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Friday, 1 June 2018

Salvationists Assemble!!!

"There was an idea, Booth knew this, called the Salvation Army Initiative The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people, see if they could become something more. See if they could work together when we needed them to to fight the battles we never could."

- Nick Fury (outrageously ripped off and paraphrased)

Before we get started I'll admit that this is probably the cheesiest post I've written...but I think it's an important message so I hope you'll stick with me.

The Heroes the world needs:

Maybe you're already humming The Avengers Theme tune ...and hopefully you'll forgive the shamelessly ripped off and plagiarised quote from Nick Fury...but this really was the idea behind the Salvation be an organisation of heroes, faithful champions who would storm the forts of darkness and fight against hate, injustice, homelessness, social inequality, faithlessness, and hopelessness.

Or to put it in the Army's founder, William Booth's own words, in his famous 'Vision of the Lost':

"Does the surging sea look dark and dangerous? Unquestionably it is so. There is no doubt that the leap for you, as for everyone who takes it, means difficulty and scorn and suffering. For you it may mean more than this. It may mean death. He who 
beckons you from the sea however, knows what it will mean - and knowing, He still 
calls to you and bids to you to come.

You must do it! You cannot hold back. You have enjoyed yourself in Christianity 
long enough. You have had pleasant feelings, pleasant songs, pleasant meetings, 
pleasant prospects. There has been much of human happiness, much clapping of 
hands and shouting of praises - very much of heaven on earth.

Now then, go to God and tell Him you are prepared as much as necessary to turn your 
back upon it all, and that you are willing to spend the rest of your days struggling in 
the midst of these perishing multitudes, whatever it may cost you.

You must do it. With the light that is now broken in upon your mind and the call that 
is now sounding in your ears, and the beckoning hands that are now before your eyes, 
you have no alternative. To go down among the perishing crowds is your duty. Your 
happiness from now on will consist in sharing their misery, your ease in sharing their pain, your crown in helping them to bear their cross, and your heaven in going into the very jaws of hell to rescue them."

Click Here for a shortened but dramatic reading of this vision for the lost and the mission of Salvation Army and wider Church.

What it means to be a Salvationist:

This is what I believe it means to be a Salvationist and of course a Christian from any denomination...we are called to take a stand against injustice, hatred and all the other things I listed above...

Check out this post from the archives about what I believe the role and importance of the Salvation Army Soldier truly is (including Officers, Adherents and members)
No Soldier left behind

The days of sitting back and avoiding conflicts are gone...the world needs us. Just as in William Booth's day, the needs of our fellow man are crying out to us. We must decide how we will respond...right wing hate groups seem to be everywhere as is 'casual' racism, Brexit is dividing communities, terrorism haunts our steps, gun crime seems to be on the rise, and our politicians and leaders appear to be only interested in themselves and not the common good...if we're looking for examples of heroes and champions...they won't be found wonder we seem obsessed with superhero movies at the moment...we seem sadly lacking in real world heroes.

That's where we come in...we are called and empowered to be beacons and lighthouses in the storms of this world, guiding people to God as is the entire Church of course.

But...and this is a big'll never find an active lighthouse in the middle of a field, miles from the ocean... because that's not where they're needed... that's surely what Booth's vision is all about... meeting the needs around us where THEY are, instead of where WE are and where WE are comfortable.

Sometimes being a hero and fighting against all the things that we are called to fight against; means stepping out, being unpopular, leaving our own comfort zones, and taking the fight far behind enemy lines...we spend so much time and energy as a Church trying to attract people into our buildings and events... when really we should be putting this effort into inspiring and encouraging those within our congregations to get out of our buildings and out into the streets where the battlefield really is... otherwise we're just lighthouses in a field, giving light to each other...which for the record is definitely not a bad thing... it's important and necessary to build each other up and be beacons for each other, keeping ourselves on track, on task, on the right path and of course in the light... but that's not where our mission should end!

As C.T. Studd put it:
"Some want to live within the sound
Of church or chapel bell;
I want to run a rescue shop,
Within a yard of hell."

Developing the hero inside:

So my advice and encouragement for those interested, is to build yourselves, strengthen yourselves, trust and believe in God. Do what you need to do to reach your potential... heroes are not built overnight...Iron man spent years perfecting his armour, Captain America spent years building his character, determination and integrity before the super soldier serum gave him his physical powers, Thor had to experience life without his powers to discover who he really was and could become, Hulk had to learn to embrace his powers and potential to become more than a mindless beast... and the list goes on...every hero took time and effort to really reach their full potential and become true heroes.

But of course they didn't then spend their time congratulating each other and resting on their laurels (ok... Tony Stark/Iron man probably spent a while congratulating himself) they got to work, they fought the battles ordinary people couldn't, they stepped out and stepped up...they joined the battle where they were needed and despite sometimes having feelings of inadequacy or fear they didn't let anything stop them being who they had to be and doing what they had to do... the same goes for those early Salvation Army and women who gave up everything to serve God and man and fight for those around them who cried out for help... and the same goes for us today following in their spend that time and effort to reach your potential, become the hero you need to be; it is time well spent but don't stop there... get to work and be the hero this world needs you to be... and needs us all to be...

The Team:

Of course to do all this, we not only have to build ourselves and trust God...we have to learn to work together and put aside those things that divide us, to be, not just amazing individuals but an amazing team of heroes, like the Avengers...but in our case, joined together, empowered and equipped by God to save our fallen and hurting world...

So without further ado:

Salvationists Assemble!!!

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Disclaimer: the opinions and comments expressed in this blog are personal and do not necessarily represent the views and policies of the Salvation Army

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