Friday, 26 February 2010

St Theresa's Blessing

Saint Theresa is known as the Saint of the Little Ways, meaning she believed in doing the little things in life well and with great love. She is represented by roses.

May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Why I do the Things I Do Part 1

Salvation Army Uniform.

So, I am a Christian who serves God through the medium of the Salvation Army which is an international movement, and an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination - save souls, make saints and serve suffering humanity.

I have been a 'soldier' ( full member of the Salvation Army) since I was 14 and have certainly had my ups and downs in the intervening years and reading the declaration below, that I made then, again still do from time to time. Being a soldier entails making promises to God and a declaration as follows:
  • I will be responsive to the Holy Spirit's work and obedient to His leading in my life, growing in grace through worship, prayer, service and the reading of the Bible.
  • I will make the values of the Kingdom of God and not the values of the world the standard for my life.
  • I will uphold Christian integrity in every area of my life, allowing nothing in thought, word or deed that is unworthy, unclean, untrue, profane, dishonest or immoral.
  • I will maintain Christian ideals in all my relationships with others; my family and neighbours, my colleagues and fellow salvationists, those to whom and for whom I am responsible, and the wider community.
  • I will uphold the sanctity of marriage and of family life.
  • I will be a faithful steward of my time and gifts, my money and possessions, my body, my mind and my spirit, knowing that I am accountable to God.
  • I will abstain from alcoholic drink, tobacco, the non-medical use of addictive drugs, gambling, pornography, the occult and all else that could enslave the body or spirit.
  • I will be faithful to the purposes for which God raised up The Salvation Army, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, endeavouring to win others to Him, and in His name caring for the needy and the disadvantaged.
  • I will be actively involved, as I am able, in the life, work, worship and witness of the corps, giving as large a proportion of my income as possible to support its ministries and the worldwide work of the Army.
  • I will be true to the principles and practices of The Salvation Army, loyal to its leaders, and I will show the spirit of salvationism whether in times of popularity or persecution

Quite a massive undertaking and as a Christian, I know that I can only do this with the help of God and I can honestly say that there are times when I have fallen FAR FAR short of this. The other thing is that I am sure there are lots of people that live their lives in a similar way to this who have never pledged allegience to the Salvation Army.

Wearing uniform a Sunday has been a bone of contention for a while and I have been on a bit of a journey.

It wouldn't occur to me to wear anything else on a Sunday Morning now ( formal or informal ) and when I was leading the Children's Minstry it was functional to wear trousers and a hoodie rather than the embelished jacket and skirt of the more formal uniform, but once, when there wasn't a choice, it didn't bother me either way really.

So now I am wearing my formal uniform again and yes it is a bit tight, and sometimes uncomfortable, but that's becauseI've put some weight on more than anything else, so why bother?

To remind myself that being a Christian is hard and that I don't sacrifice much in my life and that the two 's' on my collar are a sign to me that I am saved to serve. It was and is costly for some people to wear their uniform and looking 'a bit wierd' one day of the week is fine by me.

Does it make sense in 21st Century Romford? Maybe not.

Is it stopping people coming to my church to find out more about God and The Salvation Army?Apparently not, as we have new visitors every week.

Is it old fashioned? Maybe, as smart casual is the order of the day everywhere now, or so it seems.

Has SA Uniform become tainted as a costume to be worn to 'be able to do' something - Maybe, but not in my SA church and so therefore I am free in the knowledge that I have a choice and choose to wear it.

So that's why I do what I do! Part 1