My early adulthood was spent as a member of a church that met in a very old church building with even older traditions and even older people, or so it seemed. We sang hymns in strong 4 part harmony with instruments mostly not allowed. About once a year or so we would have “revival meetings” – focused times of introspection and renewing our commitment to Jesus and an invitation for heathens to follow Jesus with us. Some years it seemed there was a more “spiritual experience” than at other times. I don’t remember much of what was said and while today we use words like “authentic, transparent, vulnerable” when referring to our hope for our spiritual lives…I don’t remember that words like this were used. Instead “turn away, walk toward, be cleansed, get right with God” were the admonishments and warnings of pending doom if we didn’t and the end game was always the same…
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
That’s my end game too. What I hope for is for a people that follow Jesus. Who see the current Asbury Revival and are encouraged to walk closely with God whether there in person or as a distant onlooker.
Here’s what troubles me though. Many of us Christians have taken this and seemingly every other opportunity to criticize a particular form of worship or we choose to “eat each other alive” for whatever other negative reaction we can stir up for things that we don’t “like”. Sometimes I actually think, as I examine my own life, my thoughts, my actions…revival hasn’t yet been quite as far reaching as one would hope.
This is where it seems to me we most need to understand that revival is not a place but a state of being.
What is beautiful, pure, revival? Is revival not for the purpose of reviving our spiritual fervor? To seek the Holy Spirit with diligence and with an expectation that spiritual power will be evident in our lives? Our simple, ordinary, change a diaper, go to the store kind of life? Is revival not the expectation that the results will mean we as “little christ’s” actually live with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control at our core? Yes, we should call out the evil among us but unfortunately our own evil is often too loud for the world around us to see past it. And by the way…what if God isn’t constrained to our perceived wants, needs and desires? What if he can work in the middle of deafening drum solos or the quiet of an ancient cathedral where you could hear a pin drop as prayers and petitions are whispered?
REVIVE US AGAIN (W. P. Mackay (1863, 1867)
We praise thee, O God, for the Son of thy love,
for Jesus who died, and is now gone above.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, hallelujah! Amen!
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, revive us again.
2 We praise thee, O God, for thy Spirit of light
who has shown us our Savior and scattered our night. [Refrain]
3 We praise thee, O God, for the joy thou hast giv’n
to thy saints in communion, these foretastes of heav’n. [Refrain]
4 Revive us again, fill each heart with thy love.
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above. [Refrain]