Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Revived, Reviving

revival:  re·viv·al noun \ri-'vi-vəl – renewed attention to or interest in something.  (1) : a period of renewed religious interest (2) : an often highly emotional evangelistic meeting or series of meetings.  Merriam-Webster

The word revival is almost anathema in my tradition these days.  We Americans largely of Scots descent who call ourselves Presbyterians largely eschew the second meaning of revival in religious terms, having been well- and long-trained to distrust the emotional when it comes to our religion.  Emotions are fleeting things.  They do not last.  The picture of the town drunk coming down at meeting to confess and cry and believe only to be lying in the arms of torpor again tomorrow is indelibly inscribed on our subconscious.

Some might think it ironic that we spiritual descendants of Jonathan Edwards (participant in America’s 18th century Great Awakening) would be so sore about revival, but it must be remembered that the Great Awakening itself was a thing of great controversy, that it is said that some folks in reaction to their own despair of ever being admitted into the company of saints, took their own lives, and that while its effects were perhaps long-lasting, the ardor cooled pretty quickly in the revival’s wake.  Wikipedia

All of that said, this week’s revival in Highland County has been, I think, a thing of beauty and grace.  My more charismatic friends might bemoan the lack of fervor and my more presbyterian ones might decry some of the finer theological points (or they might not).

But people of many persuasions have shared their experiences of God moving in and through their lives, of their introduction to the faith, of their wanderings and their returns, and it has been good to sit with stories shared.

Tonight I will preside over God’s table at our last gathering.  It is my hope and prayer all will find there the joy of God’s grace, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and the communion of all the saints through the wide door Jesus has laid open in all our hearts.

May it be so, Lord God, may it be so.

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