Friday, August 24, 2012

"While there remains one dark soul ..."

...without the light of God, I'll fight. I'll fight to the very end." General William Booth made what became know as his commitment in a speech the year he died, in 1912. The phrase "the light of God" makes me think of a question I often get asked about the Center of Hope. People want to know if the center requires people to sit through a sermon or read the Bible before they can eat a meal or stay the night. We don't.
An equally salient question would be "If The Salvation Army is all about saving souls, then why not?" First, it would be discriminatory, and our mission is to serve without discrimination. I believe the second reason goes back to the words of Gen. Booth. He said "one dark soul without the light of God," not "without God."  The light of God is all over the Center of Hope, all over our Boys and Girls Clubs, all over our Corps. It's about doing, not preaching.

I can see the light of God in the care that a case manager chooses her words while interviewing a homeless man. I can see it in the the faces of five-year-old boys as they listen to the volunteer coach.I can see it in one of our clubs' Youth of the Year who never, ever dreamed of going to college and is a Freshman at TCC. I can see it in my friend John Oak, who landed at the Center of Hope fresh from prison with just the clothes on his back and now has his own home. One hundred years after his death Gen. Booth's light is still shining. I can see it daily in the people I meet and write about. My hope is that you can too.


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