There is something about Passion Week and Easter Sunday that engages us in a significant way. We have all perhaps participated in special services over this past weekend that sharpen our focus on the Cross and empty tomb. We probably seek each year to look at these events in Scripture with fresh eyes. When Isaac Watts encouraged us to ‘See, from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down…’ (SASB 136), he was not calling us to supernatural visions but to see in our mind’s eye the suffering of our Lord on our behalf. The Easter triumph caused Thomas Kelly to call us to another mental vision: ‘Look, ye saints! The sight is glorious; See the man of sorrows now, From the fight returned victorious…’ (SASB 147).
This salvation story can never be contained within a week’s timeframe. On the contrary! Every meeting we hold in The Salvation Army, every aspect of our mission, every personal commitment and ministry is inextricably connected to what happened in a specific place and time to secure our full salvation. The international vision must flow from that, or it is on a collision course with God’s will for us personally and for the Army.
When I wrote to you in February, I concluded my travel information with a sunrise service in Nepal. Since then I have had an extended visit to Korea, meetings in Bedford Corps (UK Territory with the Republic of Ireland), ministry in Sweden and Switzerland, and the Easter weekend was spent at Sale Corps, Manchester (UKI). Each visit provided illustration after illustration of how God blesses his Army when people uplift the name of Jesus, declare with grace the gospel and keep faith with the mission he has given. Meetings are so diverse, cultures are different and music is varied. People hear the Word through various means and make life-changing decisions. People get saved. People experience the blessing of holiness. People commit again to serve the hurting, broken, lonely, dispossessed and lost.
It would be easy to paint a very glowing picture of what I see as I travel around the Army world. It is an indescribable blessing to actually see what God is doing in practical, concrete ways. No mental picture is required. But there are challenges too, lots of them! You know all about them as well, not only the uphill battles in ministry but also the personal mountains that seem impossible to climb. Viewing life with optimism does not come easily. Moving forward is easier said than done. But friends, please return to the eternal truths we saw during Passion Week and Easter Sunday. Our suffering, conquering Lord is with you, he will never fail you. His victory over sin and death is the final word. His resurrection power is yours for daily, moment-by-moment living.
Today live and serve in the strength of the Lord. Grasp each opportunity with tenacity. Be daring in hope.
Thank you for your witness and all you do to tell the world that there is power in the blood and in the name of Jesus.