I just returned from my first Episcopal Revival. Started in 2017 in Pittsburgh, these revivals by the Episcopal Church are designed to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in the language of the people and provide open space where we can share our stories about God.
I attended a Billy Graham Crusade in Oklahoma City in 1983 and wondered if this new Episcopal Revival was going to be similar. Many aspects were with great Spirit-filled music and inspired preaching. However, the service ended differently in Honduras.
In 1983 in Oklahoma City, the last song began to play and Mr. Graham announced an altar call—that anyone who was ready to commit their life to Christ could come forward where they would be taken off-stage and people would pray for their new-found commitment. I had joined a Southern Baptist Church a few years earlier and wasn’t moved to leave my seat on that particular night, but it was very emotional as many people went forward.
As the local band started to play the last song in Honduras last week, I wondered if it was going to be the same “altar call”. Presiding Bishop Curry recognized Bishop Allen from Honduras and Bishop Allen instead requested that all his clergy come forward and stand in front of him on the stage. As the clergy made their way to the front, the band played softly in the background.
When 50 or so clergy had come forward, Bishop Allen offered a different altar call in both Spanish and English: “If anyone today desires to be healed, I invite you to come forward where we will pray for you.”
It was emotional for the 3000 attendees, and people began lining up before each clergy, six and eight deep to receive the laying on of hands and healing prayer.
I was reminded of the story in the Gospel of John 5:6 where a disabled man had been an invalid for 38 years and was lying by a pool. When Jesus learned of the man’s infirmity he didn’t ask him if he was ready to commit his life to Christ. Instead he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (¿Quieres ser sano?)
Tears flowed as we admitted that we needed to be healed and moved forward to receive healing prayer.
Blessings, my friend,