I was watching a televangelist the other day and a question came to my mind: When our message about Jesus mirror’s the world’s attitude, then it really is just religion.
An eternal difference exists between being religious and keeping Christ as the center of our focus.
I am not the judge and don’t mean to judge. But in comparison, simpler times can beckon us back to what remains personally valuable today.
In my childhood, our family would travel to some rural community where my preacher father was to be the evangelist for a revival. Sometimes meetings went on for two weeks in the hot summertime, in an open-air wooden tabernacle.
Those mostly agricultural communities were made up of farm families who all turned out in mass to attend all services. There were no special programs in place to entice people to come — they just enthusiastically came.
Someone in the church would sign up to keep our family in their home for those two weeks and then other members of the community would have us over for noon lunch and dinner. My sister Susie and I would help feed animals, milk the cows and gather eggs. We splashed in creeks and played in the woods. We always had to worry about chiggers ...t hey were everywhere! Such were the perils of the country that we city girls were not accustomed.
When the revival services started each night, the open air tabernacle of folding chairs was full. We sang from tattered hymnals with the words “Look and Live” on the front, and we always sang all verses. Sometimes they even took requests from the audience. Old hymns like “Are You Washed in the Blood,” “There is Power in the Blood,” “At Calvary,” and “The Light of the World is Jesus” resonated through the rafters of the old tabernacle and up toward the sky.
If we needed a drink during the church service, our water fountain was a big wash tub with a dipper hanging over the side of it. Everyone would use the dipper to pour water into little cone shaped white paper cups sitting beside the tub.
After the singing, Daddy would preach. On those hot summer Missouri nights, we would all fan with the fans provided by the local funeral home with pictures of the Last Supper on one side and an advertisement for the funeral home on the other side.
When I had fanned enough to cool down, I leaned my head on Mother’s shoulder and slept. Even in my childlike mind, I was just content with the experience of being involved in God’s work, and how I fit in. Then when the crowd would stand up to sing the “invitation,” I would wake up, be revived and go on strong for about three more hours. Sometimes after the services, all the kids rounded up mason jars and we would have a contest to see who could collect the most lightening bugs.
People were moved and life-changing events occurred when those revivals took place. I realize that we as people have changed and no longer do we have the slow times of the ’50s when life did seem to be simpler. Cities change, people change, governments change, schools change, families change and society in general changes.
Yet, change for change sake is not productive. Too many times we change and throw out the best part of us as a sacrifice for the change. The message of a loving God who reached out to a lost world never changes. His message remains the same.
The God I met in my childhood was then and is still the core of my life. Maybe those days and the old way of doing things were not so bad for many of us after all.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: