What’s in a name?
from theDesk of…
by Stephen Smith, Major –
For those not familiar with the ins and outs of officer training, you may be surprised that each session—going back to the “Pioneers” (1921) who were the first session of cadets trained in the Western Territory—is given a session name. Starting with the “Guardians of the Covenant” (1937), the names have been selected by the General in order to keep continuity throughout the world.
There have been some unusual names over the years. Some of my favorites are:
Fight it Through (1932)
Do and Dare (1934)
Dauntless Evangelists (1939)
Sword Bearers (1956)
Forward 2000 (2000)
Some of the most interesting names, however, were in the 1920s:
One Hundred Percent (1923)
Best Yet (1924)—the previous sessions must have been thrilled with this name.
Blood & Fire (1925)
Centenary (1929)—Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of William Booth.
I have noticed over the years that many sessions take their name to heart and live out the mandate implied by their session name. The classic example is the “One Hundred Percent” brigade of 1923. All of the cadets showed up on the first day of training so they were given the name “One Hundred Percent,” and they all made it through training that year, so they really did live up to their name. I would like to think that my own session—Messengers of Joy (1988)—was joyful, at least most of the time, during and after our training.
This year’s session has the name “Witnesses for Christ.” As I consider all of the titles that have been chosen in years past, I wonder why this name was not assigned to a session long ago. We have Soldiers of Christ (1962), Servants of Christ (1963), Companions of Christ (1977), Ambassadors for Christ (1989) and Crusaders for Christ (1994). We also have the Witnesses to the Faith (1967), but only now do we have the Witnesses for Christ—even though we did have the Witnesses for Jesus in 1990. Surely, this name would be appropriate for any past session of cadets.
Haven’t we always needed Witnesses for Christ in the world? The answer is a definite yes, but perhaps there is something significant about the timing of this particular session name. Don’t we need Witnesses for Christ now more than ever in the world? What an appropriate name for a session in the year 2009!
Along with the session name, a Scripture verse is chosen. For the Witnesses for Christ a fitting biblical reference was selected: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8 (NIV).
Our newly appointed lieutenants will be Christ’s witnesses to a world that is in desperate need of hope. They have each witnessed personally the transforming power and hope that can only be found in Christ Jesus. Who better to lead the charge in conveying this message than the Witnesses for Christ? With the power of the Holy Spirit they will live up to their session name.
We praise God for the Witnesses for Christ and pray for them as they enter the field.