Saturday, February 8, 2014

Onward March with the Blood and Fire... Perhaps



Onward march with the blood and fire!

Wait a minute?

The word 'onward' is a little old.

And marching? We don't march anymore. We barely do open-air meetings.

Blood? Why do speak of something that is so quaint to the secular world around us?

And fire? Serious? Does anyone believe that anymore. If we really believed that, Salvation Army ministry would be very different.

*****

I'm being facetious. Yet there's truth in what I'm saying. While we may not understand the complexities of salvation in Christ, we still call people to it. While we may not grasp the significance of the blood of Jesus, we still understand it transforms lives. While we look around and do not always see Salvation Army ministry characterised by 'Fire', we nonetheless believe in the 'Fire of the Holy Ghost!'.

It's time to onward march with the blood and fire. Or let me say, it's time to move forward in unity with the blood of Jesus and the power and presence of Jesus amongst us!

While our expression of Salvation Army ministry gradually shifts over time, the passion and foundations of our faith do not. A problem I sense, is that while The Salvation Army have grappled with contextualising Salvation Army ministry in today's world, we've lost the grit, the passion and the bold, world-changing kind of faith in the process. While we've discussed our theology, our methods, our uniforms, our quasi-military structure and the like, we have thrown out a radical desire to witness the world be transformed through this evangelical branch of the universal Christian Church. 

William Booth, in an address entitled, 'The Salvation Army', said passionately, 'Push forward, never heed the number or position of your foes, or the impossibility of overcoming them. Your Salvation Army has been made to accomplish the impossible and conquer that which to human calculations cannot be overcome. Forward!'

Has this changed? For some it has. We no longer 'onward march with the blood and fire', we simply 'wake up and be, and hope for the best.' I'm being a little provocative, because it's time we let the embers in our bellies flare up and the power, grace and forgiveness of Christ to permeate inside and outside this movement in which we serve.

We must move forward.

*****

There is so much more to say. There always is. Feel free to make a comment and add to the discussion.

(My wife has kindly told me that I have mixed up, 'Onward Christian Soldiers' and 'On ye march with the blood and fire' - but I'm sure you are cluey enough to have noticed that, and still grasped the point of what I was saying).

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