Thursday, August 11, 2005

Revival

I have never quite understood why churches have their revivals in the extreme heat of summer. In the old days, they were held outside in tents and it was probably difficult to tell who fell out due to the Holy Spirit and who was just overheated. I noticed in the church newsletter that came today that my favorite "renewer of faith" is about to arrive at the old home church at the end of the month. Of course instead of revival, the homecoming is being called "Festival of Faith."

Reginald Mallet is quite a unique individual in his own right, and his relationship with Methodist churches across the world adds to his importance as an evangelist. Dr. Mallet has the distinct advantage of being not only a British Methodist minister but a physician as well. In an unconventional move for the sixties, he and his family accepted an exchange pulpit arrangement with our local Methodist church and our minister and his family went to England for the summer swap. I was charmed from the moment I first heard him speak when I was just a small child.

Dr. Mallet weaves tales that range from his childhood in England through his experiences with patients and include his world travels. During that first summer in Dyersburg, he became a beloved honorary member of our church, along with his lovely wife and children. They have returned on numerous occasions over the years, and it is always a huge delight for not only our congregation, but people all over the West Tennessee area who travel to hear his soft British accent tell stories of the way that the Bible teaches us to live colored with a delightful sense of humor and everyday experiences.

The mecca for Methodists in the states is a place called Lake Junaluska in North Carolina. Though I've never been there myself, I have heard that it is an awesome spirit filled place where souls are freshened and renewed by the mountains and lake . One of my favorite books of all time is a collection of Dr. Mallet's sermons from his visits to Junaluska entitled Sermons by the Lake. He has led several tour groups of historic churches in England attended by Americans and others who feel the timeless bond of the church.

Much later, in the nineties, our church again sponsored a pulpit exchange with a British minister, Stanley Barker. Our associate pastor spent the summer in England with his family and again we were all challenged to look outside of the doors of our own building and out into the church universal. One of the Barker children was a 16 year old named John, who seemed quite smitten with BabyGirl after they attended church camp and other activities together. He visited our home a few days before he left the country, and I was amazed at his keen interest in professional wrestling! Imagine that...the WWF spans continents and oceans ;)

I rarely attend formal services anymore. More often than not Sunday morning finds me in the bed with a book, resting my spirit in my own way with no makeup or clothes. But I will be there to hear Reg speak the Gospel while he is here. I'm just thankful it won't be in a tent on the grounds, but in an air conditioned building!

4 comments:

Idgie @ the "Dew" said...

"In the old days, they were held outside in tents and it was probably difficult to tell who fell out due to the Holy Spirit and who was just overheated" -

Love that line!

I have never been to a revival, but they sure look interesting!

Romani Heart said...

I've been to Lake Junaluska, there's a sign near the corner of my yard that tells how many miles it is, it's on the other end of the road I live on, although it's like an hour away. I was lead there through something a psychic told me and some erm.. things I "heard". It's a beautiful place. I've never been there for any sort of service, but I love driving around it. Maybe I need to visit there again :)

srp said...

We had district camp meetings when I was little. The camp ground was dirty which was heaven for a tomboy like me. The tabernacle had no walls, just posts holding up the roof and sawdust covered floors.

One time when my brother was a teenager he attended and said conditions were essentially unchanged in 15 years. The evangelist led the alter call with the Gaither song "The King is Coming" and they sang the chorus over and over and over and over and over...... My brother finally leaned over to Dad and said, "I'm hoping The King will hurry up and get here so we can stop singing this song!"

Lolly said...

I think revivals were held in August because it was a slow time of year. Being the hottest month, and coming after June and July, people were fed up with the heat. Their tempers were short, they're restless and ready for a change. Preachers, just as fed up as anybody, used this tension to deliver their firey sermons, hoping to bring people to an emotional surrender to the Spirit, instead of surrendering to their baser temptations (you know, the stuff that leads to fights, jail, and hell!)