“Call to our life together,” the 7th call of the International Spiritual Life Commission’s 12 Calls for Salvationists, declares that:
We call Salvationists worldwide to rejoice in their unique fellowship; to be open to support, guidance, nurture, affirmation, and challenge from each other as members together of the body of Christ; and to participate actively and regularly in the life, membership, and mission of a particular corps.
—Called to be God’s People
This call characterizes the heart of the Gospel message of “Koinonia,” a Greek term meaning fellowship, sharing, communion, or community. These virtues were exemplified by the early Christian community in Acts 2:42–47.
This call for “the unique fellowship of Salvationists worldwide” is grounded in unity in the Holy Spirit, which “comes into its own” when its members are open to receive support, guidance, nurture, affirmation, and challenge from each other.
The call to our life together fulfills one of the various facets of Christ’s teaching on God’s Kingdom mission, proclaimed and demonstrated through His earthly ministry. This specific call to our life together should be considered one of the fundamental conditions or qualifications for Kingdom citizenship on earth.
It is also an undeniable reality in our wounded and complex society that this call is costly to the followers of Christ. We face unresolved injustices such as poverty, racism, sexism, classism, and religious conflict. If the call to a life together is an urgent mission in our time, then what attitudes and actions are we to express?
With this in mind, we must reflect on two questions.
The first is, “From what or whose perspective are you reading the Bible—as a woman, or as the poor and uneducated, or as the foreigner or the underprivileged or the privileged?”
The result of your Bible readings may be radically different if you only interpret Scripture from the perspective of a privileged person.
The second question is, “Are you willing to pay the cost in order to actualize the call—to live together and be accountable to an inclusive community striving toward spiritual well–being?”
For Salvationists, the uniform symbolizes an active testimony that says, “We are all in this together” to fulfill the following God-given mission and commitment.
In our life together we share responsibility for one another’s spiritual well–being. The vitality of our spiritual life is also enhanced by our accountability to one another, and when we practice the discipline of accountability our spiritual vision becomes objective, our decisions more balanced, and we gain the wisdom of the fellowship and the means to clarify and test our own thinking. Such spiritual direction may be provided effectively through a group or by an individual. Mutual accountability also provides the opportunity to confess failure or sin and receive the assurance of forgiveness and hope in Christ.
—Called to be God’s People
All God’s people are called to live together based on “genuine Christ–like love” with guidance from the Holy Spirit (John 13:34–35). A Salvationist song by John Gowans entitled “They Shall Come From The East” (songbook #170) alludes to a hopeful image of a fulfilled call to live together among God’s people, regardless of one’s place of origin or station in life. Let the song remind us that we must “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) because we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
—Major Kim is the Territorial Ambassador for Holiness