Reason for Revival (363)

This Saturday, many of us will gather at our Camp and Retreat Center, Honey Creek, for a Revival led by our Church’s Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Curry. We’re calling this Revival: “Fearless Faith, Boundless Love.” Some people have asked me why we’re using the term “Revival” for our gathering. These questioners are implying some discomfort with the term, maybe hinting at historical baggage from their previous church experience. While I’m sorry this term might dredge up negative feelings in some, we’re not at all apologetic for using the term. We need a “Revival” of faith and hope in the Diocese of Georgia. And others, who aren’t currently members of one of our congregations, need to be unabashedly invited to trust in Jesus as their Lord & Savior.

But let’s be clear: we’re not gathering on Saturday at Honey Creek to congratulate ourselves for being Episcopalians. To paraphrase Jesus, “God can raise up Episcopalians from the rocks in the road.” And hopefully, we’re not going to Honey Creek just to have fun together and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation on Georgia’s lovely coast. Although I hope we experience both fun and joy on Saturday, I hope that’s not the primary reason we’re there. And, I really hope we’re not gathering at Honey Creek just to prove to the world that we Episcopalians know how to be evangelistic when we want to, but most of the time, we just don’t want to. Rather, I hope we’re gathering because we’re all being convicted by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Truth be told: I believe more than a few Episcopalians today don’t see any urgency in evangelizing others, that is, to humbly and graciously invite another person to put their whole trust in Jesus’s saving grace and then to follow him as Lord. I guess some people think that a person may not be need such grace; that they’ll be just fine if they put their “whole trust” in something else or someone else. And I’m not talking about trusting Jesus in order to avoid Hell. There is a literal Hell and everyone who wants to be there, gets to be there. Anyway, that’s God’s business, not ours. Rather, I’m talking about helping others to discover how more wonderful their lives will be when they trust that Jesus died for their sins and thus has liberated them to love others and to live compassionately and mercifully in this world.

I also hope no one on Saturday will be asked “to give their lives to Jesus.” Our human frailty will always make that turn out poorly for the one being asked to give such a claim. But, I hope everyone will hear that “Jesus gave his life for us” and that faith is trusting in what he has done and not in anyone’s capacity to “give their lives to Jesus.”

And on a somewhat related note: after Georgia’s painful loss to Alabama last week, Jeb Blazevich, a senior tight end for the Bulldogs, was asked by an interviewer: “Jeb, after four years here playing football at Georgia, and after playing in the National Championship Game, what do you think your legacy is?” Jeb replied: “I don’t know, Jesus loved me, and he told me to love people, and I just want to try to do that.”

Yes! Let’s be like Jeb!



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