Called to celebrate Christ’s presence
We affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one true sacrament of God. His incarnation and continuing gracious presence with his people by means of the indwelling Holy Spirit is the mystery at the heart of our faith. We hear our Lord’s command to remember his broken body and his outpoured blood as in our families and in our faith communities we eat and drink together. We affirm that our meals and love feasts are an anticipation of the feasts of eternity, and a participation in that fellowship that is the Body of Christ on earth.
This “Call” and accompanying affirmation (one of 12 “Calls” taken from The International Spiritual Life Commission Report, Called to Be God’s People by Commissioner Robert Street), carefully and prayerfully delves into the expression of the “one true sacrament of God,” which is the Lord Jesus Christ. This call explores how The Salvation Army’s perspective on “the Lord’s Supper” influences us today, and seeks to answer such questions as:
- How can we be more deliberate in celebrating the presence of Christ through simple meals and in our meetings?
- How do we live and worship so that every day is a Sabbath and that every meal we take is a sacrament?
The Spiritual Life Commission reminds Salvationists that, although they’ve chosen a different expression for acknowledging God, they are not “anti–sacramental.” Further, the Commission recognizes the Salvation Army’s “glorious freedom to explore” and to celebrate Christ’s presence across many diverse cultures.
It is imperative that Salvationists understand this call, contribute to the conversation on Christian expression, and keep the Army’s perspective firmly in mind.
Commissioner Street writes, “The call by the Commission to look again at ways in which Christ’s real presence is celebrated at our meals and in our meetings urges Salvationists to ensure that the most selfless event of all time—Christ’s sacrificial death—is kept firmly at the heart of all that the Army is and its people are.”
In the words of Founder William Booth, “Let us do all that we do in remembrance of his dying love. Every act of our life ought to be religious. Every day ought to be a Sabbath in the sense of its being sacred and devoted to the glory of God, and every meal we take ought to be a sacrament.”
Would you like to read more? Go to www.armyonitsknees.org for the complete article, “Call to Celebrate Christ’s Presence.” You will also find there the territory’s list of prayer requests.
—Chris Stoker is the Spiritual Formation Developer at Territorial Headquarters