This issue, War Cry turns 135 years old—which is a nice symmetry with Founders Day on Sunday. For this week’s feature, I visited the Archives and Heritage Centre to collect stories from our past. I found myself poring over 100-year-old War Crys in wonder. There was a regular column from General William Booth, and passionate arguments from Catherine Booth.
There were also testimonies—‘Once a wretched drunkard, now a saved man’, exclaimed one headline in 1885. Another talked about how it ‘appeared to be a terrible hard thing to leave off tobacco’. But he prayed, ‘Dear Lord, I know I can do it in your strength’, and the desire to smoke disappeared.
Much has changed in the last century—we’re not as fond of military metaphors (one headline read simply, ‘War! War! War!’) and we don’t tend to talk about ‘poor devils’ and ‘inebriates’. But most striking was that our heart is so much the same.
The difference in all of these lives is, simply, Jesus. I do believe that when we help the needy, we embody the gospel of Jesus (Matthew 25:40)—we must do that as part of true discipleship. But the cloud of witnesses that have gone before us testify to the name of Jesus, as the transforming power in their lives.
As we celebrate our birthday, I pray that the stories in War Cry of Jesus at work in our lives today, will continue to testify to future generations. One day, paper and ink may be quaint relics from the past—but the power of Jesus will never fade.
[Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Nō mua anō hoki ia i ngā mea katoa, nāna anō hoki ngā mea katoa i mau ai.