The common factor in the ‘sandwich’ is the link to prophetic messages in the book of Isaiah:
The lower “crust”In June 2003, Lars, a good friend of mine had just completed 40 days of fasting, and as usual this Tuesday morning we had shared in prayer-fellowship together with a group of prayer-warriors praying for our city. I was just about to leave for my office as which I normally did around nine o’clock. However, Lars stopped playing in the worship and said: “Jostein, don’t leave! I have something to share!”. I stayed, and listened to he felt God had told him during the 40 days in the ‘wilderness’: “I believe God’s special message for us and our time is to be found Isaiah 54:1-4” – and then he shared what God had shown him. I knew it was a prophetic, and for me it was a moment of preparation.
A few days later I stood on a podium in a sports-hall as Commissioner Israel Gaither’s interpreter. It was the soldiers’ meeting in our territorial congress. In his message Gaither told that he had asked God for a special word for our church, and he had been given Isaiah 54:1-4. I felt that the Holy Spirit shaking me as I interpreted. The Commissioner continued to explore the passage and I knew that it was God speaking through him as he focused on the need to “give birth” to more children, think bigger, revitalize the desolate places and not be ashamed.
The lower crust is to grasp the promise and possibilities found in these words!
The upper “crust”I believe this is the rediscovery of the prophetic DNA of the Salvation Army. William Booth called Isaiah 58 The Salvation Army’s charter. The prophecy is a vivid expression of an integrated mission. When I in November 1999 attended a soldiers-meeting and listened to General Gowans’ articulation of our mission, I had a sense of listening to a prophetic confirmation of our ‘charter’. I have never claimed to see the full light, but even as a teenager I started to question the segregation of our mission into ‘field’ and ‘social’ work. All our ministries must be rooted in a local corps with ownership to the whole mission. If not, the vision of an integrated mission has a long way to go to become a reality. The upper crust is the rediscovery of the Salvation Army’s DNA = the “coming together” of our mission as “one” – integrated in the way we organize us, but even more important: Integrated in the individual soldier.
The “filling”It is possible to eat the crusts separately, but it helps the appetite if there is a nourishing filling – and in the prophetic sandwich the filling is essential. To my great joy I have seen a growing prayer-movement in our church. Our organisation can survive without prayer, but not our mission. When I in 2012 listen to Colonel Janet Munn sharing the vision:
“my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
I again had a sense of being part of something prophetic, and the picture of the sandwich dawned on me. In the sequence of Isaiah’s prophecies, the call to prayer finds itself in the middle. I just note this as a “Devine curiosity” – but it makes it even easier to remember when presented. And we need an encouragement to take this in. I now it is vital, yes, a matter of life or death and prayer is the very key.
Why this metaphor?Several of the prophets in the Bible “ate” the word. John proclaimed that the Word became flesh; and Jesus introduced himself as the bread of heaven – the bread of life. It caused a lot of misunderstanding and many left him in disgust. They could not grasp the spiritual meaning of what he taught:
What we eat becomes part of our body, it becomes us!More than any time in our history we need to “eat” to find our identity in Christ and the identity of our mission. When we know who we are and why we are here, God’s Kingdom will come to Eastern Europe and Russia!