When Spider-Man comes to church

Romans 12:3-16

by Rev. Diane Ury
National Ambassador for Holiness

It always has been a humbling honor for me to be a member of The Salvation Army. The sense of belonging that has been offered to me unconditionally has been healing to my heart. To belong to such a great legacy of people who loved Jesus with all their beings and gave completely of themselves causes me to wonder at the grace I experience of being part of that heritage.

But the legacy is not only in the past. The morning Spider-Man came to our corps I realized I was living in the present-day inheritance of who the Army was and still is.

He walked in about 10 minutes before service started. Over six feet tall, I’m not sure where he found such a perfect-fitting, complete costume. It was awesome! I watched how our people received his unusual presence. As he made his way to sit in the second row, several of us called out to him with warm hellos. Yes, a couple of people knew this homeless friend’s name.

Between shots of his web at our bandmaster while the band was playing the prelude, he was greeted with many warm handshakes and personal introductions. Our busiest 2-year-old was brought up from his normal back row seat by his grateful mommy because he was stunned into silence by sitting next to his favorite superhero.

I witnessed the holiness of hospitality in a gracious, unconditional welcome.

Later in the service, a young adult gave a vulnerable, courageous testimony about what Jesus is doing in her life. It had been a colossal act of courage on her part to go on her own as a delegate to the National Seminar on Holiness (NSH) in August. Jesus had come to her broken heart that had been hiding sad thoughts. At NSH He came through the love and friendship she found from people she’d never met who were placed in her small group. That morning in church her brave sharing about the wholeness she was experiencing through complete surrender to Jesus cast His Light into the room! All of us were flooded with the transforming hope of the Holy Spirit’s Presence into all our dark fears, wounds and secrets.

I witnessed the holiness of life in a transparent community.

After the service we had our corps council meeting. Someone began to share agonizingly about one of our older adults who’d stopped coming on Thursday mornings. It seemed perhaps someone had stolen his identity card, robbed him and cast him out on the street. We wrestled with two questions: “Does anyone know where he is? Does anyone know where he might be able to stay if we find him?” Without missing a beat, a man in his 70s leaned across the table to his wife and said, “Just bring him home. Just bring him to our house.”

By that point in the afternoon, I realized that holiness is vibrant in my Salvation Army corps today.

My role in the Army is to teach the doctrine of holiness. I pray I’ll also live the doctrine of holiness like my fellow soldiers do.

 

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