It’s not uncommon to hear stories of the impact a pet can have on a growing human being during those early years of life. For me it was a thigh high American Eskimo puppy named Sasha. My family got Sasha when I was five and she lived beyond me getting married and moving out of my parent’s house. Of her almost two decades of life, a certain sentence always sent her into a panic of enthusiastic anticipation. The sentence was simply, “do you want to go outside?” When it was uttered, everything immediately changed. This perfectly calm dog would become manic in an instant. Her ears would go up and she would begin darting up and down the halls, back and forth, leaping against the door, until someone finally put a leash on her and took her outside. To her, nothing compared to these moments. Nothing in her life was held in such high regard. When it came to going outside, Sasha’s joy took no days off; she recognized the privilege every time.
Being a herald is all about privilege. I mean it. When you broom away the cobwebs and have the archaeological team dig up the word a bit, it’s pretty astounding. A herald was an officially appointed position by sovereign heads of state to go and speak on their behalf. Essentially most heralds of the middle ages would take the most imperative messages out into the world for their king. Think about that for a moment. A herald could speak on behalf of their king. It was one of the highest privileges in the kingdom.
I don’t think this could be any more fitting a parallel for the 40 new lieutenants on this stage today. After spending two years with this group, the one common facet in our stories, testimonies and more importantly, the way we live our lives is the fact that we recognize the privilege of being where we are. More importantly, we recognize the undeserved privilege that begins today. We understand the license of being officially appointed as heralds to give the message of grace found in Titus 2:11. Here Paul tells Titus, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” This is a simple, yet intense and all important message. This message is that God’s grace is exposed and embodied in the person of Jesus. Now by this, salvation is offered to all men. This is our message. This is our proclamation. Salvation is for everyone.
The reality of this privilege isn’t two years and about 100 college credits in the making—this is a lifetime in the making, with the very impetus being the breathed word of the living God who asked each one of us to respond in such a way as this. It’s one calling among many; privilege recognized unanimously.
The fact is, our session name should not be seen as something that we merely cheer about when we hear it. It wasn’t just a title to differentiate us from other sessions while we lived on campus for two years. We must rip this name from its collegiate context and make it the very tenet of our identity as Officers. Every class has a name, but I am confident that our session has turned its name into an identity—one that we will represent well in the field.
As I said, a herald is an appointed position. So, it turns out we already have our appointments. The community and corps appointments that we’ll hear about from the Commissioner in a few minutes will not change that. The orders have been sealed well before our leaders began discussing it. We have been appointed as Heralds of Grace.
Like my dog Sasha, we’re ready. We know it’s time to go outside. Our ears are up as our master is finally opening the door. As the moment presses forward, the Heralds of Grace are darting the halls excitedly, back and forth, jumping on the door repeatedly. As the handle is being turned and the sunlight is spilling through the widening crack, our joy must take no days off; we must recognize the privilege constantly, the privilege to share the grace of God’s salvation for the rest of our lives as heralds—Heralds of Grace.