The Founder on 'former' Salvation Army officers -

The Founder on 'former' Salvation Army officers -

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sonia- SFOT CANADA

This first semester here at College for Officer Training has been full of learning experiences. I especially appreciated the opportunities to step out into the community around us and see what is happening right under our noses. I understand the Field course is to help us develop an awareness of the needs around us and how we can integrate that into our ministry as an Officer. To see that God is in all situations, sometimes we have to peel back the layers to find Him, but He is there.

I have a passion for the community and it has been deepened through various activities that I have been so fortunate to participate in. I feel that these are great examples of the advantages we have in training with the College being here in Winnipeg. For such a long time many people, including me would complain about the closure of the College in NL. I am relieved to be here with a fresh new look that comes from the numerous opportunities for ministry here in Manitoba.

One of the most memorable and profound experiences for me was the Prayer Walk during the first few weeks of classes. Prayer is the most important key to all our ministries—it is our communication with God. He is the one sending us forth on His mission and so it would be essential for us to keep in tune with Him and what better way than to walk around the community were we are appointed and pray over the many obstacles, concerns, and opportunities to build relationships with the people whom we will encounter each day. This had a very real impact on my spiritual walk with God. I see the benefits of doing the same where ever I get appointed to. I like the opportunity of getting familiar with the area, but stopping and praying whenever we saw something or someone we felt needed prayer really made the walk come to life. This is life, it is not perfect. We would like everyone to be housed, loved and supported with wonderful families like we grew up with, but it is not always real for some people. The most profound part of the walk was the bridge. I unknowingly stood at the middle of the bridge took what I thought was a beautiful picture of the river, it was very calm. The broken tree added to the character of the picture. I remember looking down and seeing a pair of jeans hung over the floating wharf and thinking how odd that was. Just moments later to find out that people live under this bridge. People praying randomly for what that place represented, the music on the radio playing “Devil on my shoulder”, all I could think is that Satan is such a liar and thief! These people are lost, they are feeling like they have no place in this world, we don’t know why or how they ended up under this bridge but we do know that they need prayer. To look through the trees at the side of the river and see the golden boy atop of the Legislature Building was such a contrast. Every day we drive over that bridge to get to CFOT. Every day I pray for those who have slept under that bridge at some time or another. Every day, I recall the picture the broken tree across the calm river which I am sure is not always calm waters; the broken tree now represents the broken lives under the bridge. There was more to the prayer walk, all very meaningful to me but this was the most touching God moment I have ever had.

The night we attended the theatre show “Souvenirs” was another God moment for me. I was impressed with the acting abilities of these two actors, but what was even more evident in the story line was that the important things in life are not the things you can buy but what legacy you leave behind in your friends and loved ones. The lodge was not what would be important to this girl; neither would the money the souvenirs would bring in, but the little things. Quality time spent with the father, learning to cut up an onion, that’s what is important—priceless moments.
As an Officer, we may not have to deal with the same situation, but I do believe that there are similar ones that will come our way and we will have to be involved. Families breaking up; children acting out and needing attention from their parents; children turning to a life of crime, drugs and alcohol basically the product of a broken home. We will certainly need to polish up our pastoral care skills to tackle some of these situations.

Kristalnach was a different experience. I certainly had never had an opportunity to attend such a memorial as this, however I do believe it was a blessing for the Salvation Army to be welcomed to step in and witness the loss and devastation of the Jewish community through the Holocaust. In this experience, I could see that remembering is not always a bad thing, it was sad and I am thankful to have been a part of the congregation. I can see that it is very noticeable to let the community know that you care and to share in their hurt even if it did not directly affect you. Again, this is about building relationships with other religions as well as people.

I felt honoured to be included with the march around the Convention Centre on Remembrance Day. As I looked around this large building and saw so many servicemen and women, I prayed my way around the building thanking God for these people who give of their live to fight for our rights, our safety and others rights and safety. I then prayed for us as Cadets in training and Commissioned Officers in the Salvation Army that God would also protect us and enlarge our territory as we fight the Spiritual Warfare. We too give up the comforts of having our family and friends around us; we give our all, our dreams and aspirations to the high call of Officership into battle we go, each and every day.

I was completely side swiped when it came to attending the Hope in the City Breakfast at the Convention Center. I don’t know what I was thinking it was, but I did not realize who the guests would be and their contributions to the Salvation Army. I will definitely keep this event in mind for future opportunities where ever I am appointed with the Salvation Army. At first I was a little taken back by the money spent on such an event when there are so many people who could use a good cooked breakfast in this city, but as I sat and listened to those taking part then I realized that if we didn’t have the big business people backing us what would we be able to accomplish really? Their support is needed and listening to Dr. Tom Jackson was the highlight of the week. I am still on a high from that, really, a rags to riches story and the best part is that the money is not the riches that he is consumed with; he is rich in Jesus Christ.

These are all very valuable lessons, I hope I will never forget them; however as time goes by I know that my ministry will be filled with an abundance of learning experiences and God moments. I feel that in these few months of training I have grown immensely. My eyes have been opened to things I have never seen before, and probably will never see in Newfoundland. I am thankful for the positive influence these experiences have had on me. I feel that my calling has been reconfirmed over and over. Attending different events in the Community has been an experience in itself, but it shows me that the presence of the clergy, regardless of the denomination is essential to bringing people together. It shows that I care about you and it doesn’t matter if you are not a member of my congregation. It shows that I am willing to go beyond my duty or my job description and it most importantly shows the love of God.

It was challenging to attend these events, sometimes because I was tired and needed to rest or do another assignment and sometimes I felt that I wouldn’t learn anything from it. I was so wrong! I learned something from each event we attended, and even more importantly I found myself spending time with God in those moments.

I am sure I will always have questions unanswered. I am always in the learning mode, learning something new each day. I cannot pretend to know it all—I just give myself to God to be used by Him.

Sonia

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Will there be Family Reunions in Heaven? 3/3



Part three  (3/3)


Will there be Family Reunions in Heaven? 


These questions were asked by the Sadducees. They asked if a woman had been married to seven different men, whose wife would she be in the next life.  Jesus’ response was: “When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”  The passage ends with an even more baffling statement: “God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living?” What does that mean?  Perhaps the whole thing is a non-answer to the question.  Or if it is an answer, it suggests that the afterlife is very different from the relationships we have in this life.

Paul says about resurrection that there are two kinds of bodies, “a physical and a spiritual body".  One is like a seed the other like a full grown plant.  Think how different the two are from each other. In Romans he assures us that we die into God.  He writes “we do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves.  If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”  So, if there is an afterlife, what will it be like?

John Polkinghorne, an Anglican priest and physicist thinks he knows.  In his book the Faith of a Physicist, he writes: “the physical resurrection is a perfectly coherent hope, in which our souls function along the lines of DNA, carrying the unique pattern of each one inside our bodies, and when we die is used by God to create new bodies, in any future world of God’s choosing.”  




What do you think?  I must confess I don’t have a clue.  But I am confident that the One who raised me up in life will raise me up in death.  We die into God.  What more that means, I do not know, but that is all I need to know.




Dr. John Sullivan
Former Officer Canada
Ordained Minister at The United Church of Canada



Studied Homiletics and Liturgics at Claremont School of Theology
Princeton Theological Seminary and University of TorontoClaremont School of TheologyPrinceton Theological Seminary and University of Toronto
Salvation Army Traing College, Toronto






Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Will there be Family Reunions in Heaven? 2/2

Part TWO 


The early Christians did not believe that there will be family reunions in heaven?. They believed that at the end of time there would be a general resurrection of the dead and people would then be given their reward or punishment; the Kingdom would appear with the Second Coming, and everyone would be brought back to life, to see and experience it.  


But the question remained, what happened to those who died before the end of the age?  Paul believed that when Christ would return “the dead in Christ would rise first, and the bodies of those still living would become immortal”.  This was also the view of John. He claimed that there would be a future resurrection, and that a New Jerusalem would descend from the sky and it would have gates of pearl and streets of gold; and that the saints would live forever here on earth.

When Jesus didn’t come soon, there began a long process of reinterpretation. The teaching of the resurrection of the body got transmuted into a message that judgment comes at the end of one’s life, with one’s soul going to one place or the other.  In short, the notion of the resurrection of the body became transformed into the Greek doctrine of the immortality of the soul.  Since then, the afterlife has been so central that it has been the primary motive, along with the fear of Hell, for being a Christian.

So what might we think?  Research on near-death experiences suggests that we do enter another realm at death, the tunnel, the bright light, the experience of leaving the body and seeing things from a vantage point outside the body.  Who knows what it all means?  If there is a blessed afterlife, and I am there, will I know that I am me?  

Will there be family reunions? If so, is this good or bad?


PARt TWO (2/3)


Dr. John Sullivan
Former Officer Canada

Monday, October 27, 2014

Will there be Family Reunions in Heaven? 1/3


As you know, Glad's mum has been near death's door these last 13 days and was this afternoon ushered in to be with Jesus and all the heavenly hosts for all that is eternity. Her Promoted to Glory praise and remembrance  celebration will be conducted at the SA hall, Southport, UK where she was a lifelong soldier and active Christ warrior.

A bit of PTG history - 
Non-salvationists are often intrigued by the use of the term 'promoted to Glory'. The Founder was convinced that the custom, then almost universally followed, of wearing black clothing heavily trimmed with somber crepe as a sign of mourning was opposed to the teaching of Christ. He believed that Christ is in deepest sympathy with our sorrows, but that he desires to make these sorrows stepping-stones to greater faith in a loving heavenly Father and deeper submission to his will. 

In all his arrangements for times of bereavement the Founder aimed to show how sadness could be alleviated and death turned into victory. He introduced the cross-and-crown badge to be worn on the left arm by those bereaved. For those who would otherwise have worn 'mourning' dress, this served as a token of abiding affection for the departed but was also a positive declaration of faith and hope. 

Every Salvation Army funeral is regarded as a valuable opportunity for comforting and strengthening the mourners and for urging the unsaved to seek and find salvation. The first simple edge-stonein Abney Park Cemetery which marked the resting-place of 'Catherine Booth, the Mother of The Salvation Army', asked every passer-by, 'Do you also follow Christ?' This was a model in memorial stones, consistent with the highest teaching of The Salvation Army. 

Memorial services were introduced, specifically to challenge the living with the witness of those who had themselves lived victoriously in Christ. The first of these was held on the first anniversary of Catherine Booth's death, in the Agricultural Hall-then one of London's largest buildings. It was impossible for the speakers to be heard in so large a hall, but each part of the service was indicated by large illuminated signs, so that the audience of some 15,000could join in all the songs and prayers. Scenes from Mrs Booth's life and messages both from her writings and from those of the Founder were displayed on a great lantern screen. A similar service was held in connection with the promotion to Glory of the Founder himself.






PROMOTED TO GLORY


Non-salvationists are often intrigued by the Army's use of the term 'promoted to Glory'. The Founder, William Booth, was convinced that the custom, then almost universally followed, of wearing black clothing heavily trimmed with somber crepe as a sign of mourning was opposed to the teaching of Christ. He believed that Christ is in deepest sympathy with our sorrows, but that he desires to make these sorrows stepping-stones to greater faith in a loving heavenly Father and deeper submission to his will. 


In all his arrangements for times of bereavement the Founder aimed to show how sadness could be alleviated and death turned into victory. He introduced the cross-and-crown badge to be worn on the left arm by those bereaved. 

For those who would otherwise have worn 'mourning' dress, this served as a token of abiding affection for the departed but was also a positive declaration of faith and hope. 

Every Salvation Army funeral is regarded as a valuable opportunity for comforting and strengthening the mourners and for urging the unsaved to seek and find salvation. The first simple edge-stonein Abney Park Cemetery which marked the resting-place of 'Catherine Booth, the Mother of The Salvation Army', asked every passer-by, 'Do you also follow Christ?' This was a model in memorial stones, consistent with the highest teaching of The Salvation Army. 
Memorial services were introduced, specifically to challenge the living with the witness of those who had themselves lived victoriously in Christ. The first of these was held on the first anniversary of Catherine Booth's death, in the Agricultural Hall-then one of London's largest buildings. It was impossible for the speakers to be heard in so large a hall, but each part of the service was indicated by large illuminated signs, so that the audience of some 15,000 could join in all the songs and prayers. Scenes from Mrs Booth's life and messages both from her writings and from those of the Founder were displayed on a great lantern screen. A similar service was held in connection with the promotion to Glory of the Founder himself.


"Will there be any stars in that crown I receive when I leave my earthly shroud behind?" (Swedish SA Songbook) 


Painting by Swedish artist and family friend Bengt Engman. 


The Salvationist asks that he be allowed to wear his red guernsey as his robes of white are presented in preparation for him to meet Jesus, family and friends.


The original painting hangs in the SA corps hall in the village of Vansbro, Sweden, the home town of the artist and where he was a Junior Soldier.

Dr. Sven Ljungholm
Former Officer
USA, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova
Birkenhead Corps, UK
_______________________________________

The concept of a bodily resurrection is one of the reasons some people do not become Christians.  In their minds it means that someday all the bodies of people who have ever lived will be reassembled.  For others, it means that what makes one unique will survive. Others believe that the moment one dies, one’s soul is translated into the joys of heaven, or assigned to the pains of hell.  

PART ONE (1/3)

Dr. John Sullivan
Former Officer Canada & Bermuda

Ordained Minister The United Church of Canada   

Studied Homiletics and Liturgics at Claremont School of Theology 
Princeton Theological Seminary
University of Toronto
Salvation Army Training College, Canada

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Applauding Thanksgiving Halftime Show!

Applauding Thanksgiving Halftime Show!

For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day Halftime Show with Selena Gomez. I’ll refrain from responding to all the negativity out there, as it will only fuel the enemies fire, those looking to jump on any weakness in our armor.

What I will do is write something positive, as this will ‘Do The Most Good' in my opinion, as opposed to negatives that reflect badly upon everyone, no matter what side of the issue they're on.

First, I want to salute the Jone’s family for what they do day in and day out for The Salvation Army. It’s not just 6 minutes during a halftime show that may or may not resonate with the cultural values of every viewer. I’ve sat on the Commissioner’s Conference, been involved intimately with the National Advisory Board, and I’ve seen their Christian spirit up close and personal. It is real and genuine. Let’s celebrate, not denigrate it.

There are charitable organizations, religious and otherwise, who would give anything for this kind of opportunity. The financial contribution in prime media airtime and national exposure is mind boggling. I watched the show and recognized immediately that this was geared to the right genre, the charitable giving audience of tomorrow. My personal response was to applaud the producers for their creative vision and willingness to cross those cultural boundaries.

The Founder got hammered by the religious elite for taking on the cultural taboo’s of his day, but I’ll not delve into that as it would only provide more fodder for the negativity furnace (There is a parallel here, however). I’ve been hammered relentlessly at times for crossing cultural boundaries, so I write from a wealth of experience, scars and all. Success involves risk taking, and risk taking is fraught with danger. The larger the stage, the greater the risk. The greater the risk, the larger the reward, and sometimes, consequently, the steeper the fall. And every successful venture is preceded by many falls.

Selena Gomez, and those of her ilk, do not resonate with this aging septuagenarian. In fact, I had no idea who she was until this Thanksgiving weekend. But the GEN Y multitudes do, and they view things differently through a filtered cultural lens. I remember, clearly, when Elvis hit the world stage. “The world is going to hell in a hand basket,” the religious elite cried. And the beat goes on.

And The Salvation Army is losing this generation, simply because we are turning a blind eye to their cultural realities. Whilst not the purpose of this writing, I do have the research and data to back it up, perhaps the subject of another Blog soon.

My main message here is directed to those who have chosen social media as the medium for airing their grievances. May I suggest that there is a better and more productive way, as we all have every right to express our opinions. And I do respect every POV, although it may differ from mine. Let’s remember when expressing ourselves, that those on both sides of the issue care deeply about The Salvation Army’s mission. Let’s celebrate it, virtually, online, and everywhere else.





Joe Noland, Commissioner
http://joenoland.blogspot.co.uk