You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
I am sure we have all sung this old Victorian hymn lustily at some point or another. It always brings to my mind the Salvation Army which was founded in the East End of London in 1865 by William Booth and his wife Catherine to tackle in a practical way the poverty and destitution of the area at the time. Their work with the homeless, those with an addiction, the prostitutes, the downtrodden and those whom polite society would rather ignore continues to this day. Of course it is not only the Salvation Army that cares for the neglected members of society in this way: there are many other such organisations. Indeed in his Epistle to the Ephesians St Paul instructs them and us all to “Put on the whole armour of God” And this is the point. We are all called to be soldiers of Christ, enrolled under the banner of the Cross. Now, having put on our uniform and had the usual photos taken for the family album what part do we play in God’s army. Are we in the vanguard swords drawn and gleaming in the midday sun with trumpets blaring out the Good News? Or do we rather stay on the sidelines not quite prepared to commit ourselves fully just yet?
Just a couple of thoughts, and I make no judgement here, I leave that to you.
In the news we hear of many refugees who are fleeing their war torn homeland to seek a better life in Europe. Obviously as Christians we have compassion for them but do we breathe a sigh of relief that some, if not the majority, are intending to make Germany their home rather than the UK?
Again, in the High Street we often see a young chap sitting on the pavement playing a guitar linked to an amp with a cap in front of him. He is clearly begging. Now, is he homeless? If so should we put something in his cap as he obviously needs it? On the other hand is he making rather a good living doing this? As the bus is due shortly perhaps it would be safer to put a few coins in the Salvation Army collection bucket next time we see one. They will know how to look after him.
So where are you when the roll call is taken? Where do you stand?
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years