What is revival and are we in one?
“Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.” Psalm 68:1-3 King James Version
Have you noticed an increase of calamity or disaster, a resurgence of faith? What is revival and what does it look like?
Rev. James Broussard, pastor of Philadelphia Life Center in New Iberia, has been a part of bringing Christians in the Teche Area together. He defines revival in part as unity of God to help one another.
“Revival is always a place where people can be transformed, reformed, reconnected to faith and its works,” Broussard said. “The work of faith is the operation of God’s word in an individual’s life and to see it manifested in day to day life circumstances, to stay in the place of refreshment. In our daily tasks we can find ourselves getting weary, loosing strength. So God always had a place for revival. He’ll bring you to a place of refreshing and to keep you on the top of your daily walk.”
Broussard said it is for the church that Christians would stay upon the wall of awareness that Christ is coming back but that while waiting, revival keeps believers in a place of loving one another and to be responsible for one another.
What Does History Say?
Examples that can apply to the Teche Area can be found at Christianity.com. “During the days of hopelessness and despair, revival comes to a people to restore hope. In the middle of the nineteenth century in the United States, a spiritual, political and economic low point caused many people to become disillusioned with spiritual things. Preachers had repeatedly and falsely predicted the end of the world in the 1840’s. Agitation over slavery bred political unrest, civil war seemed imminent and financial panic hit in 1857. Banks failed, railroads were bankrupt, factories closed, unemployment increased. Many Christians realized the need for prayer in such dire situations. Prayer meetings began to spread around the country,” the website said.
Sound familiar? Acadiana and much of the U.S. are having hard times whether man-made or the result of natural disasters.
The historical account at Christianity.com said during the mid-1800s, signs of faith building were seen in New York City, Chicago, Cleveland, Louisville, St. Louis and other cities across the nation. “Prayer meetings were organized in the cities by lay people and were interdenominational. Unlike earlier awakenings, prayer rather than preaching was the main instrument of revival. Tents were often set up as places where people could gather for prayer, introducing a custom followed by later revivalists. The meetings themselves were very informal — any person might pray, exhort, lead in a song or give a word of testimony.”
This was the first revival beginning in America with a worldwide impact, the report said. From the United States the revival spread to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Europe, South Africa, India, Australia and the Pacific islands. In geographical and proportionate numerical extent, the revival of 1857 — 1860 has not been equaled,” said Christianity.com.
What does that have to do in 2017 for people living along the Bayou Teche? Since June there is a noted increase in the interactions between churches and The Daily Iberian. The average number of church announcements has increased from four to 20 this week. Multi-church events, exchanges of pastors speaking for special celebrations, public prayer events and “revivals” have been initiated or planned throughout the region. Two listed in today’s calendar are slated on the same days but at different locations.
According to the Episcopalchurch.org, “First, we follow Jesus seeking every day to love God with our whole heart, mind and soul, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (as in Matthew 22:36-40). Just like Jesus. For the Episcopal Church, a movement of Jesus calls for a focus on three specific priorities: evangelism, reconciliation and creation care.”
Although a statement of a specific denomination, the faith of other Christian denominations is of similar note. The Rev. Matt Woollett, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in New Iberia, has a goal of putting this philosophy into action.
“We’re trying to get people to take their commitment seriously, not just to be a church of convenience, but to be a church of discipleship,” Woollett said about the goals for his congregation. “How many people have been affected by the virus of the gospel, (and are they willing to give it to others)? That’s our next challenge.”
Is the Nation coming into revival?
Following the tragedy of September 11, 2001, an outpouring of patriotism and faith brought unity to the nation before lives returned to routines. More recently, during Wednesday night’s Country Music Awards show on ABC-TV, celebrities throughout the program encouraged a spirit of unity. Moments of solemn reflection were in part because of the killing spree at a country music concert in Las Vegas that touched many lives. This week in Texas, a church in a small town lost 26 members of its congregation due to unnecessary violence.
Violence does not mean lack of God, it is often a reminder for followers to return to their faith.
The CompellingTruth.org website said “Jesus freak” was a term used to describe the non-traditional Christians of the Jesus Movement in the 1960s and 1970s. “Freak” meant enthusiast, and although originally used by outsiders, believers in the movement adopted it as their own. Jesus freak still means anyone who is enthusiastic about following Jesus and is not afraid to show it, the website said.
The Jesus Movement was a revival of sorts that started among the counter-culturists on the West Coast. It originated with hippies who were unfulfilled in the drug-saturated, free-love culture and found more meaning in Jesus’ teachings on love and peace. The movement was Pentecostal in nature, emphasizing healing, signs and miracles, said the CompellingTruth.org.
Freedom in Christ is just that. No one is forced to believe in the Deity that dwells within mankind offering eternal life for those who believe. Man was given free will to choose what they believe. Society and political correctness has tried to squelch believers from speaking out. Revival, in part, is not being silent about one’s faith.
Is there a revival starting along the banks of Bayou Teche? Did this happen overnight or has it been part of the overwhelming faith that has always been part of the Acadian and Spanish ancestors, the founders of the communities? Read more about the deep roots of faith in Sunday’s Teche Life section of The Daily Iberian.