I had head-knowledge about the Azusa Street Revival. In Bible College, it was part of one of our subjects and I was a bit jealous that everyone else seemed to know what it was about. So I read about it. It popped up again a couple of times since then and I am ashamed to say that I felt just a little smug knowing what it was when others were left with the same confused look on their face as I had years before.
Recently I got in too deep with a writing assignment and agreed to write on the History of North American Revivals. I am being very honest- I DID not enjoy it. It felt as if I was trying to squeeze glue out of a metal tube. It was hard work. Nothing ‘gelled’. What was worse- I didn’t care about the topic. Here I am, a Mom at the bottom of Africa, giving a history of Revival in a part so far from me that I can’t even properly comprehend it. The only parts I found interesting where: 1. It was in most cases started directly or indirectly by ministers or missionaries from England, a country which is very much against Christianity today and 2. the effect it had on relieving the social ills of the times.
I kept asking God if I was meant to write this article and I kept feeling I should go ahead. I would love to say it got interesting or I had a massive revelation, but I didn’t. In fact: they had double-booked the article and didn’t even use my article in the end. What a waste.
Until… God has an amazing way of bringing life into something that is dead. That is why His Word is alive. Hebrews 4:12 says: For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
A few weeks later I started listening to podcasts by Bethel Church and Bill Johnson in particular and heard about The Call- Azusa Now. Something inside stirred in the way our spirits do when it recognises rhema-word (living word). I jumped on the internet and was excited to see that they were having an Azusa street revival commemoration in Los Angeles on 9 April. I said a quick prayer for the meeting and then forgot about it.
Until a good friend invited me to something called: The Call two weeks ago. It seemed familiar and sure enough when I jumped online again it was the same Azusa Now gathering that was being screened at a local church, together with churches of many different denominations.
We had an amazing evening. God has placed in my heart a yearning for reconciliation between races and I feel it most urgently in the church. South Africa’s past is bloodied by Apartheid especially since many in the church participated in it. And today many people in the church are trying to move forward in reconciliation, still wounded by what happened to their parents and grandparents and maybe even to themselves. But I know that Christ can reconcile. It was His ministry and it should be ours. It should be mine. A big part of the Azusa Now event was given to reconciliation between believers of different races. It was so beautiful to see a prominent black pastor admit that he did not want to get involved due to differences between him and other leaders and how the Holy Spirit just sweetly and gently led him to repentance and reconciliation.
A few months back I drove four hours to a meeting in Bloemfontein for prayer for unity in our country. Together in a University lecture hall, people from all over our country prayed with elders from the Bushmen tribes, with Indian people, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and Tswana people, Jewish people, Afrikaner people, English people. There were prayers of repentance, prayers of reconciliation and prayers of unity. I don’t know what happened in the Spirit there that day, but I believe it was big.
The same as with the Azusa Now meeting. Things shifted in the spiritual realm and God wants us on board. He wants me on board. If believers everywhere could facilitate reconciliation in their churches, in their towns, even in their denominations and recognise their differences and embrace them, they will be blessed by being on board with this massive Kingdom move of God. And I feel an urgency that if we miss it, we will miss out.