Compassion—a feeling that arises out of love for others and for creation that motivates people towards acts of kindness for those whoare struggling.

Sacramental living—the grace of God made known to us in Jesus Christ and, subsequently, lived out through our lives and faith.


‘This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters’ (1 John 3:16).

‘And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me”. In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you”’ (Luke 22:19–20).

‘As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it’ (Luke 19:41).


Last week we focused on the kind of love that is at the heart of our theme for this year’s Self-Denial Appeal. It is the unconditional, enduring love of God. ‘God is love’ we noted several times. God poured out this love into all of creation. It’s like the love of God is the engine room through which all of life finds its meaning and ability to function. ‘All you need is love’, the Beatles sang, probably not quite realising just how profound their words were for every one of us.

But there are two sides to love. We are the focus and the recipients of God’s love, and, we are the carriers of God’s love. When you believe in and follow Jesus, it is impossible to dodge this responsibility. Jesus establishes God’s heart of love in us and we become God’s hands, God’s face and God’s voice of love in the world.

The New Testament encourages us over and over to be open channels for the love of God to reach the world. Like Jesus, when he looked out over Jerusalem and wept over its lostness, its poor state of heart and its misplaced priorities, we can’t help but love others because the love of God flows through us. Compassion rises quickly for individuals, families, communities, even nations, amid the struggles and challenges they face.

It is really something beautiful—the heart of God birthed in us, growing, transforming us from the inside out, making us into the likeness of Jesus who loved unconditionally and whose compassion and mercy were love in action to the people of first-century Palestine. His healing, his parables, his answers to people’s questions arose out of the deep love of God flowing through him.

Sometimes, like in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion, it took extreme self-denial for Jesus to say yes to the love of God. ‘Not my will, but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42) was his response to the temptation to divest himself of responsibility for the salvation of the world. The love of God can be a costly love when it takes us out of our comfort zone and calls on us for complete trust.

In the immediate aftermath of World War Two, while travelling through war-torn Germany, The Salvation Army’s newly appointed leader General Albert Osborn was greatly challenged by the brokenness and destruction he saw—people with no hope in their eyes. Through his own tears for them, he penned these words, now part of The Salvation Army’s hymnody:

My life must be Christ’s broken bread,
My love his outpoured wine,
A cup o’erfilled, a table spread
Beneath his name and sign,
That other souls refreshed and fed,
May share his life through mine.
(Song 610, The Song Book of The Salvation Army, 2015 edition)

These words, inspired by Jesus words in Luke 22:19–20, beautifully and dynamically capture the mind and heart of The Salvation Army on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. We are the broken bread and the outpoured wine of God. Our whole lives are a sacrament to the love of God in Christ, entering into this love both through our moment-by-moment personal walk in Christ (a cup o’erfilled, a table spread) and our availability to share this love with others (my love his outpoured wine).


  • Consider that your life is ‘Christ’s broken bread’ and your love and compassion for others ‘his outpoured wine.’ How does this impact you, particularly during this time of self-denial as we focus on the mission of The Salvation Army in places like Indonesia, the Philippines and Tonga?
  • Taking that a step further, what should living a sacramental life look like? What are the implications for your relationships, your ministry and your support for mission in the world? What could be the practical outworking of sacramental living in the life and mission of your corps? How can you show love in action?


O Lord, I confess that it’s challenging to love as you love. To love myself and love others despite our sins and imperfections. But I can see that the way of love is the only way for humankind, and that self-denial is a powerful expression of this love, your love.

So please help me to let go of the things in my life that block your love filling me and overflowing into the world around me. Help me to see with your love, listen with your love and reach out and touch the lives of others with your love.

Lord, I commit myself to this way of living, to the way of love and selfdenial. My heart and my mind blended with yours, I enter into the heart of God for all creation. Amen.