‘You were created to be full of grace’: Southern Territory welcomes Messengers of Grace session of cadets
By: Brad Rowland
Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place;
He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister his grace;
No work too hard for him; In faith receive from him;
Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.
On Sept. 7, 2019, the Atlanta Temple Corps hosted the public welcome of the Messengers of Grace session of cadets. The 23-member session arrived in August and, while their educational journey toward officership was firmly underway, the Messengers of Grace were greeted with a spirit of worship and reverence, focused on both the hard work ahead and the power that stems from their calling to service.
“We are so grateful for the Messengers of Grace,” said Major Tom Louden, principal of the Evangeline Booth College. “It’s a wonderful time for celebration, but there is something that is just a little more important than celebrating Cadets and their calling. And it is to celebrate the wonderful grace of Jesus. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’re The Salvation Army.”
The session, scheduled for commissioning in June 2021, brings with it 15 children and a variety of previous occupations and backgrounds.
“As recipients of God’s grace, we are passionate about encouraging and teaching those seeking the heart of God how to hear his voice and how to walk in his ways,” said Captain Jervonne Hinton, territorial candidates secretary. “We welcome the Messengers of Grace who have responded to God’s call and now come from the four corners of the territory to win souls and to serve their fellow man as Salvation Army officers.”
Within the program, reverent worship was combined with jubilant praise, including a rousing rendition of “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” sung by a men’s vocal octet comprising cadets and EBC staff.
Territorial Sergeant Major Jeremy Rowland, representing the soldiers of the Southern Territory, challenged the incoming session; and Cadet Omar Lugo, representing the session as its designated speaker, set the tone for the group’s two-year mission of training.
From there, artistic worship came to the forefront with a sacred arts dance, accompanied by the band transMission, and the joint sessions of cadets performing the sessional song, “Messengers of Grace.”
Commissioner Mark Tillsley, international secretary for the Americas and Caribbean, then provided an inspirational challenge and message, not only to the Messengers of Grace but to all assembled.
“Increasingly in our world, you will hear people place grace and power in an adversarial position,” Commissioner Tillsley said. “More and more people believe being graceful and powerful are opposites, but they are not. I want to say to you today that many, unfortunately even within the church, are developing a trust in earthly power and the whole definition, I fear, of Christianity being changed into something that might celebrate might and self-exultation. I say to you this afternoon: Don’t mess with power.”
“Do we need more men and women of grace and power? We certainly do, and it can only come through surrender to the Holy Spirit,” said Commissioner Tillsley. “Be ye filled with the spirit. This is my need this afternoon. This is your need this day. And I want to say that it is our need if we are to impact our world.”
In closing, Commissioner Willis Howell, territorial commander, brought things full circle, referencing the song lyrics of “Be Still for the Presence of the Lord,” sung collectively earlier in the afternoon.
“The power of the Lord is moving in this place,” Commissioner Howell said. “He comes to cleanse and heal. He comes to comfort and relieve. He comes to speak peace. He comes to fill. He comes to minister his grace. … As hard as the situation you carry is, it’s not too hard for him. As heavy as it may seem to you, it’s not too heavy for him. Because there is no work that is too hard for him.”
With worshipful attention and zeal, the Messengers of Grace will face two years of intensive study and preparation for a lifetime calling to service. Still, Commissioner Howell made clear the notion that everyone needs to be refilled and restored, and the afternoon concluded with that ringing message of grace in abundance.
“Can I suggest to you that your very soul has a grace meter? You were created to be full of grace,” said Commissioner Howell. “It is God’s will that you are full of grace. Where is that needle pointing in your own life? Are you as full as you once were?
“Because it needs replenishing, you know. It might be that someone, turning their vision inward, realizes that grace levels aren’t what they were, or what they should be. Can I invite you to this place of refilling and restoring? Come and be filled with grace.”