It’s an easy discussion to fall into with anyone who has a similar history. It begins with the question, “Do you remember…?” That starts a rich exchange that retraces those events that have enhanced your life. “Do you remember your first dance?” That simple inquiry unleashes a whole stream of responses – both negative and positive. “Oh, it was pure magic. The gym was transformed into this other worldly fantasy of shining stars and floating clouds. The music was electrifying. If only I had known how ta dance!” That question – do you remember? – ignites so many meaningful moments. “Do you remember Thanksgiving dinner at your grandma’s house…? Do you remember your wedding day…? Do you remember your child’s first birthday?” Oh yes, we do remember. Then, the question inevitably follows, “Why don’t people do it like that anymore?”
I was involved in one of those conversations recently. We settled into recalling that somewhat distant religious experience known as the Revival. All sorts of images immediately jumped to mind. I recall (the few times I attended a revival) the spirited singing. With the power of the multitudes, we sang at the top of our lungs:
“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.”
We raised the rafters. While I don’t remember the words spoken, I do remember how animated and excited the visiting pastor became during the sermon. And, I loved the invitation hymn where we sang 83 verses of “Just as I Am” waiting for that moment when someone would step forward having encountered the living God. Someone always did! Why can’t we have that kind of revival again? A thought kept recurring that I could not shake. “All worship is revival!” “No, sometimes weekly worship is routine and lifeless and dull,” I argued. “WHY is it different from revival?” I kept hearing. I suspect the thought came from God. As I wrestled with an answer, I was startled to discover that it really wasn’t the passion of the preacher or the saints singing or the decisions that revived my spirit. The difference always centered on ME. I went to those revivals excited, anticipating a meaningful experience. I EXPECTED God to be present. When I came with such expectation, I was not disappointed. I experienced revival! Come to think of it, whenever I remember an event of significance much of the joy was in the expectation of what might occur. Maybe, I need to expect more! Come, join us this Sunday EXPECTING to meet God in worship. Come to our revival. I know, I can’t wait!!!!