I'm reminded of your authentic faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice. I'm sure that this faith is also inside you. Because of this, I'm reminding you to revive God's gift that is in you through the laying on of my hands. God didn't give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving and self-controlled.
2 Timothy 1:5-7
(Common English Bible)
Revival. There's nothing quite like it. I remember growing up and knowing that during summer that two things were certain: harvesting our garden and revival. In a way, both are a kind of harvest. The lazy days of summer sometimes were not so lazy around our farm. We were always busy in the garden planting, weeding, nourishing and harvesting the crops. On Sundays, however, we were certain that work ceased and that we rested...unless there was a revival.
In the neighboring towns, we would go to support the revivals at local churches, even if they were of another denomination. The most important thing was to be in church worshiping God, be it at a Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal or church of another denomination. We also went to our share of campmeetings (like Salem Campmeeting) and tent revivals - outside in the open air with sawdust between our toes and heat glistening our brows. We would sing those old-time hymns that our grandparents sang and listen to uplifting words from preachers we didn't normally get to hear. It was a great time of being with friends of all denominations and of worshiping God together as a community of faith.
Times have changed, but some things never change. Revivals may look a bit different now than they did 50 years ago, but they are still a chance for people to get together and worship God as a body of believers, not getting hung up on our differences, but celebrating our unity in Christ. The Apostle Paul reminded Timothy to remember his heritage - having been brought up in the faith of the church and of Godly ancestors, but then to go a step farther - to "stir up" God's gift within him. Like Timothy, we cannot rely on the faith of our parents or even our grandparents to carry us through this life. We must be "revived" - to be stirred up from the inside so that we can carry on the faith to our children and grandchildren. The Psalmist said it well: "Revive us so that we can call on your name. Restore us, Lord God of heavenly forces. Make your face shine so that we can be saved!" (Psalm 80:18b-19).
Where do you need to be revived or stirred up? This Sunday evening at 7 p.m., Covington First UMC will begin a series of three revival services which will run on the last Sunday of June, July and August. Come and worship with a fellowship of believers as we ask God to "stir us up" in our faith so that we can share Christ's light and love with the world.
Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at email@example.com