West London Alliance Church

Children of Revival

It was with significant excitement and admiration that I attended an album release worship concert last night. I’m not generally one to get excited about album release events. And yet, this was no ordinary album release event. This was my sister’s album release worship concert. More accurately this was the album release worship concert that my sister and her husband were hosting at the church building where they pastor a wonderful congregation. Their album, This Is My Song, has been available on iTunes for several months and last night was a celebration coming out of that endeavour. That is why I was excited. And it is also why I was in a state of admiration; I’m very proud of Bryar and Jonny and consider it a privilege to have shared their evening with them.

One particular point in the evening sticks out in my mind. Bryar, Jonny, and their assembled musicians were playing the songs from the album when Bryar began to introduce the song Children of Revival. When I heard this song for the first time, it lead me to think about major movements of God in his church and the seemingly inevitable smoldering and quenching of ‘revival fire’ that follows these times of refreshing. And as you read the lyrics, you’ll see, I think, those aspects.

Children of revival,
Where did your fire go?

Remember when you lived like I was real
Burning with my love, consumed with zeal
Remember you could see my heart in it all
Remember when the lost were coming in
Remember how I freed them of their sin
Remember when you cried for the souls of men
You used to call to me
You recognized your needs
You used to feel my pulse
But now your heart beats to something else.

Children of revival,
Where did your fire go?

I came to you and it was real
You came to me and you were healed
I spoke my word, please don’t forget. I’m not finished yet
I know you’ve been confused by the faults of men
Disappointed and disillusioned
But I’m the same God now as I was then
I put a fire in you
Lavished my love on you
I washed away your guilt
With my grace, your empty soul I filled

Children of revival,
Where did your fire go?

You closed the door and walked away.
But I’m knocking at the door and I’m here to stay

Let me in
I’ll breathe on the embers
Here I am
Your heart remembers
The way I saved and
My forgiveness
The way I came,
The power of my presence.

What was memorable last night, however, was the connection Bryar made–while introducing the song–between the lyrics and the experience they convey to the individual as opposed to the congregation. It seems to me that most Christians will think of corporate experiences when they hear the word revival. Bryar directed our thinking to the personal level.

J. I. Packer describes revival as “God's quickening visitation of his people, touching their hearts and deepening his work of grace in their lives." This points to the corporate experience and a personal one. We need to understand that the corporate experience is a manifestation of what is happening to individuals; revival is the cumulative effect of each person.

Bryar noted that for her the song was about individuals who had at one time had times of significant fellowship with Christ but who had, for many reasons, withdrawn or fallen away. Perhaps they had become entangled in sin or had been wounded in battle. Perhaps in a moment of betrayal, they had willingly walked away from their Saviour. In all these cases, the song inquires, “Children of revival,/ Where did your fire go?

The image of fire as a picture of revival is not uncommon. Bryar and Jonny employ this figurative language as they portray God’s posture towards those who are “disappointed and disillusioned” and have hearts that beat “to something else.” These people, people who once knew “how [God] freed them of their sin” are now confronted with the same, unchanging God: “I’m the same God now as I was then/ I put a fire in you/ Lavished my love on you/ I washed away your guilt/ With my grace, your empty soul I filled.

Among all the wonderful moments of the night, the clarity with which I saw this song’s message in my own life was the most poignant. If you are a Christian, through the work of Christ on the cross God has reconciled you to himself through the greatest demonstration of love the world will ever see. And likely, God has walked you through times of spiritual fervency and refreshing. We should regularly and intentionally call to mind all that God has done in our lives so that we don’t wander off, fall away, or reject the One who saved us. And if we find ourselves in a place where the fires have been smothered or allowed to burn out, we have a God who calls us to return and through the person and work of Jesus gives us the ability and desire to fan the flames of our love for Him.

I’m fortunate to have been blessed with godly and gracious siblings by birth and by marriage; Bryar and Jonny are evidence of that.

Comment

On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, said:

Worshiping our God through music is a passion of mine.For you to be nlessed to have a sister and brother in law that lead worship through song is a blessing of which you must be so proud.I enjoy reading your blog Pastor Jude.I live in winnipeg mb my wife and i attend Calvary Temple we are also blessed to have a musical worship team that is so dedicated and adoring of God and Jesus and the holy spirit it lifts our hearts and lets us know how much God loves us.So keep posting pastor im fan.God bless you.george

 

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