I've tried to keep this blog ecumenical and I certainly will try to continue that. But I express my faith in Christ through the Salvation Army, that doesn't mean that I consider other denominations somehow inferior... Far from it. But it is where I firmly believe God has placed me and occasionally I may publish posts about the Army or about things that are happening...this is the first: 'This Army's for life, not just for Christmas'.
So here goes:
Depending on where you are in the world your experience of the Salvation Army will be different; those in America will have spotted the red kettles and bell ringers appearing, in the UK it will be brass bands, Christmas carols and concerts, less public perhaps will be Christmas toy appeals, soup kitchens etc while caroling last week I repeatedly heard the phrase: 'it's not Christmas until you've seen the Salvation Army'.
But is that all we are, a Christmas movement?...I say not; just this week some parts of the UK have seen some of the worst rainfall in many years and towns have been flooded; emergency services have risen to the challenge...but in the background serving their communities and these emergency services, providing support is the Army... Again while caroling I spoke to people who many years ago found themselves in need of help and someone who is currently being helped by the Army and both were linked by a common sense of gratitude.
But before I get carried away I will say that the Army is far from perfect, because unfortunately it is populated by imperfect human beings like me who will fall and fail but by the grace of God we will carry on...sometimes we must seem weird and old fashioned, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The Army is worth far more than just a Christmas distraction...as a Christian Church and organisation we aim to take the love of God with us wherever and whenever we go, and this applies to all Christian denominations.
We all seem to come out of the woodwork at this time of year... We have our carol services and other events and try and capitalise on 'Christmas spirit' but the truth is, we should be doing this all year round; it's almost like we hibernate from January until November... Now I know this isn't true, Christians and Church's around the world are active 24/7 it seems though that this time of year is the only time we have 'permission' to be Christians.
The point of this blog post is not to say that that everyone should do what the Army's doing, all that would achieve is to multiply our failures and weaknesses while simply being a carbon copy of our successes, the Army is not how everyone expresses their faith...and that's fine; service requires doing whatever it is that a community needs, we need all denominations to do what they do best, while lifting up and supporting each others weaknesses.
So please remember that despite mistakes, failures and weaknesses, we stand with the rest of the Church against injustice and hatred in a fallen world. We all, as Christians, carry with us the love and power of God so please keep in mind that: Anglican's, Roman Catholics, Baptists, Methodists and of course Salvationists as well as every other denominations which there isn't space to mention; are for life, not just for Christmas!
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