The Whole World Redeeming 2015 : The Salvation Army’s Celebration of 150 Years of World-Wide Service
For those of us who missed watching live-stream sessions online of The Salvation Army’s Boundless 2015 Congress in London, there were links provided for viewing the meetings the day after they aired. These recorded meetings, on SAVN.TV were posted to Youtube. This was a fantastic idea, because the time zone differences would have made it impossible for many viewers to actually watch the live-streamed meetings. In addition to the actual sessions, there were pre- and post-meeting sessions that were hosted by Gavin Schofield-Smith and Major Danielle Strickland. During the pre-session chats, viewers were introduced to individuals and groups that were participating in the congress. In the post-session chats, the hosts were joined by other guests to share their reflections and responses to the meetings.
The first session, the opening rally, was 3 hours long. The 'parade of nations' was so amazing! It provided participants—on site and online—with a visual of the global nature of The Salvation Army’s ministry and service. It’s one thing to say or to list that The Salvation Army is in 127 territories around the world; it is quite another to see that statistic joyfully marching down the aisles of the O2 Arena in London, with flags unfurled and traditional costumes. What an incredible testimony to God’s grace and love being shared through The Salvation Army!
Being a Canadian, I was thrilled to see Commissioners Brian & Rosalee Peddle (who were on staff at The Salvation Army College for Officer Training in Toronto, Ontario, when my husband and I were cadets) walking in the Americas. You couldn't miss the excitement, joy and anticipation on the faces of everyone in attendance...whether it was the cameras panning the congregation or seeing it on the faces of the participants. It reminded me of the song, “Joy, Joy, Joy, there is joy in The Salvation Army. Joy, joy, joy, in the army of the Lord!”
Personally, I haven't 'missed' being in Salvation Army meetings for many years. I think that part of that is due to the fact that when we resigned from being Salvation Army Officers, we had a difficult time 'fitting back in' to local Salvation Army Corps/Community Churches. Yet, both our sons were dedicated in The Salvation Army—our eldest in Alberta and our youngest in Quebec. So, it has been very surprising to me to feel the emotional and spiritual impact--and the congress was just beginning! I knew that God had already been preparing the hearts and minds of the many people attending Boundless. I am also convinced that many more individuals have been moved and motivated as they viewed the congress online. Furthermore, the lives of many will be challenged and transformed when they come in contact with those who were at the congress, as they return to their own countries and cities, and share what they've experienced. Undoubtedly, those of us who have viewed the meetings online have been challenged to take an even greater stand for Christ in our communities. In the words of Fanny Crosby, “To God be the glory, great things He has done!” And modern worship leader, Chris Tomlin, challenges us not to rest on our laurels, but to focus on our God-given responsibility, “Greater things have yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city,” [Chris Tomlin, “Hello Love” album, published by Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing]. Hallelujah!
It was the beginning of the Boundless Congress, the opening rally, but what I saw and experienced so stirred and moved my heart and mind that I couldn’t wait for the next sesson! I wasn’t prepared for this reaction, but the anticipation for the next session is palpable.