Today, as I gathered with a crowd of Salvationists at the Melbourne Town Hall to celebrate the life of General Eva Burrows, the following exhortation by the writer to the Hebrews who gave testimony to a long list of men and women of faith resonated deep within my spirit...
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."
I was indeed among a "great cloud of witnesses" on this historic occasion giving testimony to a faithful woman of God and extraordinary world leader who "[ran] with perseverance the race marked out for [her], fixing [her] eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of [her] faith."
The Lord Mayor of Melbourne gave witness to a recipient of a Companion of the Order of Australia who loved and served the most vulnerable people of our city in her retirement.
The Corps Officer of Melbourne 614 gave witness to the then territorial leader of the Australia Southern Territory who spoke words of encouragement into his life as a young man.
The current Territorial Commander gave witness to a spiritual leader whose life conviction and theme was in everything for Christ to have supremacy.
The current General of The Salvation Army gave witness to a courageous and compassionate leader who was equally comfortable talking with world leaders and walking with common people, earning her the affectionate title 'the people's general'.
As one among many, I add my voice as a witness to the legacy of a leader who encouraged a 12 year old boy by signing my Bible while visiting my home Corps when she was a Commissioner and who believed in the vision of a Corps Officer by endorsing my book as a retired General.
“You must read this book. It is alive with the Spirit of God sweeping through a group of believers from many churches who united together in response to a vision of what God could accomplish through prayer. They discovered the mighty, transforming power of prayer for themselves and for others. It’s like a scene from the book of Acts, but set in a modern suburb in South Australia, and alight with the same fire-power and faith to achieve wonders in His name.” - General Eva Burrows AC (Rtd), Former International Leader of The Salvation Army
The years in between these two encounters have given me a vision of Salvation Army Officership that personified a shared covenant of those "Called by God to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ...to love, trust and serve Him supremely all my days; to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life; to maintain the doctrines and principles of The Salvation Army and, by God's grace to prove myself a worthy officer."