I’ve been reading articles and listening with interest as major news outlets report on an on-going “revival” at Asbury University, the institution whose seminary I attended from 2003-2007. While I went to the Orlando, FL satellite campus of Asbury Theological Seminary, it is the mother campus in Wilmore, KY that has documented a series of extraordinary events starting in an ordinary chapel service on February 8. Professors I remember and loved have described it as “a special work of the Holy Spirit” or the “beginning of the Third Great Awakening.” People are overcome with a profound sense of sweet Presence and peace and are having their spiritual passions reawakened and faith renewed.
From what I can gather, no one wants to leave the chapel, and people are coming from all over the world, even as far away as Singapore, to partake in the event. Reportedly, the movement of the Spirit has spread to other schools in the area: Lee University in Tennessee, Anderson University in Indiana, and Ohio Christian University near Columbus among them. This revival may not be what we sensible UCC-ers are apt to think: No one is swinging from the chandeliers; no one is running backwards over the pews in a trancelike state. The movement did not begin with a celebrity preacher whipping the gathered into a frenzy or employing big screens. For me, knowing Asbury like I do, the quiet event has a ring of authenticity to it. People have flooded the town, crammed into the regular wooden pews, and are praying, singing, and basking in something, well, supernatural.
Reading about it has given me hope. I am praying that the spiritual revival continues to spread during this dark time, when our pews are mostly empty and many people worldwide have long since left the church. I’m praying for a resurgence in interest in the church for both believers and nonbelievers. I picture our sanctuary full again, people fired up to serve God and one another, people repenting (thinking differently!). Won’t you join me in praying for renewal and revival—for ourselves, for CCOV, and for the church universal during this holy season of Lent?
Grace and Peace,