As summer approaches I have memories and scenes from childhood flash through my mind. One of them lately has been sitting out in the hot summer evening under a big white tent. I don’t remember that it was very often that we would go to them but I remember that my mother, who grew up going to tent revivals in the summer, always enjoyed taking us all as a family back for one of the evenings.
It would be Dad first then Mom beside him and then all of us kids in a row on those metal folding chairs down the row. I remember being distracted a lot. I would look outside the big tent wishing I could run on the lawn, with the kids who had been misbehaving…. I would watch the glow of the evening fire flies come out, low on the lawn they would light up here and then there… until someone got excited and raised there hands in, “Hallelujah” bringing me back to the present.
Even though I remember they seem to go long into the evening, I would be bored, fidgety and distracted, I remember that we were all there, as a family. My Dad would have his black bible. He would say a loud, “Amen” at the right times. He would be leaning forward and nodding his head in agreement with the revival preacher.
As I let my mind wonder back recently and remember I wondered that we don’t really have those big tent revivals anymore. I wonder if it just seems out of date or families are busy. I wonder if Dad’s brought there whole families to revival services and let the old fashioned Holy Spirit convict them of sin. I wonder if they asked their wives to forgive them and wives responded the same way. I wonder if kids watched and also got right with God, too. Tears came to my eyes and spilled down my face as I thought, “I don’t think it’s that families don’t need revival anymore.” I don’t think it’s that little girls never sit down at dinner and ask Jesus to help their daddies treat their mommies right… I still think that happens. I don’t think it’s that little boys don’t need to see a daddy lead the family like he should. I think they really do.
I still think families need revival. And I miss those big white tents, those hot summer evenings, fire flies, long sermons and invitational songs, people walking forward, paper fans waving in front of tired momma’s, sweaty revival preachers, and getting right with God, having a revival again as a family. Can I get an Amen?