He gave us commandment.”
Again he paused, and now the result of his announcement was plainly visible in the stir that went up over the, congregation. He added in a quiet voice that all who volunteered to make the pledge to do as Jesus would do, were asked to remain after the morning service.
Instantly he proceeded with his sermon. His text was, “Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.” It was a sermon that touched the deep springs of conduct; it was a revelation to the people of the definition their pastor had been learning; it took them back to the first century of Christianity; above all, it stirred them below the conventional thought of years as to the meaning and purpose of church membership. It was such a sermon as a man can preach once in a lifetime, and with enough in it for people to live on all through the rest of their lifetime.
The service closed in a hush that was slowly broken. People rose here and there, a few at a time. There was a reluctance in the movements of some that was very striking. Rose, however, walked straight out of the pew, and as she reached the aisle she turned her head and beckoned to Felicia. By that time the congregation was rising all over the church. “I am going to stay,” she said, and Rose had heard her speak in the same manner on other occasions, and knew that her resolve could not be changed. Nevertheless she went back into the pew two or three steps and faced her.