Sep12TueRetrospective #7 September 12, 2017 Randy C. Hicks
Sometime in 1965 the calendar would reach thirty-six thousand and five hundred days since the Christian Mission, under the leadership of a Reform Methodist street evangelist, had commenced work in the East End slums of London England. The general-superintendent William Booth, referred to affectionately as the “General,” in just a short period would see his mission become The Salvation Army!
The first logo at the bottom of this post appeared in multiple forms used in promotional material marking this centenary at which time countries and colonies in which the S.A. was working numbered 69 and the languages in which Salvation was preached numbered 162.
In The Salvation Army Year Book of 1965, General Frederick Coutts writes:
“The mission of The Salvation Army is very simple and can be simply stated. It is to take the Christian gospel to the people wherever the people are. This can be understood quite literally for we ourselves act upon it literally. Wherever people are to be found there we go with the only message that can change character, transform the home, redeem society and save the world. Consequently, those who raise their never so slightly when a group of young Salvationists make an early morning appearance at ‘The Blue Angel’, or hold street meetings in Soho late on Saturday evenings, cannot have understood our unqualified acceptance of the Saviour’s command to preach the gospel to every creature, nor can they be aware of the example set by our Salvationist fathers in faith”
Stopping at a border crossing on route to the U.S. we momentarily lost track of our travelling companions. We eventually realized that they were in a different line not too far behind us. When asked by the guard where we were headed, for the moment my mind went blank and so I nervously blurted out “We’re following the folk behind us!” The look on the Agent’s face was priceless! He was not amused! My son then shouted our destination from the backseat saving his dad from further embarrassment and stupidity!
The above logo used at the time of the centenary seems to suggest the same thing! In our “right-to -left” world (with apologies to all of you left handed people) they appear to be looking back but of course that’s what you do at anniversary time. That’s what I do in each of these submissions. I invite you to join me looking back.
While I recognize the value in this, from a learning perspective, ought we to now be looking forward as well? In 1865 the pioneers had a vision for what was to come, a mission to see ahead, while trusting God to provide and direct.
Can we even imagine what might be fifty years from now, one hundred years from now, a thousand years from now? It boggles the mind! Nevertheless we need to support and encourage the prophets among us who push us to change, improve and better our efforts for the sake of the Kingdom and the Glory of God! Kudos to those who experiment, take risks, even suffer persecution or ridicule from multiple sources (including us, well me anyway...) while looking to Jesus - ahead of us;
the Christ of yesterday,
the Christ of today and
the Christ of tomorrow!
Fire a volley! Amen!