What a huge cultural difference there was between the Commissioning of the Preparers of the way in the UK and Russia. Nevertheless, both very special occassions. Also, I’m now the proud owner of sessional flags in English and Russian from what is clearly the best session of cadets there has ever been!
Was so proud to see my session commissioned…was still gald they let us out a year early though! I think of the ones that I maybe had an influence on in some small way, in some of them a big way, and I thanked God for them all.
Have to admit that I wasn’t impressed with Commissioner Cliftons over-weighted emphasis on his ordaining the cadets. He said:
“you are now ordained as a minister of the Gospel and commissioned as a Salvation Army officer.”
Hmmmm. Actually, the official line, as I understand it, is something along the lines of:
“Recognising that God has ordained you, I now commission you as an officer in the Salvation Army.” …which is what the Cheif of the Staff said when he commissioned me.
There is a very subtle (or is it subtle) difference between the two statements. Now call me fussy if you want, but I am not up for this idea of a clericalised officership. As Chick Yuill said recently (if it wasnt Chick it was someone like him) that the difference between a soldier and an officer is availability. There are so many officers too conscious about their own ‘ordained’ status than focussed in the absolute importance of the priesthood of all believers, the mobilisation of every soldier.
I am no more ordained than my Sergeant-Major…it just happens to be that I have no other occupation, fewer ‘life’ responsibilities (mortage, car, rent, whatever..) and have chosen to give my life to God as a response to God to serve in this way. Pete’s life, ministry and service has been just as valid…only different and not as a CO. Certainly I don’t deny that God has annointed and equipped us for this ministry of leading the corps, but in no greater way than what Pete has been annointed and equipped to be Sergeant-Major at this time. (Sorry for bringing you into it Pete).
So, its starting to niggle to the extent that I feel I might send the Commissioner a note. You never know.
Anyway, a really great weekend, very special to me in so many different ways. A joy to see, actually, some fruit of my own ministry both in cadets and in others. Hallelujah!