“It is what it is”
“So, I did a thing”
These are just a few words/phrases that, for no obvious reason, rub me the wrong way when I see them in print. This is by no means all of them. They are not things I’ve ever said. I don’t know if this is an oddity of being on the spectrum or if it’s just an oddity of being me. I asked my son recently why people preface FB pictures of tattoos and new hairdos with “So, I did a thing” I didn’t 100% agree with his explanation, but it certainly fits the gist of this blog, so I’m going to use it.
I’d been following the revival taking place at Asbury University in Lexington, Kentucky, since its start weeks ago on a Wednesday following morning chapel. It was interesting, and I was curious about how long it might continue. Clearly, it was instigated by God, so maybe it would go on until He sent Jesus back to earth.
Alas, human logistics stepped in, and it concluded last week.
Eight days ago, I was in my office finishing up the bulletins and power point slide shows for Sunday’s service.
“I should go”
The thought wouldn’t leave. I prayed, sought Godly counsel, yet it remained.
So the next day, I did a thing.
Raspberry Shortcake and I started what I thought would be a 6-hour (but turned out to be a 7-hour) trip across a large portion of Illinois and Indiana and a smaller part of Kentucky until we reached my lodgings for the night, a place called Shaker Village.
Travel: 1. Listened to Shane Idleman podcasts the whole way. Excellent way to get myself in the right frame of mind. 2. No car trouble. 3. Didn’t get “lost” until I left I64 to Harrodsburg. This was near Shaker Village, but it was dark & I couldn’t see my instructions. In Harrodsburg, there was a sign for the road to Shaker Village which God allowed me with my nightblindness to see.
Shaker Village reception had an escort who led in his truck down a winding road to the West House, a distance of about 2 miles. He went with me to my room to make sure I got in. The building had dual staircases, just like the old Chestnut Grade School (didn’t realize it had been designed by a Shaker). My room was beautiful. Hard-wood floors, old-style furnishings & NO TV—thus, no distractions. I fell asleep listening to a Westside Christian Fellowship Service from that morning.
The next morning I drove straight to Asbury. The 10-mile road between Shaker Village and Asbury was twisty, hilly, and it was never possible to achieve the posted speed limit of 55 on the straightaways because there really weren’t any. 20 minutes were required to travel the 10 miles. I made a mental note to leave the revival before dark.
After leaving the twisty-turny road, the university was easy to find. What was not was a parking space. I drove around several times before finally remembering to ask for help. No, I didn’t go to a gas station.
15 seconds after asking God, there was a spot. The parking lot said “Residents Only,” but I took my chances.
It was a 2-block walk to what looked like the beginning of the line. The weather was great on February 23 in Kentucky, a little overcast but not cold enough to require a winter coat.
I don’t think there were 10s of thousands of people but there were certainly thousands in the line I entered at about 10 am. Oldsters were to be permitted into Hughes Auditorium at 2 pm. Only 4 hours to go. Okay. Father, help me.
It may seem like a crazy thing to some that a 61-year-old widowed grandma would make such a pilgrimage in her car and then on her feet.
Thank God He did not think so. This was confirmed by the personality of the 1st person I spoke to in the line. It was obvious after about 5 seconds of conversation that the 12-year-old boy was on the high functioning end of the spectrum. He and I spent the next hour to hour and a half talking about his interests which included facts about the revival, engineering, and chess. His mom and some other people from his church were with him, and I introduced myself. That group eventually left the line and I did not see any of them again. This happened several times throughout the day, and I felt blessed to have met them for however long a duration.
Fairly early in the day, an older gentleman began playing a shofar and explaining what each of the melodies represented. That afternoon, another older gentleman in the line who was probably a pastor prayed for him because he was experiencing severe hip pain. The hip pain vanished and he was left only with some tiredness. But maybe we were all feeling that.
There were prayer circles, prayer duos, worship leaders, throughout the line. The Salvation Army was handing out bottled water and snacks. Several times, I thought about how many times I’ve stood in a line (granted, a shorter line) at places like Six Flags for a ride that amounts to less than 5 minutes. The anticipated “ride” at the end of this line was far superior.
The line continually advanced, but there didn’t appear to be anyone going into the auditorium which was now visible to the naked eye.
2 pm came and went, and I was still in line. No one around me was commenting on this, though, and everyone was still in great spirits. Those who grew too tired or worried about their children or their own health, went to some chapels which were simulcasting the Hughes revival. I was starting to feel pretty bad with arthritis being felt in the knees, hips, back, and hands; but I never felt clear direction from God to go to one of the alternate chapels.
Shofar man and his wife, Lisa, and another woman with them were now in front of me in the line. It looked like we would be going in about 4 pm. That would give us 1 hour in The Presence.
We submitted to a cursory search for weapons and then were on the dozen or so steps leading to the auditorium. As they went in, I became separated from shofar man and his group and was again alone. There was a young man who had been slightly ahead of me in line who was also alone. The person tending the door asked everyone how many were in our group. He and I both said “one”. The attendant began calling groups in and said he would get to us. Apparently, the young man noticed this too because he asked me if I’d like to be part of a group of two, and of course I said yes. We got in right after that.
We were shown to seats on the main floor about halfway to the front and sat together. We exchanged names, and unfortunately I don’t remember his, but it was something like Reynaldo.
There were a guitarist, a vocalist, a pianist, and a drum of the sort that is held between the knees and beat on with the hands. Those were the only instruments. The guitarist, pianist, and obviously the vocalist led us in worship choruses, some familiar, some not. They taught us a new chorus based on the portion of the Sermon on the Mount that has to do with Blessed are the peacemakers.
No one ever told us to stand up, raise our hands, shout, or even sing. They let God instruct us. There was great liberty. Which was really great for me because I could no longer stand.
At 5, the guitarist told the Gen Zers, as they were called, to find a place to have supper so the oldsters, some of whom were still standing in line outside and had been for some time, could share in the experience. All the youngsters gathered their things and left. More oldsters came in, and seats were exchanged to make room for them. Reynaldo and I prayed for one another while this was going on. But the music never stopped. The worship never stopped. Everything ran very smoothly.
Recovered, I was able to stand, and had no difficulty doing so for the last hour. I made the most of the liberty, listening for what I thought my Father wanted me to experience. I was not disappointed. The long drive, the 6-hour stand with a few steps interspersed, the fact that I would be traversing that twisty, bendy road after dark, were worth it.
A few weeks ago, Pastor Larry Moreau preached about the Mount of Transfiguration stating it was his belief that there were times when the veil between heaven and earth was thinner than usual; the experience shared by Peter, James, and John was one such time. I believe revivals are such a time.
Did I have an experience like that shared by Peter, James, and John? Or even the woman who posted on FB that she was overcome with tears on simply approaching the auditorium?
No. I didn’t cry at all.
But my soul was revived.
Sometimes I think YHWH just wants to see if we’ll listen to Him and do His will. So, although there were no supernatural manifestations for this attendee, unless you count the fact that I was able to walk and stand for 6 hours on knees that need replaced, it was a blessing and continues to be so now nearly a week after my return home.
The Asbury revival has ended, but many others continue throughout our great land. If you feel God directing you to go. . . Go.