Sep8FriRetrospective #5 September 8, 2017 Randy C. Hicks
Retrospective #5 Cross & Crown
Randy C. Hicks
I’d stared at the picture many times but hadn’t really noticed until today it caught my eye. I vaguely remember seeing it as a child, not that I can say exactly when or where or even who! It is no longer in use (at least not in this territory) and so that would explain its absence from mind. Only a small portion of a large photo it now jumped off the page at me.It became the only thing I could see!
A black patch on the Founder’s left sleeve embroidered with a red crown over a red cross. As I looked closer it was actually on a black (uniform-coloured) armband. After some investigation I would be reminded that it’s actually a “Mourning Badge.”
In the case of the Founder, no doubt it signified the loss of his dear wife, partner and Co-Founder of the Salvation Army - Catherine.
In the book ON THE BANKS OF THE RIVER by Bramwell Booth, you’ll find the following quote from the War Cry of the day:
“Catherine Booth, the Mother of The Salvation Army, entered into the presence of the King on Saturday afternoon, her hand in our beloved General’s, and with many members of her family around her couch. The end was peace. Through the cold and deep and stormy waters the Pilot bore her into Harbour. Every conflict passed. Every victory gained. At peace with all the world, reverenced by tens of thousands known and unknown. Loved, honoured, trusted, obeyed on a thousand of God’s battle-fields – a chosen Leader and Warrior lays down her sword, a conqueror takes up her crown. Hallelujah! Glory be to the Father, Glory be to the Son, Glory be to the Holy Ghost! The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!”
Hardly what one would call mournful speech!
When an Army comrade passes we say that he or she has been “Promoted to Glory!” My “Home-League-Treasurer” grandmother testified of getting saved as entering Kindergarten, growing in discipleship as a true soldier for her was like moving from grade to grade (the metaphor of cross-bearing might apply here if one thinks of things like discipline, commitment, learning, and sacrifice) and being promoted to glory would be, for her, graduation day! She would receive her diploma! A crown for the victor!
I often picture a congregation using my Nan’s model, seeing them as a one-room school with beginners, intermediates and soon to be graduates. It certainly makes for an interesting teaching/preaching challenge for the C.O.!
Being it is September; Facebook friends have been posting pictures of children and grand-children returning to school - Beautiful snaps of excited little ones and maturing youngsters and teens. For some (such as our own little sprite, Mary-Ann) it’s a beginning – Kindergarten; for others they are further along and for still others graduation is in sight - finishing secondary school that is! And of course graduation means celebration!
For whom today do you wear the badge (figuratively of course)?
Just think – they have graduated!
They have been Promoted to Glory!
They’ve exchanged their cross for a crown! Hallelujah!