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Choosing to love and making a new way

Choosing to love and making a new way

Choosing to love and making a new way

1 September 2020

Commissioners Robert and Janine Donaldson, Australia Territory leaders, speak about local mission delivery after a tour of various Salvation Army expressions.

For the past six weeks, Robert and I have had the great privilege of visiting Salvation Army expressions around NSW and the ACT. Our sincere thanks to all who have hosted us and made themselves available to share. We have appreciated every courtesy and every location.

We have met so many amazing people. People who have shown great commitment, innovation and ability to adapt during these unusual days.

There are so many wonderful strengths serving together as one territory. This is evident in many ways, but, in particular, the delivery of mission at a local level. To listen and get a sense of collaboration and trust between a wide variety of services has been a highlight and something to celebrate.

Whether it’s partnering with other corps, Alcohol and Other Drugs services, Connect, Doorways, Salvos Stores, prisoner support, youth programs, gardens, craft groups, life groups, sports ministry, mentoring, people are being connected and linked into ministry and into the knowledge of God.

We have learnt, too, over these days of change to our Sunday services, that our creativity and engagement with online services enables us to enjoy a buffet of wonderful blessing, spiritual growth and the beauty of new friendships both here in Australia and around the world. This bodes well for our future as we pray and contemplate and respond to what God is showing and revealing to us.

Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world, you may have trouble and suffering but take courage – I have conquered the world” (John 16:33). This scripture certainly speaks to the past and speaks to the here and now. None of us could have predicted how 2020 would unfold.

We have all observed good and bad behaviour of humanity over these days.

It is a reminder that we are always free to make choices. Scripture reminds us time and time again of people making good and bad choices: The story of Joseph’s brothers – “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). Enemy armies made the choice to wipe out Israel when Jehoshaphat was king. Then he chose to believe the prophet Jahaziel: “The battle is the Lord’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15).

It is this same God who shines in the darkness of this pandemic. God is with us. The triune God is raising up new opportunities over these days. Yes, there is fear, isolation, panic buying, sickness and death. There are also so many people around our world offering prayer, welcome, shelter, encouragement, support and a listening ear. We are looking at our neighbours and creation in a different way. We are waking up to reality to how big we really are. To how little control we have and to what really matters. To love.

So, we pray, and we remember all that we fear, all that is different. Yet we still can make good choices. We can still listen to the birds singing, observe and be reminded that spring is on its way. We can open doors and windows to welcome in strangers and neighbours and we can choose to be like Jesus.

Robert and I have continually been reminded through our travels to choose love and make a new way.

“God is with us, God is with us, Christ our Lord shall reign as king.”

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