Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
Beyond the Resurrection: The Conspiracy of Love
On Easter Monday we reflected on the Significance of the Resurrection. And yesterday we moved into the “Beyond” part of this series; which will round out our Lenten Season and Easter celebrations as we contemplate what happens Beyond the Resurrection--the beginning and not the end of the new life that Jesus promised. Thus, we began with reviewing the Prince of Peace’s promise to His disciples—including us--of His peace, presence, and power through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Today we will continue with another feature that happened, and continues to occur, Beyond the Resurrection: The Conspiracy of Love. What does the word “conspiracy” mean? Most dictionaries define a conspiracy as an act or an agreement among conspirators to engage in a detrimental or harmful plan of action. However, I view this as an opportunity to take back ground from the enemy via expanding the meaning to include something positive. Many people have caught onto this idea; and, for example they may be involved in “Random Acts of Kindness” (RAK), a non-profit group that encourages people to spread kindness throughout their communities. The other concept that has gained in popularity and practice is the “Pay it Forward” (PIF) idea; which operates on the principle that if someone does something nice for you, you then do something good for someone else (but not the person that was kind to you). Both RAK and PIF are great ideas, because they both involve a (positive) conspiracy to spread love and compassion. This is precisely the conspiracy of love in which Christians are called to engage.
The Conspiracy of Love is also known by another familiar name, “The Great Commission,” which is recorded in Matthew 28: 16-20. What is a ‘commission’? A commission is an order that grants an individual or group the right to conduct a range of acts and duties. For those of us whom have been Commissioned as Salvation Army Officers (pastors), we understand that we signed a Covenant dedicating ourselves to Christ’s service prior to being Commissioned and authorized to minister to others in our churches and communities:
CALLED BY GOD
to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
as an officer of The Salvation Army
I BIND MYSELF TO HIM IN THIS SOLEMN COVENANT
to love and serve him supremely all my days,
to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life,
to care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unlovable, and befriend those who have no friends,
to maintain the doctrines and principles of The Salvation Army, and, by God's grace to prove myself a worthy officer.
Done in the strength of my Lord and Saviour, and in the presence of (the following wording to be adapted to local circumstances) the Territorial Commander, training college officers and fellow cadets.
Thus, our Salvation Army Officer’s Commissions were given to us in the same manner as Jesus, Who authorized and commissioned His disciples to a life of service. He stated, “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age,” (Mt. 28:16-20, NIV). The Great Commission includes evangelism and missions work. The challenge to each of us is to consider what we are doing to further the Conspiracy of Love—in His name and for His glory. Amen.
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)