Wednesday, Revival in our churches
I had to look up the definition of “revival.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “the state of being revived;” of being “returned to consciousness or life; active or flourishing again.” It struck me—that for there to be a revival, there has to have been a death. A return to consciousness requires there first having been a loss of it. Healing hunts for the open wound.
We want the revival. We’re looking for the resurrection power. But we’d like to skip the death.
The Word of God says, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16). And we squirm. Isn’t there some other way? Perhaps one that doesn’t require the awkward uncovering of our fears and failures in the presence of another?
Completely forgiven by Christ alone. Still smothered by shame. The taunts of “if anyone really knew…” tempt us to hide behind the false security of “…but they don’t.” So we wrap our wounds tighter and tuck them away. We hope we’ll get better even if we’ll never be well. But that tourniquet-tight wrap cuts off the circulation, and something dies that once was ours. Hope. Or passion. Or relationship. Or laughter.
We resign ourselves to the death and learn to live without whatever we have lost. Until the hope of healing finally outweighs the fear.
On Good Friday, I sat on my couch and I mumbled a confession I didn’t want to make. One of my closest friends sat across from me, unable to lift the shame of sin but confident in the One who could. And she did something I didn’t expect—she unwrapped her own wounds and laid her failures out where I could see them too. Then she prayed, and as she did, something inside of me beat back to life. As confident as I had been of my complete forgiveness in the presence of God alone, I hadn’t known how desperately I needed the healing that came in the presence and prayers of another.
If I’ve ever known either, that was church and that was revival.
I didn’t realize revival could be so quiet. I’d forgotten the church could be so small. I’d hesitated to believe that God’s promise of healing might really apply to me. But it did! And it does to you too. The Lord really does breathe life into the places we’ve doomed to death. He lifts the shame that has blocked out the light. And very often, He does it through the tenderness of His children, through the faithfulness of His body, through the kindness of His Church.
Dearest Church, it is a joy and an honor to be a part of you!
Lord, give us the courage to uncover our sins in the safe presence of trusted others. Give us the grace to unwrap what we’ve kept hidden, to tell the stories we wish weren’t our own. Revive us in the midst of quiet confessions. Bring life where there has been silent death. Bring healing where the wound has festered. Bring freedom where the shame has bound us for far too long. Revive Your body, Lord. Revive your Church. We lay down our pride to receive Your life!