“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love them.” – C.S. Lewis
During times of uncertainty people often struggle with the constant question, “What do I do now?” Our community experiences are changing. Our church fellowship is changing. Our parenting of school aged children is changing. We are change adverse amongst people who are change adverse. Our simple emotional response is that we want our best memories to be our current reality.
So, what do we do now? As a person of faith, a person of purpose within an organization of mission the answer is always the same.
Do your purpose. Do our mission. Do you.
Be encouraged by history. Professor Ely of John Hopkins in 1891, just after the release of the wildly popular “In Darkest England and the Way Out,” studied The Salvation Army in an effort to explain the influence of General William Booth. The determination was that General Booth was a successful leader of a successful organization because we do what we believe.
“Self-sacrifice, enjoined by true Christianity, is the neglected social force which solves social problems,” and “General Booth’s success is due to such self-sacrifice and thus has become a phenomenal social force.”
Today, commit to self-sacrifice enjoined by true Christianity, as a social force that solves social problems. This starts for many of us with The Salvation Army three part mission; 1) Preach the Gospel 2) Meet Human Needs 3) Serve Without Discrimination.
- Preach the Gospel through policy leadership. Communities are struggling for leadership. There are unprecedented funds moving into communities to meet unprecedented needs. History shows that the submerged tenth of society will miss the rising tides. Might you fight for them! Might you use your voice for those who are struggling for basic survival and do not have the luxury of attending meetings? Go into the room where decisions are happening. Many will say that they don’t know what to do. I understand this. Let me encourage you to simply breathe the prayer you know, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth…” Leadership will follow. You may not be a millionaire, but you absolutely can move millions.
- Meet human needs with old Salvation Army resources. Let your corps meet families’ basic human and educational needs as “Learning Pods & Resource Hubs.” MIT Teaching Lab recently released “Imagining September” which is a clear guide of how our corps align with meeting family needs this fall. Invite families to come to the corps and have time to destress as a family. You can repurpose Sunday School classrooms as learning pods and make tutors available. Provide snacks, a meal, emotional and spiritual care along with a bag of food to support childhood development at home. It is old things in new ways through consistent belonging, trust, and hope. Its today’s corps for today’s families.
- Love against the bias. Host small group coffee and journaling with new friends experiencing old homelessness. This love will stand starkly against the greatest discrimination known in our country. Be careful as such love is life changing and you may not be ready for it. Serve meals through the canteen and invite new friends into fellowship. During fellowship listen for hope and then resource it. Resourced hope is a Kingdom approach that is scientifically proven. MIT Poverty Lab has been resourcing hope around the world to prove its affects. I like a simpler approach: buying a neighbor a cup of coffee with a listening ear and then connecting resources to the hope shared. (We have created behaviorally informed journals to strengthen this process and are pleased to share.)
Maybe you are not ready for challenging policy, refreshing corps services or hosting fellowships with the socially distanced. The stressors of Covid-19 may challenge your sanctified service. This is understandable. May I suggest a more individual call to action?
Pray the Psalms until you smile.
One of my favorite encouragements comes from the back of “In Darkest England and the Way Out.” It is a “Sketch of An Officer of 20 Years.” The unnamed officer shares that the success of The Salvation Army comes in part from our joy.
“The extraordinary joy of those serving in The Salvation Army is one of the most infectious and influential elements of the Army’s success. But if this be so, amid the comparatively well to do, judge of what its results are likely to be amongst the poorest and most wretched! To those who have never known bright days, the mere sight of a happy face upon a servant of hope is as it were a revelation and inspiration in one.”
Oh, dear Servant of Hope, I pray that you have a happy face through the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit!
Your happy face is a gift. Joy. It is literally contagious. Knowing someone who is happy makes you 15.3% more likely to be happy yourself. A happy friend of a friend increases your odds of happiness by 9.8%, and even your neighbor’s sister’s friend can give you a 5.6% boost. 5% of happiness… share it with your neighbor. 10% Happiness increase when shared with a friend. Wear the Hope of Salvation on your face. What a gift! Hallelujah!
So what should you do during time of uncertainty?
Do you! Live the mission. Live love out loud.
Let Jesus be glorified in your smile.