November 2013: Ambassadors of Holiness (Part 2)
PURE WATER - An opportunity to consider holiness; what does it mean for a 21st century young person in The Salvation Army and how can we recapture and refresh holiness in our generation in a way that makes our world a better place? Thirteen year old Elmas Kassa lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. ‘I collect water four times a day in a 20 litre clay jar. It’s hard work,’ Elmas Kassa said. ‘I have never been to school as I have to help my mother so we can earn enough money. Our house doesn’t have a bathroom so I wash once a week and go to the toilet down by the river behind my house. I usually go with my friends as we’re supposed to go after dark when people can’t see us’ In last month’s Cell Extra we began to consider the Salvation Army ‘holiness’ doctrines, numbers 9 and 10, as part of our ‘Pure Water’ stream. We discussed how holiness is central to the beliefs of the Salvation Army. Last month we considered personal holiness. This month we turn our attention to social holiness, a phrase coined by John Wesley. We will consider how our lives empowered by the Holy Spirit can spill over into transforming the society in which we live, and discover our heritage in social action. One of the main things that birthed The Salvation Army and its mission was the fact that its founders were immersed in a world rife with poverty, starvation and injustice. William and Catherine Booth, so stirred up by the degradation they saw on the streets, realised that if the gospel story was to have power amongst the poor of their time, it needed to be backed up with actions. Their approach to mission changed and the ‘three S’s’ became the underlying theme of The Salvation Army: first soup, then soap, and finally salvation. Social action was central to William and Catherine’s spiritual and evangelistic beliefs – a vision that would help mend and heal a broken society.
‘‘A deep compassion for the plight of society’s outcasts, combined with the boldness and initiative to visit them on their home turf, was not just a distinctive of The Salvation Army – it was its very essence.’ 1
November 2013: Ambassadors of Holiness (Part 2)
Social justice is a massive and complex issue, but put simply it is the idea that the world and everyone in it can live equal, safe and dignified lives. It means that it is not acceptable that people should live in the world today without basic human rights, such as access to food, clean water, shelter, education, healthcare and the opportunity to work. But that’s not the picture for a large percentage of the people living today. The poorest in our world, that’s 1.4 billion people, live on less than about 80 pence a day. Imagine having just 80 pence to cover all your food, water, clothing, children’s education, healthcare and anything else that you need to provide for yourself and your family. In social action we demonstrate the love and justice of God. We seek to meet the needs of our fellow human beings. We show them that they matter, to us and to their Creator. What is the use of telling people that God loves them if their circumstances make it all but impossible for them to experience his love?
‘An ambassador of holiness is one who claims God’s love, along with his power to forgive, cleanse and restore. Once claimed for ourselves, we can bring hope and freedom to others through his saving grace. Are you up for the challenge?’2 1Munn 2
Major Beverly Ivany
1. AMBASSADORS OF HOLINESS (PART 2) - Social Holiness
John Wesley said there is ‘no holiness but social holiness’. He meant that we can’t do this on our own – it is within Christian community that holiness of life is to be realised. But more than that, we have a responsibility to outwork holiness to make our world a better place – a more just place, a more compassionate place. You cannot be holy except as you are engaged in making the world a better place. You do not become holy by keeping yourself pure and clean from the world but by plunging into ministry on behalf of the world’s hurting ones.’ (Rev. Dean Snyder ) ‘What is the use of preaching the Gospel to men whose whole attention is concentrated upon a mad, desperate struggle to survive? No-one gets a blessing if they have cold feet, and nobody ever got saved while they had toothache.’ (William Booth, 1989)
In what ways are you ‘making the world a better place’?
Look at The Salvation Army YouTube channel and watch some of the films of the variety of social action projects that The Salvation Army is involved in around the world.
Thank God for our rich heritage of Holiness. Ask for his power to help you live a life of holiness in a way that helps to make our world a better place.
2. AMBASSADORS OF HOLINESS (PART 2) - God of Justice
The story is told of a young Bible college student who decided that he would go through his Bible and cut out every reference that mentioned justice and the poor. He started in Genesis and worked his way all the way through to Revelation. When he had finished this task his Bible hung in threads. It wouldn’t hold together – it literally fell apart in his hands. The Bible has a lot to say about justice and the poor; in fact it is one of the most frequently spoken about issues in the Bible, with over one thousand references. Time and again God shows his compassion and love for the poor and marginalised people in society. Justice is at the heart of who God is and what God does. If we want to show his nature and purposes in the world we must therefore include an active demonstration of such compassion and care.
‘God sent me to free those who have been treated unfairly and to announce the time when the Lord will show his kindness.’ (Luke 4:18–19 NCV)
‘Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honours God.’
‘The Lord raises the poor up from the dust, and he lifts the needy from the ashes. He lets the poor sit with princes and receive a throne of honour.’
(Proverbs 14:31 NIV)
(1 Samuel 2:8 NCV)
‘Our Lord, I know that you defend the homeless and see that the poor are given justice.’
‘Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.’ (Deuteronomy 15:10 NLT)
(Psalm 140:12 CEV)
‘He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.’
‘The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do.”’
(Psalm 72:12 NLT)
(Psalm 12:5 NLT)
• Read the above Scriptures carefully. • Grab a highlighter and highlight and words or phrases that stand out to you. • Which Scripture leaps out at you the most right now? Why do you think that is? • Choose one Scripture and design it into a poster, picture, bookmark, graphic… or simply write out on a Post-it note! Memorise it. • What one action or change you could make to live in a way that more closely resembles the lifestyle that these Scriptures are describing?
Choose one of these Scriptures and turn it into a prayer. Ask God to fill you with his heart of compassion for the poor in our world.
3. AMBASSADORS OF HOLINESS (PART 2) - I’ll Fight
But you must defend those who are helpless and have no hope. Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless. (Proverbs 31:8-9 CEV)
‘While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight, I’ll fight to the very end!’ (William Booth 1912) Right at the beginning of The Salvation Army, the founders William and Catherine Booth, were so moved by the plight of the poor people in East London where they were working that they put their faith into action. They quickly realised that people who were struggling to feed or clothe their children, or who didn’t have anywhere safe and clean to live or work, would find it difficult to hear and accept the message of the Gospel. Their approach to mission changed and the three S’s became the mantra of The Salvation Army… first soup, then soap, and finally salvation! William Booth also wrote a shocking book detailing the poverty that he saw in Britain and members of The Salvation Army campaigned and worked tirelessly to help people to find work, search for missing relatives, find shelter in a hostel or buy tools and set up a new trade with a small loan. Within nine years of the book being published, The Salvation Army in the UK had served 27 million cheap meals, traced 7,000 missing people, provided shelter for 11 million homeless people and found jobs for 90,000 unemployed people! How were William and Catherine Booth living out the words of Proverbs 31 that we read above?
Watch the following video on YouTube. This is an updated version of William Booth’s well known ‘I’ll Fight’ speech. Search ‘I’ll Fight - William Booth’ or follow the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIQGUj70np4 How could you ‘fight’ for the poor in our world today? Write your own personal phrases for this video: ‘I’ll fight for... Use the words you have written above as a prayer, in which you commit yourself to the fight against injustice.
4. AMBASSADORS OF HOLINESS (PART 2) - Soup, Soap, Salvation
‘The Salvation Army’s calling is linked to the poor and to the marginalised and if we ever abandoned that we would cease to be The Salvation Army.’ General André Cox (Elected 20th General of The Salvation Army in August 2013) Social action is at the very heart of The Salvation Army. The commitment to actively serving the community and the fight for justice, both in the UK and all around the world, remains one of the central missional aims of The Salvation Army today, just as it was for its founders over 150 years ago. Consider the following international annual statistics taken from the 2012 edition of The Salvation Army Year Book. •
Countries and territories where SA serves
Children’s homes (capacity 9966)
Homes for street children (capacity 632)
Hostels for homeless/transient people and emergency lodges (capacity 43,538)
People helped by counselling services
People helped through emergency relief services
Hospitals, specialist hospitals and clinics
Beneficiaries of health education programmes
Prisoners helped on discharge
Missing persons traced
Residential and non-residential addiction dependency services (capacity 21,990)
Education programme; including nurseries, primary & secondary schools, colleges, universities
124 244 33 423 406,979 1,340,720 310 707,618 288,380 192,148 2,338 315
Look at The Salvation Army International Development website and read about the many campaigns that The Salvation Army are involved in around the world. Is there one campaign that really touches your heart?
Have you been involved in the Salvation Army’s work in any of the above areas?
Have you been involved in social action with the Salvation Army that is not mentioned above?
Which statistic / area of work stand out to you the most from the above list? Why?
How do you feel to be part of an organisation that is the largest non-governmental provider of social services/aid in the UK?
How are you playing your part?
Pray for the work of The Salvation Army in the UK and beyond, in projects that seek to resource, empower and support developing communities to defeat poverty and injustice and enable them to build a better life and future.
5. AMBASSADORS OF HOLINESS (PART 2) - Watershed
We’re living in exciting times – more people now have access to clean water than ever before. In recent years millions more people have received access to water that’s clean and safe for the very first time. We’ve seen groups of women dance for joy thanking God for the difference that this has made to the lives of them and their families. We’ve seen young boys stronger because they no longer get sick from water-borne diseases. We’ve seen little girls smarter because they are able to spend longer in school rather than having to help fetch water for the family. But the work’s not finished yet. Despite this, there are still 783 million people going without clean water – 1 in every 8 people on the planet who still don’t have access to this basic, yet vital resource. Access to water is vital in the fight to end extreme poverty. Access to clen water improves health, hygiene, education and productivity. It increases crop yields, reduces infections and gives children more time to spend in school. In fact, for every £1 invested in water and sanitation in a community, £8 is returned in increased productivity. Give water and you really do give life to communities. Go onto the WATERSHED webpage and watch the following films (you can also find them on YouTube): WATERSHED: Give Water, Give Life http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/watershed WATERSHED STORIES - Nawoitorong School http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K9OAMUbKiU&feature=youtu.be
Give water, Give life… How will you get involved?
Take a long refreshing drink of ice cold, clear, pure water. As you do so pray for the provision of clean water and sanitation for all those in the world who don’t have access to these basic resources. Pray that those who are working to address these issues may have an increased awareness of the refreshing power of the Holy Spirit.
5. AMBASSADORS OF HOLINESS (PART 2) - Kakwesi’s story
Kakwesi is 68 and lives in the rural community of Tawa in eastern Kenya. She makes the four-kilometre trek to the river and back four times a day to collect enough water for her and her grandchildren. ‘I get water from the river, which is far away. Because of this I have to stop and rest along the way before carrying on. I can’t get enough water because it is too far to carry it all in one go. At times, the water is not clean enough and we all get sick. One rainy season we all become very ill with vomiting and diarrhoea and had to go to the hospital.’ The Salvation Army is working with the community to introduce a sanddam to this river. This will help to create a natural build up of sand next to the dam which acts as both filter and tank, storing a small amount of the river’s flow for the dry season and removing impurities. The community will then have more reliable access to clean water throughout the year, as well as raising the water table of the area and enabling more crops to be grown. ‘When the dam is built I will be able to get water faster and I will use the time I save in my home. It will be very useful. My hope is that I can then plant trees for shade and food and that my children will be able to have farms in order to earn a living.’ See Kakwesi and her community on the following film (find it on the WATERSHED webpage or on YouTube): WATERSHED STORIES - Tawa Community http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzTeynB6oTo&feature=youtu.be Give water and you can give life to women like Kakwesi, as well as her family. Why not get together with some friends and plan a fundraiser to raise some money to support WATERSHED. Look at the WATERSHED Action Pack online for some fundraising ideas.
Thank God that you have access to clean, healthy water. Pray for people around the world who don’t have any choice but to use dirty water for their everyday needs. Pray that God will help us all to take action to multiply the amount of water available to people all around the world, so that everyone has access to what they need.
7. AMBASSADORS OF HOLINESS (PART 2) - Change the World
Our ‘Change the World’ App gets you thinking about how you can make a difference in your communities, with your friends and neighbours. Download from the App Store or Google play, or play on the ALOVE website: http://alove.salvationarmy.org.uk/change-world Look at the other Change the World resources on the ALOVE website too.