During the Polish campaign of 1939 (World War II), German forces, armed with weapons of modern warfare faced off against an opposing force of Polish Cavalry on horseback. The results were devastating to the primitive, Polish army who rode on horseback into the fray against metal machinery and tanks. Certainly times had changed. The ways in which wars were fought had changed as well. Those who refused to adapt and prepare themselves for a foreign, more modernly armed aggressor were soundly defeated and stood no chance within this modern war.
Make no mistake, dear Soldier, we are soldiers of an Army actively engaged in a spiritual war! We must be prepared! We absolutely hold to the truths of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ and the power of The Holy Spirit as the Commander of our Army.
There MUST be preparation for modern battles.
The past is in the past.
We have a tremendous heritage…but, we cannot ONLY look back, we must engage in the here and now and prepare our Army of Salvation for the future.
That being said…
Questions and Metaphors:
Are there still times when we are riding into battle on horseback when the enemy is armed with tanks?
Are we naive and disconnected with the realities OUTSIDE of the corps, DHQ, THQ, IHQ?
Do we come prepared to engage the enemy and prepared to help save suffering humanity?
I know that our intentions are good!
But I also wonder if, sometimes, we are ill prepared to truly help pull people from the slums, the pits, the darkest places?
Modern Rules For An Old Army:
(I don’t wish to insult or imply that we are all “out of date” antiques in uniform, these are merely suggested rules for engaging in modern culture and modern issues)
1) Cliche’s, Jargon and Gobble-de-goop
Everyone who has lived within the Army world long enough knows certain phrases intrinsic to The Salvation Army. Phrases like “Fire a volley”, “Washed in the blood”, “Mercy Seat”, “Gospel Shots”…and many more. We might understand these phrases, and over time new comers might as well, I’m not saying throw them out, but perhaps we ought to refine and explain these phrases before “firing off a volley”. Perhaps one of these modern rules might be to explain our words, use understandable terminologies around new comers and visitors in the hopes of making them feel at home and welcomed.
2) Uniforms BEWARE!
I am not advocating the discontinuation of uniform wear, but let’s make sure visitors are welcomed into our corps and sanctuaries! Eight times out of ten we welcome these guests and would be members, but then there are the two percent who have so much starch within their uniforms that these uniforms can hang up themselves. Soldiers and Officers, wear your uniform diligently but consider the hearts of visitors and non-uniform wearing members before you consider what they might be wearing. We can help a modern world while still wearing our uniforms…can’t we?
3) People are Imperfect…Glass Houses…
This is not an “escape clause” for people to carry on and live immorally. But, there are times when off color language might be heard in a corps building…shocker. There might be times when a recent convert slips up along the way. The standard that WE think should be upheld isn’t or can’t be upheld by those around us. I’m not saying don’t hold that standard, I’m saying be careful that we do not become Pharisees in our rigorous moral “rules” that we forget people will mess up. Don’t get so stringent that there is no room for grace when people mistakes and don’t live up to YOUR standards. Yes, do preach holiness. Do live holiness. Help others to recognize that living out and imitating Christ is possible, but don’t frustrate other people’s spiritual growth if they aren’t growing as fast as you would like them to grow. We live in a “fast-food” society where everything is instant, but we can’t make imperfect people instantly Christ-like…it will take time! Be patient.
4) Take Risks…Don’t Be Ostriches!
You know that old idea that Ostriches bury their heads in the sand…well guess what? They don’t. They dig holes for their eggs but they don’t put their heads into the dirt to hide. Long story short, we cannot be a ‘progressively moving forward’ kind of army if we do not take calculated risks within culture and evangelism. These risks will look differently in various places in the world, but without risk there is no reward. If we do not use these talents that God has given us, we will cease to be an Army of Salvation and instead be an Army social club. We ought to evangelize to everyone, no matter if they look like us or not. Jesus came for the whosoever and we ought to be seeking ALL who would receive Christ’s invitation for Salvation. Be mindful that we will be criticized and at times persecuted because of the risks we take to include people from all walks of life into our fellowship, but don’t fear the retribution if we are seeking to please the Lord and save people! Be bold! Be strong! For the Lord your God is with YOU! (Joshua 1:9)
In order to live within this modern world, our old, tired army has to be prepared and ready…are we?
Something more for our Army to ponder today.