Friday, 11 July 2014

Bring Here Thy Wounded Heart

Relics of the Salvation Army
Back in October 2006 I was at a wedding in Exeter UK. The venue was the old Salvation Army 'Temple' in Exeter which is a fascinating building. I was almost distracted from the wedding by the furniture. Stretching the whole width of the hall, approx 40 feet, was a beautifully polished 'Penitent Form'. This was the 'altar' of the Salvation Army where souls were encouraged to 'get right with God'. The 'form' is really not intended for 'sitting' but to put your elbows on as you kneel.

In 2 foot high letters of gold it carried the words..


...split into the two halves of the Penitent Form and consequently spread right across the width of the hall.

A little lower, and in the centre of the text, in slightly smaller letters were two more golden words


The Salvation Army Sunday meetings used to be a 'Holiness Meeting' in the morning and a 'Salvation Meeting' in the evening. This beautiful old piece of furniture is a 'relic' from the days when we believed people needed to 'repent' to come to Christ and presumed that if God was not already at work in their 'wounded hearts' they would not wish to come.

The Salvation Army officers did not 'counsel' the enquirers but knelt with them to 'pray through' until they came to personal conviction that God had heard their cries for mercy; hence it was often called the 'Mercy Seat'. Whether they came for 'Salvation' or for 'Holiness' they came to the same place; to Christ alone, with their wounded hearts.

It sat there through the whole (wonderful) wedding almost transfixed by the silent testimony of the days when God was expected to move in people's lives and bring them 'broken hearted' to the cross.

Have we lost something...?

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