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The Christmas Message: Queen Elizabeth II describes the Significance of Christmas

The Christmas Message

Queen Elizabeth II describes the Significance of Christmas

Originally available as The Christmas Message: Reflections on the Significance of Christmas from The Queen’s Christmas Broadcasts

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Cue the Queen: Celebrating the Christmas Speech – YouTube

Some quotes from The Queen:

God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general … but a Saviour, with the power to forgive. Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. … It is my prayer that … we all might find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord. (2011) 

This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son ‘to serve, not to be served’. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. (2012)

For Christians, as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation and prayer help us to renew ourselves in God’s love, as we strive daily to become better people. The Christmas message shows us that this love is for everyone. There is no one beyond its reach. (2013)

For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the prince of peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people, of whatever faith or none. (2014)

Despite being displaced and persecuted throughout his short life, Christ’s unchanging message was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another. (2015)

Jesus Christ lived obscurely for most of his life, and never travelled far. He was maligned and rejected by many, though he had done no wrong. And yet, billions of people now follow his teaching and find in him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them because Christ’s example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe. (2016)

We remember the birth of Jesus Christ, whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem. He knew rejection, hardship and persecution. And, yet, it is Jesus Christ’s generous love and example which has inspired me through good times and bad. (2017)

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Printed books have a double page for each of the 65 annual Christmas Broadcasts.

Queen Elizabeth II has spoken about the significance of Christmas to more people than anyone else in history, including 28 million in the UK and many millions more worldwide in just one of her Christmas Broadcasts.

We have 65 annual Christmas Broadcasts from Queen Elizabeth II, freely available on the internet. Her Majesty refers to the meaning and significance of Christmas in them all. I have included 25 of my favourite selections in this Blog.

Jon Kuhrt wrote a blog about The Queen’s Christmas messages. While working with people affected by homelessness, offending and addictions at the West London Mission, he was impressed by comments in the 2014 broadcast. Jon wrote: “I have not been a committed viewer (apart from when I am at my Mum’s when it is compulsory viewing). So I went back and read her previous Christmas messages over the last 5 years.”

Here, I have adapted Jon’s Resistance & Renewal blog in which he describes how The Queen’s Christmas messages are a model of how to talk about faith in the public sphere.

1) The Queen speaks personally

“It is my prayer this Christmas Day that Jesus’ example and teaching will continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others.” (2012)

“For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the prince of peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life.” (2014)

Personal testimony is significant and convincing, causing respect in those listening. The Queen is personal in the way she speaks, using words like ‘for me’; ‘my life’ and ‘my prayer’.

2) The Queens speaks compassionately

“Despite being displaced and persecuted throughout his short life, Christ’s unchanging message was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another.” (2015)

“Christ’s example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe.” (2016)

Consistently, The Queen and the Royal Family show deep concern for the bereaved and suffering, both in personal contact and in correspondence. The heart of Christmas is about God’s love for everyone, especially the hurting and fallen.

3) The Queen speaks inclusively

“The Christmas message shows us that this love is for everyone. There is no one beyond its reach.” (2013)

“Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people, of whatever faith or none.” (2014)

God’s love is for all people and believing in this love leads us to respect and value everyone. Jon adds, “It resonated with my own experience of meeting The Queen in 1997, when she came to open a new hostel for young homeless people that I was managing. I showed her round and introduced her to all the residents. I had expected it to be quite formal and awkward but I remember how adept she was at talking to such a diverse range of people.”

4) The Queen speaks about Jesus

“This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son ‘to serve, not to be served’. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ.” (2012)

“God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general … but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.” (2011)

The Queen talks directly about the person at the heart of Christmas, the reason for celebrating. That includes both the example and achievement of Jesus and makes orthodox theology accessible to the widest possible audience.

5) The Queen speaks about faith in action

“Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.” (2011)

“For Christians, as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation and prayer help us to renew ourselves in God’s love, as we strive daily to become better people.” (2013)

Reconciliation, service and love flow from Christian commitment. The Queen talks about what faith does. It makes a difference to how we live and helps us to be ‘better people’.

God really did love the world so much (all races and all religions or none) that he gave us his Son, our Saviour. We celebrate that gift at Christmas.

Here are 25 excerpts from The Queen’s 65 Christmas Broadcasts with links to each Speech.

1952

1952 web1
The Queen’s first Christmas Broadcast, 1952

“Peace on earth, Goodwill toward men” ~ the eternal message of Christmas, and the desire of us all. 

https://www.royal.uk/queens-first-christmas-broadcast-1952 Script

1954

[Christmas] has, before all, its origin in the homage we pay to a very special Family, who lived long ago in a very ordinary home, in a very unimportant village in the uplands of a small Roman province.

Life in such a place might have been uneventful. But the Light, kindled in Bethlehem and then streaming from the cottage window in Nazareth, has illumined the world for two thousand years. It is in the glow of that bright beam that I wish you all a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1954 Script

1957

The First Royal Christmas Message televised, 1957

I would like to read you a few lines from ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, because I am sure we can say with Mr Valiant for Truth, these words:

“Though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought his battles who now will be my rewarder.”

I hope that 1958 may bring you God’s blessing and all the things you long for. And so I wish you all, young and old, wherever you may be, all the fun and enjoyment, and the peace of a very happy Christmas.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1957 – Script

The First Television YouTube Broadcast:

 

1961

Every year at this time the whole Christian world celebrates the birth of the founder of our faith. It is traditionally the time for family reunions, present-giving and children’s parties.

A welcome escape, in fact, from the harsh realities of this troubled world and it is just in times like these, times of tension and anxieties, that the simple story and message of Christmas is most relevant.

The story is of a poor man and his wife who took refuge at night in a stable, where a child was born and laid in the manger. Nothing very spectacular, and yet the event was greeted with that triumphant song: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.”

For that child was to show that there is nothing in heaven and earth that cannot be achieved by faith and by love and service to one’s neighbour. Christmas may be a Christian festival, but its message goes out to all men and it is echoed by all men of understanding and goodwill everywhere. …

“Oh hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing.” The words of this old carol mean even more today than when they were first written.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1961 Script

1967

1967 Queen1
The first Royal Christmas Message televised in colour, 1967

Modern communications make it possible for me to talk to you in your homes and to wish you a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year. These techniques of radio and television are modern, but the Christmas message is timeless.

You may have heard it very often but in the end, no matter what scientific progress we make, the message will count for nothing unless we can achieve real peace and encourage genuine goodwill between individual people and the nations of the world.

Every Christmas I am sustained and encouraged by the happiness and sense of unity which comes from seeing all the members of my family together.

I hope and pray that, with God’s help, this Christmas spirit of family unity will spread and grow among our Commonwealth family of nations.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1967 Script

1975

We are celebrating a birthday – the birthday of a child born nearly 2,000 years ago, who grew up and lived for only about 30 years.

That one person, by his example and by his revelation of the good which is in us all, has made an enormous difference to the lives of people who have come to understand his teaching. His simple message of love has been turning the world upside down ever since. He showed that what people are and what they do, does matter and does make all the difference.

He commanded us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves, but what exactly is meant by ‘loving ourselves’? I believe it means trying to make the most of the abilities we have been given, it means caring for our talents.

It is a matter of making the best of ourselves, not just doing the best for ourselves. 

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1975 Script

1980

I was glad that the celebrations of my mother’s 80th birthday last summer gave so much pleasure. I wonder whether you remember, during the Thanksgiving Service in St. Paul’s, the congregation singing that wonderful hymn “Immortal, Invisible, God only wise”.

“Now give us we pray thee the Spirit of love,
The gift of true wisdom that comes from above,
The spirit of service that has naught of pride,
The gift of true courage, and thee as our guide.”  …

In difficult times we may be tempted to find excuses for self-indulgence and to wash our hands of responsibility. Christmas stands for the opposite. The Wise Men and the Shepherds remind us that it is not enough simply to do our jobs; we need to go out and look for opportunities to help those less fortunate than ourselves, even if that service demands sacrifice.

It was their belief and confidence in God which inspired them to visit the stable and it is this unselfish will to serve that will see us through the difficulties we face.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1980 Script

1981

Christ not only revealed to us the truth in his teachings. He lived by what he believed and gave us the strength to try to do the same – and, finally, on the cross, he showed the supreme example of physical and moral courage.

That sacrifice was the dawn of Christianity and this is why at Christmas time we are inspired by the example of Christ as we celebrate his birth.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1981 Script

1986

It is no easy task to care for and bring up children, whatever your circumstances – whether you are famous or quite unknown. But we could all help by letting the spirit of Christmas fill our homes with love and care and by heeding Our Lord’s injunction to treat others as you would like them to treat you.

When, as the Bible says, Christ grew in wisdom and understanding, he began his task of explaining and teaching just what it is that God wants from us.

The two lessons that he had for us, which he underlined in everything he said and did, are the messages of God’s love and how essential it is that we, too, should love other people.  …

The message which God sent us by Christ’s life and example is a very simple one, even though it seems so difficult to put into practice.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1986 Script

The YouTube Broadcast 1986 includes Away in a Manger by carollers in the royal stable

1989

[The only Christmas Broadcast recorded in public  – at a children’s charity carol concert attended by 2,000, then broadcast on Christmas day]

Many of you will have heard the story of the Good Samaritan, and of how Christ answered the question (from a clever lawyer who was trying to catch him out) “Who is my neighbour?”.

Jesus told of the traveller who was mugged and left injured on the roadside where several important people saw him, and passed by without stopping to help.

His neighbour was the man who did stop, cared for him, and made sure he was being well looked after before he resumed his own journey.  …

You children have something to give us which is priceless. You can still look at the world with a sense of wonder and remind us grown-ups that life is wonderful and precious.  …

In the hope that we will be kind and loving to one another, not just on Christmas Day, but throughout the year, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas. God bless you.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1989 Script

1993

I am always moved by those words in St. John’s Gospel which we hear on Christmas Day – “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not”.

We have only to listen to the news to know the truth of that. But the Gospel goes on – “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God”.

For all the inhumanity around us, let us be grateful for those who have received him and who go about quietly doing their work and His will without thought of reward or recognition.

They know that there is an eternal truth of much greater significance than our own triumphs and tragedies, and it is embodied by the Child in the Manger. That is their message of hope.

We can all try to reflect that message of hope in our own lives, in our actions and in our prayers. If we do, the reflection may light the way for others and help them to read the message too. We live in the global village, but villages are made up of families.  …

I hope you all enjoy your Christmas. I pray, with you, for a happy and peaceful New Year.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1993 Script

The YouTube Broadcast 1993

1995

“Blessed be the peacemakers,” Christ said, “for they shall be called the children of God.” It is especially to those of you, often peacemakers without knowing it, who are fearful of a troubled and uncertain future, that I bid a Happy Christmas.

It is your good sense and good will which have achieved so much. It must not and will not go to waste. May there be still happier Christmases to come, for you and your children. You deserve the best of them.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1995 Script

The YouTube Broadcast 1995

1996

At Christmas I enjoy looking back on some of the events of the year. Many have their roots in history but still have a real point for us today. I recall, especially, a dazzling spring day in Norwich when I attended the Maundy Service, the Cathedral providing a spectacular setting.

The lovely service is always a reminder of Christ’s words to his disciples: “Love one another; as I have loved you”. It sounds so simple yet it proves so hard to obey.  …

If only we can live up to the example of the child who was born at Christmas with a love that came to embrace the whole world. If only we can let him recapture for us that time when we faced the future with childhood’s unbounded faith.

Armed with that faith, the New Year, with all its challenges and chances, should hold no terrors for us, and we should be able to embark upon it undaunted.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1996 Script

The YouTube Broadcast 1996

1997

St Paul spoke of the first Christmas as the kindness of God dawning upon the world. The world needs that kindness now more than ever – the kindness and consideration for others that disarms malice and allows us to get on with one another with respect and affection.

Christmas reassures us that God is with us today. But, as I have discovered afresh for myself this year, he is always present in the kindness shown by our neighbours and the love of our friends and family.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-1997 Script

The YouTube Broadcast 1997

2000

Christmas is the traditional, if not the actual, birthday of a man who was destined to change the course of our history. And today we are celebrating the fact that Jesus Christ was born two thousand years ago; this is the true Millennium anniversary.

The simple facts of Jesus’ life give us little clue as to the influence he was to have on the world. As a boy he learnt his father’s trade as a carpenter. He then became a preacher, recruiting twelve supporters to help him.

But his ministry only lasted a few years and he himself never wrote anything down. In his early thirties he was arrested, tortured and crucified with two criminals. His death might have been the end of the story, but then came the resurrection and with it the foundation of the Christian faith.

Even in our very material age the impact of Christ’s life is all around us. If you want to see an expression of Christian faith you have only to look at our awe-inspiring cathedrals and abbeys, listen to their music, or look at their stained glass windows, their books and their pictures.

But the true measure of Christ’s influence is not only in the lives of the saints but also in the good works quietly done by millions of men and women day in and day out throughout the centuries.

Many will have been inspired by Jesus’ simple but powerful teaching: love God and love thy neighbour as thyself – in other words, treat others as you would like them to treat you. His great emphasis was to give spirituality a practical purpose.  …

To many of us our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.

I believe that the Christian message, in the words of a familiar blessing, remains profoundly important to us all:

“Go forth into the world in peace,
be of good courage,
hold fast that which is good,
render to no man evil for evil,
strengthen the faint-hearted,
support the weak,
help the afflicted,
honour all men.”

It is a simple message of compassion… and yet as powerful as ever today, two thousand years after Christ’s birth.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-2000 Script

2002

[Golden Jubilee – 50 years reign]

2002 web
Golden Jubilee commemorative stamps, 2002

Anniversaries are important events in all our lives. Christmas is the anniversary of the birth of Christ over two thousand years ago, but it is much more than that. It is the celebration of the birth of an idea and an ideal.  …

I know just how much I rely on my own faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning, I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.

Like others of you who draw inspiration from your own faith, I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-2002 Script

YouTube Broadcast 2002 includes celebration segments

2003

The Founder of the Christian Faith himself chose twelve disciples to help him in his ministry.

In this country and throughout the Commonwealth there are groups of people who are giving their time generously to make a difference to the lives of others.

As we think of them, and of our Servicemen and women far from home at this Christmas time, I hope we all, whatever our faith, can draw inspiration from the words of the familiar prayer:

“Teach us good Lord
To serve thee as thou deservest;
To give, and not to count the cost;
To fight, and not to heed the wounds;
To toil, and not to seek for rest;
To labour, and not to ask for any reward;
Save that of knowing that we do thy will.”

It is this knowledge which will help us all to enjoy the Festival of Christmas.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-2003 Script

2004

Religion and culture are much in the news these days, usually as sources of difference and conflict, rather than for bringing people together. But the irony is that every religion has something to say about tolerance and respecting others.

For me as a Christian one of the most important of these teachings is contained in the parable of the Good Samaritan, when Jesus answers the question “who is my neighbour?”

It is a timeless story of a victim of a mugging who was ignored by his own countrymen but helped by a foreigner – and a despised foreigner at that.

The implication drawn by Jesus is clear. Everyone is our neighbour, no matter what race, creed or colour. The need to look after a fellow human being is far more important than any cultural or religious differences.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-2004 Script

The YouTube Broadcast 2004 includes Surrounded by His Love sung by Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School Choir

2007

Now today, of course, marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Among other things, it is a reminder that it is the story of a family; but of a family in very distressed circumstances. Mary and Joseph found no room at the inn; they had to make do in a stable, and the new-born Jesus had to be laid in a manger. This was a family which had been shut out.

Perhaps it was because of this early experience that, throughout his ministry, Jesus of Nazareth reached out and made friends with people whom others ignored or despised. It was in this way that he proclaimed his belief that, in the end, we are all brothers and sisters in one human family.  …

It is all too easy to ‘turn a blind eye’, ‘to pass by on the other side’, and leave it to experts and professionals. All the great religious teachings of the world press home the message that everyone has a responsibility to care for the vulnerable.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-2007 Script

The YouTube Broadcast 2007 includes O Little Town of Bethlehem sung by children in the background

2011

Finding hope in adversity is one of the themes of Christmas. Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: ‘Fear not’, they urged, ‘we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.’

Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves – from our recklessness or our greed.

God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive. Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.

In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, there’s a prayer:
O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin
And enter in.
Be born in us today.

It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-2011 Script

The YouTube Broadcast 2011 includes O Little Town of Bethlehem played by the Royal Band

2012

2012 stamp3
Diamond Jubilee commemorative stamps, 2012

At Christmas I am always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story. A young mother and a dutiful father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar. They came with their gifts to worship the Christ child. From that day on he has inspired people to commit themselves to the best interests of others.

This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son ‘to serve, not to be served’. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ.

It is my prayer this Christmas Day that his example and teaching will continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others.

The carol, In The Bleak Midwinter, ends by asking a question of all of us who know the Christmas story, of how God gave himself to us in humble service: ‘What can I give him, poor as I am?  If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;  if I were a wise man, I would do my part’.  The carol gives the answer ‘Yet what I can I give him – give my heart’.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-2012 Script

The YouTube Broadcast 2012 includes In the Bleak Midwinter sung by the Military Wives Choir

 

2013

For Christians, as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation and prayer help us to renew ourselves in God’s love, as we strive daily to become better people. The Christmas message shows us that this love is for everyone. There is no one beyond its reach.

On the first Christmas, in the fields above Bethlehem, as they sat in the cold of night watching their resting sheep, the local shepherds must have had no shortage of time for reflection. Suddenly all this was to change. These humble shepherds were the first to hear and ponder the wondrous news of the birth of Christ – the first noel – the joy of which we celebrate today.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-2013 Script

The YouTube Broadcast 2013 includes The First Noel played by the Royal Band

2014

[Centenary of the start of World War I, 1914-1918]

2014 web
‘Reconciliation’ by Josefina de Vasconcellos at Coventry Cathedral

In the ruins of the old Coventry Cathedral is a sculpture of a man and a woman reaching out to embrace each other … inspired by the story of a woman who crossed Europe on foot after the war to find her husband.

In 1914, many people thought the war would be over by Christmas, but sadly by then the trenches were dug and the future shape of the war in Europe was set.

But, as we know, something remarkable did happen that Christmas, exactly a hundred years ago today.

Without any instruction or command, the shooting stopped and German and British soldiers met in No Man’s Land. Photographs were taken and gifts exchanged. It was a Christmas truce.  … 

For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life.

A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people, of whatever faith or none.

Sometimes it seems that reconciliation stands little chance in the face of war and discord. But, as the Christmas truce a century ago reminds us, peace and goodwill have lasting power in the hearts of men and women.

On that chilly Christmas Eve in 1914 many of the German forces sang Silent Night, its haunting melody inching across the line.

That carol is still much-loved today, a legacy of the Christmas truce, and a reminder to us all that even in the unlikeliest of places hope can still be found.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-2014 Script

The YouTube Broadcast 2014 includes Silent Night played by the Royal Band

2015

2015 web
Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning British monarch on 9 September, 2015

It is true that the world has had to confront moments of darkness this year, but the Gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”.

One cause for thankfulness this summer was marking 70 years since the end of the Second World War.  … 

At the end of that war, the people of Oslo began sending an annual gift of a Christmas tree for Trafalgar Square.

It has 500 light bulbs and is enjoyed not just by Christians but by people of all faiths, and of none. At the very top sits a bright star, to represent the Star of Bethlehem.

The custom of topping a tree also goes back to Prince Albert’s time. For his family’s tree, he chose an angel, helping to remind us that the focus of the Christmas story is on one particular family.

For Joseph and Mary, the circumstances of Jesus’s birth – in a stable – were far from ideal, but worse was to come as the family was forced to flee the country.

It’s no surprise that such a human story still captures our imagination and continues to inspire all of us who are Christians, the world over.

Despite being displaced and persecuted throughout his short life, Christ’s unchanging message was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another.

Although it is not an easy message to follow, we shouldn’t be discouraged; rather, it inspires us to try harder: to be thankful for the people who bring love and happiness into our own lives, and to look for ways of spreading that love to others, whenever and wherever we can.  

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-2015 – Script

The YouTube Broadcast 2015 includes Away in a Manger sung by the Children of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal

2016

At Christmas our attention is drawn to the birth of a baby some two thousand years ago. It was the humblest of beginnings, and his parents, Joseph and Mary, did not think they were important.

Jesus Christ lived obscurely for most of his life, and never travelled far. He was maligned and rejected by many, though he had done no wrong. And yet, billions of people now follow his teaching and find in him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them because Christ’s example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe.

The message of Christmas reminds us that inspiration is a gift to be given as well as received, and that love begins small but always grows.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas.

https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-2016 – Script

YouTube Broadcast 2016 includes Gloucestershire Wassail played by the Royal Guards Bands   

2017

Today, we celebrate Christmas, which, itself, is sometimes described as a festival of the home. Families travel long distances to be together.

Volunteers and charities, as well as many churches, arrange meals for the homeless and those who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day. We remember the birth of Jesus Christ, whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem. He knew rejection, hardship and persecution.

And, yet, it is Jesus Christ’s generous love and example which has inspired me through good times and bad. Whatever your own experience is this year, wherever and however you are watching, I wish you a peaceful and very happy Christmas.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/transcript-the-queens-s-christmas-message-for-2017 – Script

The YouTube Broadcast 2017 includes the National Anthem and  It Came upon the Midnight Clear performed by the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir

Addendum

Messiah  –  Selections

Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Friedrich Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer.

In Part I the text begins with prophecies by Isaiah and others, and moves to the annunciation to the shepherds, the only “scene” taken from the Gospels.
In Part II, Handel concentrates on the Passion and ends with the “Hallelujah” chorus.
In Part III he covers the resurrection of the dead and Christ’s glorification in heaven.
When King George II attended a royal performance of Messiah he stood up for the Hallelujah Chorus in honour of the King of kings. When the king stood everyone in his presence had to stand. So it became the tradition for the audience to stand up when the Hallelujah Chorus is sung, as millions of us have done in honour of the King of kings.

Chorus — Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)
Soprano Recitative — Luke 2:8-11, 13
There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Chorus — Luke 2:14
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will toward men.

Chorus — Revelation 19:6, 11:15, 19:16
Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
The Kingdom of this world is become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ;
and He shall reign for ever and ever.
King of kings, and Lord of lords.
Hallelujah!

Lyrics: Holy Bible, Authorised Version, 1611, arranged by Charles Jennens, 1741
Music: George Friedrich Handel, 1741

 

Resources

Queen's Speeches Web

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen’s Christmas Speeches (1952 – 2010).
The British Monarchy. Free Kindle Edition.
https://www.amazon.com/Queens-Christmas-Speeches-1952-2010-ebook/dp/B006O422UW

The Royal Family, The Christmas Broadcast
https://www.royal.uk/christmas-broadcast-2016 [annual broadcast scripts, 1952-2016]

 

Servant Queen Web

William Shawcross (2016). The Servant Queen and the King She Serves.
The Bible Society.  Published to celebrate The Queen’s 90th birthday.
https://www.amazon.com/Servant-Queen-King-she-serves/dp/0957559828

In the Foreword to this book Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wrote:

As I embark on my 91st year, I invite you to join me in reflecting on the words of a poem quoted by my father, King George VI, in his Christmas Day broadcast in 1939, the year that this country went to war for the second time in a quarter of a century.

I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied, “Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.”

 

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Discovering Aslan: High King above all Kings in Narnia


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Discovering ASLAN: High King above all Kings in Narnia
A devotional commentary on Jesus, The Lion of Judah
7 chapters – a chapter on each of the 7 Narnia books.

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The Lion of Judah
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Individual books on each story:
Discovering ASLAN in ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’
Discovering ASLAN in ‘Prince Caspian’
Discovering ASLAN in The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’
Discovering ASLAN in ‘The Silver Chair’
Discovering ASLAN in ‘The Horse and His Boy’
Discovering ASLAN in ‘The Magician’s Nephew’
Discovering ASLAN in ‘The Last Battle’
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a-aslan-cover-new-1Discovering ASLAN:

High King above all Kings in Narnia

A devotional commentary on The Chronicles of Narnia.

7 chapters – each chapter explores one of the 7 Narnia books.

Available now.

eBook immediately available

Endorsements – updated

All 6 versions on one Amazon page

The Divine Allegory in The Chronicles of Narnia:
A great video by Calvin George – key quotes
A great summary of insights discussed in Discovering ASLAN

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ASLAN Book Trailers

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Discovering ASLAN in ‘Prince Caspian’ – The Lion of Judah

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Discovering ASLAN in ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’

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Discovering ASLAN in ‘The Silver Chair’

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Discovering ASLAN in ‘The Horse and His Boy’

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Discovering ASLAN in ‘The Magician’s Nephew’

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Discovering ASLAN in ‘The Last Battle’

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The triumphant Lion of Judah features this way in these stories:

  • Creator and Sustainer in The Magician’s Nephew.
  • Saviour and Redeemer in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • The Way, the Truth and the Life in The Horse and His Boy.
  • Restorer and Commander in Prince Caspian.
  • Guide and Guardian in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
  • Revealer and Victor in The Silver Chair.
  • Judge and Conqueror in The Last Battle

C. S. Lewis wrote:

The whole Narnian story is about Christ.   … The whole series works out like this.
The Magician’s Nephew
tells the Creation and how evil entered Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Prince Caspian, restoration of the true religion after corruption.
The Horse and His Boy, the calling and conversion of a heathen.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the spiritual life (especially in Reepicheep).
The Silver Chair, the continuing war with the powers of darkness.
The Last Battle, the coming of the Antichrist (the Ape), the end of the world and the Last Judgment

Prologue

He is the High King above all kings, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

He is the son of the Great Emperor beyond the sea, beyond the world. He spoke and sang before the creation of the world and brought the world into being.

He commands legions of creatures and people in many worlds.  Some creatures loyal to him may seem strange to us, and many of them fly.  They worship him and serve him wholeheartedly.

His word is always true.  You can depend on him totally. He never lies.

He appears unexpectedly and makes things right.  He gave his life to conquer evil and ransom the guilty rebel.  He rose again by dawn and appeared first to loving, caring young women.

He has enemies in this world and in other worlds but he defeated them and they are doomed. They tremble at the sound of his name.

All who trust in him are forgiven and set free.  He breathes life into hearts of stone.  His breath gives life.

He reveals himself to all who choose to follow and obey him, and the more they know him the more they love him.  The more you know him the bigger he becomes to you. He loves with unending love.

He chose Peter to lead under his authority and to reign with his royal family.  They failed him at times, as we all do, but he always sets things right when anyone asks for his help, trusts him and follows him.

He has all authority in this world and in other worlds. Multitudes love and serve him now and forever. You can talk to him now and always. 

He is the subject of this book and many other books.  He calls you to respond to him, to believe in him, to love him and to live for him.

He is the Lion of Judah.

Illustrations

Photos include Dunluce Castle, the Lewis homes, Jerusalem, Mount of Olives & Emblem of Jerusalem

0-7-lion-of-judah-the_victory_roar_of_the_lion_of_judah
Artwork: The Lion of Judah series by Rebecca Brogan, Tasmania, Australia

Photos include Dunluce Castle, the Lewis homes, Jerusalem, Mount of Olives & Emblem of Jerusalem

BLOGS related to ASLAN & THE LION OF JUDAH
Click on an image to see the Blog
a-christian-passover  a-your-spiritual-gifts2  A Risen!  A 7 Lion

This one volume book is now available on Amazon and Kindle:
Discovering ASLAN: High King above all Kings in Narnia
7 chapters – one on each of the Narnia stories

Discovering Aslan

 

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Discovering Aslan: High King above all Kings in Narnia
Exploring the Story within the Stories

 Introduction

  1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe  – “Aslan is on the move”
  1. Prince Caspian  – “Every year you grow you will find me bigger”
  1. The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’  – “By knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there”
  1. The Silver Chair  – “Aslan’s instructions always work: there are no exceptions”
  1. The Horse and His Boy  – “High King above all kings in Narnia”
  1. The Magician’s Nephew  – “I give you yourselves … and I give you myself”
  1. The Last Battle  – “Further up and further in”

Conclusion

Endorsements

* A remarkable work – quite unique
This is a remarkable work and something quite unique that I’ve not come across before (and believe me I’ve seen most ideas). There is a huge appetite for devotional type books and I’m sure that this one will appeal to many people.  Russ Burg (USA)

* Most wonderful devotional from Narnia
One of the most interesting devotionals ever! As a huge fan of all things Narnia, I am so grateful for this deeper aspect of the truths in C.S. Lewis’ stories. Geoff Waugh did a great job in crafting such a book as this. What a wonderful addition to any collection, and an inspiration to know Jesus more deeply.  Belinda S. (Amazon Customer)

* Enhance your wonder and love of Christ
You can read the Narnia tales as just good stories, but CS Lewis wanted people to see more. This book will help you see the many links with Jesus, the Lion of Judah. Use this to enhance your wonder and love of Christ.  
Rev Dr John Olley (Perth, Australia)

* Best companion work I know of
Many people have fallen in love with the timeless classics of the Narnia series. Yet few stop to think how closely the story is a parallel universe to the real world in which we live. If you want a serious and detailed look at how this works in Lewis’s work then I cannot think of any other resource of this calibre. Either for a young person who is interested in exploring more, or as a resource on a pastor’s desk, it is an invaluable companion to the original series.  (Amazon Customer)

* An unusual and fascinating book
Geoff Waugh explores fascinating layers of meaning in C. S. Lewis’s children’s classic. Aslan, the triumphant lion, is revealed as a reflection of Jesus. The book includes devotional meditations using Bible references.   (Amazon Customer)

* Worth your time – rich teaching
Whether you are familiar with Narnia teachings, or this is new to you, Geoff Waugh faithfully puts together the many layers of meaning in the meanings of the Lion Aslan as portrayed in each of the books of the series. This is a great companion when you read, and is a stand-alone teaching on the depths of teaching that C.S. Lewis weaves into Aslan’s character. Definitely worth your time.   Steve Loopstra (USA)

 

 Links to Links

A 1 TitlesA 7 LionThe following comment about Discovering Aslan is included in

The Lion of Judah (1) The Titles of Jesus
and
The Lion of Judah (7) The Lion of Judah (compiled in one volume)

One of the most popular Lion stories is about Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.

The stories of Aslan illustrate in fairy tale the greater story of the Lion of the tribe of Judah hidden within the Narnia stories. Replying to a child’s inquiry about the lion’s name, Lewis wrote. “I found the name in the notes to Lane’s Arabian Nights: it is the Turkish for Lion. I pronounce it Ass-lan myself. And of course I meant the Lion of Judah.”[i] The Aslan passages echo and reflect the greatest story of all, the story of the Lion of Judah.

Aslan reminded the children that they would know him truly in their own world when they left Narnia: “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little you may know me better there.”[ii]

Lewis encouraged readers to make that discovery. He replied to Hila, an 11 year old girl who wrote a letter asking about Aslan’s other name: “As to Aslan’s other name, well I want you to guess. Has there ever been anyone in this world who (1) Arrived at the same time as Father Christmas. (2) Said he was the son of the Great Emperor. (3) Gave himself up for someone else’s fault to be jeered at and killed by wicked people. (4) Came to life again. (5) Is sometimes spoken of as a Lamb (see the end of the Dawn Treader). Don’t you really know His name in this world.”[iii]

Most children did. Many adults did not.

Nine-year-old Laurence worried that he loved Aslan more than Jesus. So his mother wrote to C. S. Lewis, care of the Publishing Company. She received his answer ten days later. Lewis explained, “Laurence can’t really love Aslan more than Jesus, even if he feels that’s what he is doing. For the things he loves Aslan for doing or saying are simply the things Jesus really did and said. So that when Laurence thinks he is loving Aslan, he is really loving Jesus: and perhaps loving Him more than he ever did before.”[iv]

Lewis, replying to a girl, Ruth, wrote, “If you continue to love Jesus, nothing much can go wrong with you, and I hope you may always do so. I’m thankful that you realized [the] “hidden story” in the Narnian books. It is odd, children nearly always do, grown-ups hardly ever.”[v]

The Chronicles of Narnia can help you know Aslan better in the world of Narnia and to know and love Jesus, the Lion of Judah, better also.

Jesus promised to be with us always. He is with us now, caring for us and helping us, even though we do not see him yet. One day we will see him and really know how great and good he is. Meanwhile we can talk to him in our mind and heart anytime and get to know him better from the Bible, especially through the Gospels. Why not talk to him right now?

One of his last promises is ‘Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20).

[i] C. S. Lewis: Letters to Children, edited by L W Dorsett and M L Mead, Touchstone, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995, p. 29.

[ii] The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Ch. 16.

[iii] Letters to Children, p. 32.

[iv] Letters to Children, pp. 52-53.

[v] Letters to Children, p. 111.

Back to The Lion of Judah (compiled in one volume)

Back to The Lion of Judah series

A 7 LionAppendix 1: Aslan – The Lion of Judah

Appendix 2: China Miracle

Appendix 3: Resources

Back to The Lion of Judah Series

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The Lion of Judah (4) The Death of Jesus

A 4 Death of Jesus

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The Lion of Judah  Book  4:  The Death of Jesus

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Selection from The Lion of Judah (4) The Death of Jesus:  The Tree

The Lion of Judah Series
1  The Titles of Jesus
2  The Reign of Jesus
3  The Life of Jesus
4  The Death of Jesus
5  The Resurrection of Jesus
6  The Spirit of Jesus
7  The Lion of Judah

Selection from (1) The Titles of Jesus: Aslan – The Lion of Judah
Selection from (2) The Reign of Jesus: Appendix – China Miracle
Selection from (3) The Life of Jesus: Prayer, Crowds and Healing
Selection from (4) The Death of Jesus:  The Tree
Selection from (5) The Resurrection of Jesus: Biblical accounts

Selection from (6) The Spirit of Jesus: Testimonies

Cover art by Rebecca Brogan – www.jtbarts.com

Emblem_of_Jerusalem.svg
Jerusalem Emblem: The Lion of Judah
The Hebrew word is Jerusalem

Contents of (4) the Death of Jesus

This book surveys the significance of the death of Jesus on the cross using key verses and passages and a harmony of the Gospels, including this chart summary:

Introduction
The Old Testament foretold Jesus’ death
Jesus foretold his death
Holy Week
The Resurrection and Ascension
Reflections on Jesus’ Death and Resurrection
New Testament
Other Sources
Conclusion

Holy Week

Holy week, from Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to his death and resurrection, is by far the greatest week in history.

Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, chose to be crucified in Jerusalem at the Passover festival. He became our Passover Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world.

The Old Testament points to Jesus, the Messiah, God’s Anointed One. The New Testament tells his story and calls us to respond in faith to his gift of salvation and eternal life.

Key Passages

Holy Week: the last week of the earthly life of Jesus may be summarized this way as a general guide. The different Gospels record different events, each one telling the Gospel, the good news, in their own way. So this arrangement is just an estimate of the sequence of the momentous developments in Holy Week.

This summary follows the outline in Mark’s Gospel:
Selections from The Lion of Judah (4) The Death of Jesus

Palm Sunday – Day of Demonstration
Mark 11:1-11 (Zech 9:9) – Jesus enters Jerusalem

Monday – Day of Authority
Mark 11:12-19 – fig tree, temple cleansed

Tuesday – Day of Conflict
Mark 11:20 – 13:36 – debates with leaders

Wednesday – Day of Preparation
Mark 14:1-11 – anointed at Bethany

Thursday – Day of Farewell
Mark 14:12-42 – last supper

Good Friday – Day of Crucifixion
Mark 14:43 – 15:47 – trials and death

Saturday – Day of Sabbath
Mark 15:46-47 – tomb sealed

Easter Sunday – Day of Resurrection
Mark 16:1-18 – resurrection appearances

The following selections give highlights of key events that week.

These passages remind us of events from the most momentous week in all history, and indeed in all eternity. The Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, took our sin upon himself, died in our place, and conquered death. He alone is the Saviour of the World. All who believe in him, all who trust him, will not die but live for ever with him.

Holy Week: Confrontation

Description Location Scripture
The supper in Simon’s house Bethany Mt 26:6-13 Mk 14:3-9 Jn 12:1-9
Mary anoints Jesus Bethany Mt 26:7-13 Mk 14:3-8 Jn 12:3-8
Triumphal entry into the city Jerusalem Mt 21:1-11, Mk 11:1-10, Lk 19:29-44 Jn 12:12-19
Survey of the Temple Jerusalem Mk 11:11
Retirement to Bethany Bethany Mk 11:11
Withering of the barren fig-tree Olivet Mt 21:18-19, Mk 11:12-14
Second cleansing of the Temple Jerusalem Mt 21:12-17 Mk 11:15-19, Lk 19:45-48
Retirement to Bethany Bethany Mt 21:17, Mk 11:19
The lesson of the fig-tree Olivet Mt 21:20-22, Mk 11:20-25
Discourses in the Temple: Jerusalem Mk 11:26
The rulers’ question Jerusalem Mt 21:23-27, Mk 11:27-33, Lk 20:1-8
The parable of the two sons Jerusalem Mt 21:28-32
Parable of the wicked husbandmen Jerusalem Mt 21:33-46, Mk 12:1-12, Lk 20:9-19
Parable of the wedding garment Jerusalem Mt 22:1-14
The subtle questions:-
1) of the Pharisees – the tribute money Jerusalem Mt 22:15-22, Mk 12:13-17, Lk 20:20-26
2) of the Sadducees – the resurrection Jerusalem Mt 22:23-33, Mk 12:18-27, Lk 20:27-39
3) of the Lawyer – the great commandment Jerusalem Mt 22:34-40, Mk 12:28-34
Our Lord’s counter question Jerusalem Mt 22:41-46 Mk 12:35-37, Lk 20:41-44
Scribes and Pharisees denounced Jerusalem Mt 23:13-33
The widow’s mite Jerusalem Mk 12:41-44, Lk 21:1-4
The coming of the Greeks Jerusalem Jn 12:20-36
The departure to the Mt of Olives Olivet Mt 24:1-3, Mk 13:1-3
Prediction 1: the destruction of Jerusalem Olivet Mt 24:3-28, Mk 13:3-23, Lk 21:5-24
Parable of fig-tree and all the trees Olivet Mt 24:32,33, Mk 13:28,29, Lk 21:29-32
Prediction 2: of the second coming Olivet Mt 24:28-51, Mk 13:23-37, Lk 21:24-36
Parable of the householder Olivet Mk 13:34
Parables:- The ten virgins Olivet Mt 25:1-13
Parables:- The talents Olivet Mt 25:14-30
Parables:- The sheep and the goats Olivet Mt 25:31-46
The Sanhedrin in council Jerusalem Mt 26:3-5, Mk 14:1-2, Lk 22:1-2
Compact of the traitor Jerusalem Mt 26:14-16, Mk 14:10,11, Lk 22:3-6


The Last Supper

Preparation of the Passover Jerusalem Mt 26:17-19, Mk 14:12-16, Lk 22:7-13
Washing the apostles’ feet Jerusalem Jn 13:1-17
The breaking of bread Jerusalem Mt 26:26, Mk 14:22, Lk 22:19
‘One of you shall betray me’ Jerusalem Mt 26:21, Mk 14:18, Lk 22:21, Jn 13:21
‘Is it I ?’ Jerusalem Mt 26:22-25, Mk 14:19
Giving of the dipped bread Jerusalem Jn 13:26,27
Departure of Judas Iscariot Jerusalem Jn 13:30
Peter warned Jerusalem Mt 26:34, Mk 14:30, Lk 22:34, Jn 13:38
Blessing the cup Jerusalem Mt 26:27-28 Mk 14:23-24 Lk 22:17
The discourses after supper Jerusalem Jn 14:1-16:33
Christ’s prayer for his apostles Jerusalem Jn 17:1-17:26
The hymn Jerusalem Mt 26:30, Mk 14:26


Gethsemane and Trials

The agony Gethsemane Mt 26:37, Mk 14:33, Lk 22:39, Jn 18:1
The thrice-repeated prayer Gethsemane Mt 26:39-44, Mk 14:36-39, Lk 22:42
Sweat and angel support Gethsemane Lk 22:43-44
The sleep of the apostles Gethsemane Mt 26:40-45, Mk 14:37-41, Lk 22:45-46
Betrayal by Judas Gethsemane Mt 26:47-50, Mk 14:34,44, Lk 22:47, Jn 18:2-5
Peter smites Malchus Gethsemane Mt 26:51, Mk 14:47, Lk 22:50, Jn 18:10
Jesus heals the ear of Malchus Gethsemane Lk 22:51
Jesus forsaken by disciples Gethsemane Mt 26:56, Mk 14:50
Jesus led to Annas Jerusalem Jn 18:12-13
Jesus tried by Caiaphas Jerusalem Mt 26:57, Mk 14:53, Lk 22:54, Jn 18:15
Peter follows Jesus Jerusalem Mt 26:58, Mk 14:54, Lk 22:55, Jn 18:15
The high priest’s adjuration Jerusalem Mt 26:63, Mk 14:61
Jesus condemned, buffeted, mocked Jerusalem Mt 26:66,67, Mk 14:64-65, Lk 22:63-65
Peter’s denial of Christ Jerusalem Mt 26:69-75, Mk 14:66-72, Lk 22:54-62, Jn 18:17-27
Jesus before Pilate Jerusalem Mt 27:1-2, Mk 15:1, Lk 23:1 Jn 18:28
Repentance of Judas Jerusalem Mt 27:3
Pilate comes out to the people Jerusalem Jn 18:29
Pilate speaks to Jesus privately Jerusalem Jn 18:33
Pilate orders him to be scourged Jerusalem Mt 27:26 Mk 15:15 Jn 19:1
Jesus crowned with thorns Jerusalem Mt 27:29 Mk 15:17 Jn 19:2
‘Behold the man’ Jerusalem Jn 19:5
Jesus accused formally Jerusalem Mt 27:11 Mk 15:2 Lk 23:2
Jesus sent by Pilate to Herod Jerusalem Lk 23:6-11
Jesus mocked, arrayed in purple Jerusalem Lk 23:6-11
‘Behold your King’ Jerusalem Jn 19:14
Pilate desires to release him Jerusalem Mt 27:15, Mk 15:6, Lk 23:17, Jn 19:12
Pilate’s wife message Jerusalem Mt 27:19
Pilate washes his hands Jerusalem Mt 27:24
Pilate releases Barabbas Jerusalem Mt 27:26
Pilate delivers Jesus to be crucified Jerusalem Mt 27:26, Mk 15:15, Lk 23:25 Jn 19:16


Crucifixion

Simon of Cyrene carries the cross Jerusalem Mt 27:32, Mk 15:21, Lk 23:26
They give Jesus vinegar and gall Golgotha Mt 27:34, Mk 15:23, Lk 23:36
They nail him to the cross Golgotha Mt 27:35, Mk 15:24-25, Lk 23:33, Jn 19:18
The superscription Golgotha Mt 27:37, Mk 15:26, Lk 23:38, Jn 19:19
1) Father, forgive them Golgotha Lk 23:34
His garments parted, and vesture allotted Golgotha Mt 27:35, Mk 15:24, Lk 23:34, Jn 19:23
Passers-by rail, the two thieves revile Golgotha Mt 27:39-44, Mk 15:29-32, Lk 23:35
The penitent thief Golgotha Lk 23:40
2) Today you will be with me … Golgotha Lk 23:43
3) Woman, behold your son. … Golgotha Jn 19:26,27
Darkness over all the land Golgotha Mt 27:45, Mk 15:33, Lk 23:44,45
4) My God, my God, why … ? Golgotha Mt 27:46, Mk 15:34
5) I thirst Golgotha Jn 19:28
The vinegar Golgatha Mt 27:48, Mk 15:36, Jn 19:29
6) It is finished Golgotha Jn 19:30
7) Father, into your hands … Golgotha Lk 23:46
Rending of the veil Jerusalem Mt 27:51, Mk 15:38, Lk 23:45
Graves opened, saints resurrected Jerusalem Mt 27:52
Testimony of Centurion Golgotha Mt 27:54, Mk 15:39, Lk 23:47
Watching of the women Golgotha Mt 27:55, Mk 15:40, Lk 23:49
The piercing of his side Golgotha Jn 19:34
Taking down from the cross The Garden Mt 27:57-60, Mk 15:46, Lk 23:53, Jn 19:38-42
Burial by Joseph of Arimethea, Nicodemus The Garden Mt 27:57-60, Mk 15:46, Lk 23:53, Jn 19:38-42
A guard placed over the sealed stone

Back to The Lion of Judah

Garden Mt 27:65-66

 

 

Spirit Impacts in Revivals, by Geoff Waugh

 

Dr Geoff Waugh, founding editor of the Renewal Journal, wrote Flashpoints of Revival (2nd edition 2009) and Revival Fires (2011) which give fuller details of these impacts of the Holy Spirit in revivals.

The charismatic impacts of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament have been repeated continually in evangelical revivals.  Specific examples of Spirit impacts in revival frequently occurred in the Great Awakening and evangelical revivals of the eighteenth century as in the ministries of Zinzendorf, Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards.  and Brainerd; in revival movements of the nineteenth century including those associated with Finney and Moody; and in revival and charismatic movements of the twentieth century.  Many historians have either overlooked or minimized these charismatic impacts of the Holy Spirit in revival.

The charismatic movement now involving over 600 million people has grown from its description by Princeton’s Henry Van Dusen in 1955 as ‘the third major force in Christendom’ to a major tradition alongside and as part of the Catholic/Orthodox and Protestant traditions. This article concludes that revival offers a paradigm in which differing denominational perspectives on charismatic Spirit movements may find common ground in evangelism, equipping of Christians for ministry, and in social reform.

Baptised in the Spirit

Jesus’ final instruction and promise concerned being baptised in the Spirit and receiving power (dunamis) to be his witnesses (Acts 1:4-8).

Does the charismatic impact of Pentecost recur?  This paper affirms both the relevance and importance of specific charismatic impacts of the Holy Spirit, demonstrated biblically and historically as in evangelical revivals. It also affirms the significance of Jesus’ instruction in the ‘great commission’ that his followers throughout history ‘to the end of the age’ would obey everything he taught his first disciples including charismatic ministry such as healing, deliverance and miracles.  That position disagrees with Benjamin Warfield’s “cessationist” theory (1918), popularised by notes in the Schofield Bible.

Baptism in the Spirit and charisma (gracious gift/endowment) in the New Testament find expression in the charismata described by Luke (Luke/Acts) as anointing with spiritual power (Luke 3:16-22; 4:1.  14-19; Acts 1:1-8), and by Paul as empowering for ‘body ministry’ with a diversity of spiritual gifts in the unity of the body of Christ (Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:1-16).

Different Christian traditions emphasize different dimensions of being baptised in the Spirit.  Rather than regarding these perspectives or emphases as mutually exclusive, they can be regarded more comprehensively as inter-related and integrated.  The evangelical emphasis on conversion (Dunn 1970), the Episcopal/Catholic emphasis on initiation (Green 1985.  McDonnell & Montague 1991), the Reformed emphasis on covenant (Williams 1992), and the Pentecostal emphasis on empowering (Prince 1995) can be integrated within a dynamic paradigm of Spirit baptism.  These perspectives are essential, inter-related facets of being immersed in God.

So charisma here refers to the multi-faceted impact of God’s gracious endowment in the personal and communal life of believers, especially as empowering for mission (Acts 1:8).  God’s grace imparts abundant life (John 10:10).  Believers are incorporated into the Spirit-empowered community in which God is faithful to every promise of the new covenant.

Just as conversion is appropriated by repentance and faith, so are Spirit-empowering and Spirit-gifting. Conversion, anointing.  Empowering, and ministering in spiritual gifting may be appropriated over time, slowly, rapidly.  or instantaneously.  Complex variables affect that appropriation, including faith, knowledge, personality, tradition, environment (supportive or hostile), boldness, and God’s sovereignty.

Biblical witness

Biblical terms describing charismatic impacts of the Spirit vary greatly. They include:

the Spirit was given — Numbers ll:17; John 7:39;

the Spirit came upon — Judges 3:10; Acts 19:5;

the Spirit took control — Judges 6:34; 1 Samuel 11:6; 16:13;

the Spirit poured out — Joel 2:28-28; Acts 10:45;

the Spirit came down — Matthew 3:16; Luke 3:22; John 1:33;

the Spirit fell (or came down)– Acts 10:44; 11:15;

the Spirit received — Acts 8:15-17; 19:2;

baptised in or with the Spirit — Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5;

filled with the Spirit — Acts 2:4; 9:17; Ephesians 5:18.

The specific nature of these charismatic impacts is significant, as is the varied nature of subsequent ministries resulting from these impacts.

Jesus experienced the impact of the Spirit at his baptism, which he explained in terms of anointing with power for his ministry (Luke 4:18-19).  The followers of Jesus were baptised in the Spirit at Pentecost with immediate empowering for ministry (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4).  producing explosive church growth.  Converts from Philip’s evangelism in Samaria ‘received’ the Spirit when Peter and John laid hands on them and prayed for them (Acts 8:17).  Saul of Tarsus was filled with the Spirit and healed three days after his Damascus road experience when Ananias laid hands on him and prayed for him (Acts 9:17-18), an encounter which included prayer, fasting, visions, prophecy and healing.  The Gentiles in Cornelius’ home in Caesarea ‘received’ the Holy Spirit while Peter preached to them (Acts 11:44-47), with radical cross-cultural implications for mission.  The Holy Spirit impacted believers in Ephesus when Paul laid hands on them and prayed for them (Acts 19:6).

These charismatic impacts of the Spirit empowered people for ministry.  That ministry involved a wide range of charismata including anointed preaching and prophecy, healings and miracles, tongues and trouble.

Historical witness

Significant charismatic impacts of the Spirit of God have continued through history.  These may have been overlooked or minimised for reasons such as these:

  • Many historians wrote from the perspective of the established government or church, which often opposed and suppressed charismatic movements.
  • Strong impacts of the Spirit constantly initiate new movements which threaten the established order, so these movements were opposed and their writings destroyed.
  • Charismatic movements may be regarded as heretical, and their leaders killed, as with Jesus, the early church, and throughout history.
  • Accounts of charismatic impacts of the Spirit have been systematically destroyed, often burned as heretical.
  • Excessive enthusiasm and fanaticism in charismatic movements may bring those movements into disrepute.
  • Leaders and adherents of charismatic movements have often been occupied with more pressing priorities than writing history.  such as ensuring their own survival.

However, where such records have survived, mostly after the invention of the printing press, the charismatic impacts of God’s Spirit consistently reveal similar patterns to the biblical witness.  Evangelical revivals provide evidence of these charismatic encounters.  I give a brief selection here including first person accounts.  They indicate the charismatic nature of impacts of the Spirit of God which became the empowering force in revival.


Wednesday.  13 August.  1727 – Herrnhut.  Saxony

The Spirit of God fell on 300 refugees in Germany in 1727, mostly Moravian exiles given asylum on the estates of Nicholaus von Zinzendorf.  One of them wrote that “the thirteenth of August, 1727, was a day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  We saw the hand of God and his wonders, and we were all under the cloud of our fathers baptized with their Spirit.  The Holy Ghost came upon us and in those days great signs and wonders took place in our midst.  From that time scarcely a day passed but what we beheld his almighty workings amongst us” (Greenfield 1927:14).

Within 25 years they sent out 100 missionaries, then by 1782 they had 175 missionaries in 27 places, and in their fist 100 years of missions sent out over 1,199 people, including 459 women, all supported by round-the-clock ‘hourly intercessions’.  Both John and Charles Wesley were converted through their witness. Their English missionary magazine, Periodical Accounts, inspired William Carey. ,He threw a copy of the paper on a table at a Baptist meeting.  Saying, “See what the Moravians have done! Cannot we follow their example and in obedience to our Heavenly Master go out into the world, and preach the Gospel to the heathen?” (Greenfield 1927:19).

January.  1735 – New England.  America

Jonathan Edwards reported on a revival movement which developed into the Great Awakening as it spread through the communities of New England and the pioneering settlements in America.  Converts to Christianity reached 50,000 out of a total of 250,000 colonists.  Early in January, 1735 an unusually powerful move of God’s Spirit brought revival to Northampton, which then spread through New England in the north east of America.

And the work of conversion was carried on in a most astonishing manner, and increased more and more. Souls did, as it were, come by flocks to Jesus Christ. … Those amongst us that had formerly been converted, were greatly enlivened and renewed with fresh and extraordinary incomes of the Spirit of God; though some much more than others.  according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Stacy 1842.  1989:12-13).

Monday.  1 January.  1739 – London

1739 saw astonishing expansion of revival in England.  During the evening of 1st January the Wesleys and George Whitefield with 60 others.  met in London for prayer and a love feast.  The Spirit of God moved powerfully on them all.  John Wesley described it:

About three in the morning.  as we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground.  As soon as we were recovered a little from that awe and amazement at the presence of his majesty, we broke out with one voice, “We praise Thee.  O God.  we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord” (Idle 1986:55).

This London Pentecost contributed powerfully to revival, which spread rapidly.  In February 1739 Whitefield started preaching to the Kingswood coal miners in the open fields near Bristol because many churches opposed him.  accusing him and other evangelicals of ‘enthusiasm’.   In February about 200 attended.  By March 20,000 attended.  Whitefield invited Wesley to take over then and so in April Wesley reluctantly began his famous open air preaching.  which continued for 50 years.

Thursday 8 August, 1745 – Crossweeksung.  America

David Brainerd, missionary to the North American Indians from 1743 to his death at 29 in 1747, tells of revival breaking out among Indians at Crossweeksung in August 1745. Concerning 8 August, 1745, he wrote, “The power of God seemed to descend on the assembly ‘like a rushing mighty wind’ and with an astonishing energy bore all down before it.  I stood amazed at the influence that seized the audience almost universally and could compare it to nothing more aptly than the irresistible force of a mighty torrent …  Almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together and scarce was able to withstand the shock of astonishing operation” (Howard 1949:216-217).

The ‘Great Awakening’ which had begun a decade previously now impacted Indian settlements with charismatic outpourings of the Holy Spirit, producing both conversions and significant social improvement.

 

Sunday 25 December, 1781 – Cornwall.  England

Forty years after the eighteenth century evangelical revivals began, the fires of revival had died out in many places.  Concerned leaders called the church to pray.  Those prayer meetings included outpourings of the Spirit in revival.  On Christmas day 1781, at St. Just Church in Cornwall, at 3.00 a.m. intercessors met to sing and pray.  The Spirit was poured out on them and they prayed through until 9.00 a.m. and regathered that Christmas evening. Throughout January and February the movement continued.  By March 1782 they were praying until midnight as the Holy Spirit moved on them.  The chapel which George Whitefield had built decades previously in Tottenham Court Road, London, had to be enlarged to seat 5,000 people, the largest church building in the world at that time.  Baptist churches in North Hampton, Leicester, and the Midlands, set aside regular nights devoted to prayer for revival.  Methodists and Anglicans joined them.  and revival spread.

June-July, 1800 – Kentucky.  America

Presbyterian James McGready organised camp meetings in Kentucky, an area nicknamed Rogues Harbour populated with fugitives from justice including murderers, horse thieves, highway robbers, and counterfeiters.  On the last day of the first camp meeting, held in June with around 450 people, ‘a mighty effusion of [God’s] Spirit’ came upon the people, ‘and the floor was soon covered with the slain; their screams for mercy pierced the heavens.’  At the next camp meeting held in late July 1800 an enormous crowd of 8,000 attended, many from up to 100 miles away.  McGready recalled:

“The power of God seemed to shake the whole assembly.  Toward the close of the sermon, the cries of the distressed arose almost as loud as his voice.  After the congregation was dismissed the solemnity increased, till the greater part of the multitude seemed engaged in the most solemn manner.  No person seemed to wish to go home – hunger and sleep seemed to affect nobody – eternal things were the vast concern.  Here awakening and converting work was to be found in every part of the multitude; and even some things strangely and wonderfully new to me” (Christian History.  No. 23.  p 25).

 

August, 1801 – Cane Ridge.  America (Barton Stone)

Presbyterian minister Barton Stone organised similar meetings in 1801 in his area at Cane Ridge, Kentucky.  A huge crowd of around 12,500 attended in over 125 wagons.  At that time Lexington, the largest town in Kentucky, had less than 1,800 citizens.  Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist preachers and circuit riders formed preaching teams, speaking simultaneously in different parts of the camp grounds, all aiming for conversions.  Methodist James Finley, wrote:

The noise was like the roar of Niagara.  The vast sea of human being seemed to be agitated as if by a storm. …  At one time I saw at least five hundred swept down in a moment as if a battery of a thousand guns had been opened upon them, and then immediately followed shrieks and shouts that rent the very heavens (Pratney 1994:104).

The Rev. Moses Hoge described it:

“The careless fall down, cry out, tremble, and not infrequently are affected with convulsive twitchings … Nothing that imagination can paint.  can make a stronger impression upon the mind.  than one of those scenes.  Sinners dropping down on every hand, shrieking, groaning, crying for mercy, convulsed; professors praying, agonizing, fainting, falling down in distress for sinners or in raptures of joy! … As to the work in general there can be no question but it is of God.  The subjects of it, for the most part are deeply wounded for their sins, and can give a clear and rational account of their conversion” (Christian History.  No. 23.  p. 26).

These frontier revivals became a new emphasis in American revivalism.  They included the ‘saw dust trail’ laid down to settle the dust or soak up wet ground over which penitents moved to the ‘altar’ at the front.  Revival early in the nineteenth century not only impacted the American frontier, but also towns and especially colleges.  One widespread result in America, as in England, was the formation of missionary societies to train and direct the large numbers of converts filled with missionary zeal.

Wednesday, 10 October, 1821 – Adams.  America

Charles Finney had a mighty empowering by God’s Spirit on the night of his conversion on Wednesday 10 October 1821.  Convicted by the Spirit that morning, he surrendered to God in the woods.  That night he was filled with the Spirit:

I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any memory of ever hearing the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul.  I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me.  Indeed it seemed to come in waves of liquid love, for I could not express it in any other way.  It seemed like the very breath of God.  I can remember distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.

No words can express the wonderful love that was spread abroad in my heart.  I wept aloud with joy and love.  I literally bellowed out the unspeakable overflow of my heart.  These waves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after another, until I remember crying out, “I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.” I said,  “Lord, I cannot bear any more,” yet I had no fear of death (Wessel 1977:20-22).

Finney continued for the rest of his life in evangelism and revival.  He founded and taught theology at Oberlin College which pioneered co-education and enrolled both blacks and whites.  His Lectures on Revival were widely read and helped to fan revival in America and England.

Sunday, 22 May, 1859 – Natal.  South Africa

Revival began among the Zulu and Bantu tribes in South Africa before it spilled over into the Dutch Reformed Church.  Tribal people gathered in large numbers on the frontier mission stations and then took revival, African style, into their villages.  On Sunday night, 22 May, the Spirit of God fell on a service of the Zulus in Natal so powerfully that they prayed all night.  News spread rapidly.  This revival among the Zulus of Natal on the east coast ignited missions and tribal churches.  It produced deep conviction of sin, immediate repentance and conversions, extraordinary praying and vigorous evangelism.

In April 1860 at a combined missions conference of over 370 leaders of Dutch Reformed, Methodist and Presbyterian leaders meeting at Worcester, South Africa, they discussed revival.  Andrew Murray Sr., moved to tears, had to stop speaking.  His son, Andrew Murray Jr., now well known through his books, led in prayer so powerfully that many saw that as the beginning of revival in those churches.

October, 1871 – New York

D. L. Moody, converted in 1855, led powerful evangelistic campaigns in America and England.  While visiting New York in 1871 to raise funds for churches and orphanages destroyed in the Chicago fire of October that year, in which his home,  church sanctuary and the YMCA buildings were destroyed, he had a deep encounter with God.  He wrote,

“I was crying all the time God would fill me with his Spirit.  Well, one day in the city of New York – oh, what a day! – I cannot describe it.  I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name.  Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years.  I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask him to stay his hand.  I went to preaching again.  The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths; and yet hundreds were converted.  I would not be placed back where I was before that blessed experience for all the world – it would be as the small dust of the balance” (Moody 1900:149).

Monday, 31 October, 1904 – Loughor, Wales

Evan Roberts, a student at the Methodist Academy in Wales, experienced a deep work of the Spirit at meetings on Thursday 29 September, 1904, after Presbyterian evangelist Seth Joshua closed the 7 a.m. meeting crying out in Welsh.  ‘Lord … bend us.’  Roberts agonised in prayer that day.  He wrote.  “It was the Spirit that put the emphasis for me on ‘Bend us.’  ‘That is what you need’ said the Spirit to me. And as I went out I prayed.  O Lord, bend me” (Evans 1969:70).

Impelled by the Spirit he returned home from college on a week’s leave and spoke nightly from 31 October to increasing crowds as the Spirit moved powerfully on them.  From the following week he led teams by invitation across south Wales, sparking the Welsh Revival which reported 70,000 conversions in three months and 100,000 within a year.  Crime rates and abortions dropped.  Many taverns went bankrupt.  Some judges had no cases to try, and police had so little to do in many towns at the height of the revival that they attended the meetings while still on duty.

Friday, 30 June, 1905 – Mukti.  India

Pandita Ramabai established a compound for widows and orphan girls during severe famine in her area near Pune (Poona) just south of Bombay,  and called it Mukti (Salvation).  By 1901 she had 2,000 girls and women and from January 1905 she began teaching about the need for revival.  Soon over 500 people met twice daily to pray for revival, mostly women and girls.  Thirty of her ladies ministered in teams in the villages.  They met daily to pray for the endowment of the Holy Spirit.  On Thursday 29 June the Spirit moved strongly on many of the girls.  On Friday, 30 June, while Ramabai taught from John 8, the Holy Spirit fell on them all suddenly with great power.  Everyone there began to weep and pray aloud, crying out to be baptised with the Holy Spirit and fire.  Revival spread through their mission, and into many surrounding areas.  Regular school activities gave way to confession, repentance, and great joy with much praise and dancing.  Many spoke in tongues (including English!), and were filled with zeal for evangelism and social care.

Saturday, 14 April, 1906 – Azusa Street.  Los Angeles

Charles Paraham conducted a Bible College at Topeka, Kansas where on 1 January 1901 Agnes Ozman spoke in tongues when Parham laid hands on her and prayed for her to be baptized in the Spirit.  That month Parham and half of the 34 students also spoke in tongues.  Those events have been seen as the beginning of Pentecostalism in America.

William Seymour, a Negro Holiness pastor, attended Parham’s short term Bible School in Houston, Texas early in 1906,  then by April was the leader of The Apostolic Faith Mission at Azusa Street, Los Angeles.  Meetings began there on Easter Saturday, 14 April 1906.  About 100 attended including blacks and whites.  The Spirit of God moved powerfully on that little mission.   Many were baptized in the Spirit with speaking in tongues, prophecies, and healings.  Its centrifugal influence ignited Pentecostal mission across America and overseas.

Sunday, 4 July, 1909 – Valparaiso.  Chile

Minnie Abrams, who worked at Mukti in India during the 1905 revival there, sent an account of it in 1907 to Willis Hoover, Methodist missionary in Chile.  Those Methodists began praying for revival which burst on them on Sunday 4 July, resulting in their church growing from 300 to 1,000 in two months.  Willis Hoover wrote:

Saturday night was an all night of prayer.  during which four vain young ladies (three of them were in the choir) fell to the floor under the power of the Spirit. … From that time on the atmosphere seemed charged by the Holy Spirit, and people fell on the floor, or broke out in other tongues, or singing in the Spirit,  in a way impossible in their natural condition (Frodsham 1946:177-178).

1914 – Belgian Congo.  Africa

Africa has seen many powerful revivals such as the Belgian Congo outpouring with C. T. Studd in 1914. “The whole place was charged as if with an electric current.  Men were falling, jumping, laughing, crying, singing, confessing and some shaking terribly,” he reported. “As I led in prayer the Spirit came down in mighty power sweeping the congregation.  My whole body trembled with the power.  We saw a marvellous sight, people literally filled and drunk with the Spirit” (W.E.C. 1954:12-15).

Monday, 7 March, 1921 – Lowestoft.  England

Douglas Brown, a Baptist minister in South London, saw conversions in his church every Sunday for 15 years to 1921.  He felt the Lord convict him about leaving his pastorate for evangelistic mission work.  Although reluctant.  he finally surrendered.  “Then something happened,” he wrote.  “I found myself in the loving embrace of Christ for ever and ever; and all power and joy and blessedness rolled in like a deluge” (Griffin 1992:17-18).  After that 2 a.m. encounter, he embarked on itinerant missions commencing on 7 March in Lowestroft, East Anglia, with immediate responses in large numbers.  Within eighteen months he addressed over 1700 meetings, and saw revival in his evangelistic ministry in England.

1949 – Hebrides Islands, Scotland

Following the trauma of World War II, spiritual life reached a low ebb in the Scottish Hebrides.  Church leaders prayed for revival.  They invited evangelist Duncan Campbell to lead meetings.  At the close of his first meeting in the Presbyterian church in Barvas the travel weary preacher was invited to join an all night prayer meeting!  Thirty people gathered for prayer in a nearby cottage.  Duncan Campbell described it:

“God was beginning to move, the heavens were opening, we were there on our faces before God.  Three o’clock in the morning came, and God swept in.  About a dozen men and women lay prostrate on the floor, speechless.  Something had happened; we knew that the forces of darkness were going to be driven back, and men were going to be delivered. We left the cottage at 3 a.m. to discover men and women seeking God.  I walked along a country road, and found three men on their faces, crying to God for mercy.  There was a light in every home,  no one seemed to think of sleep” (Whittaker 1984:159).

His mission continued for five weeks.  Services lasted from early morning until late at night and into the early hours of the morning.  The revival spread to the neighbouring parishes from Barvas with similar scenes of repentance.  prayer and preaching.  People sensed the awesome presence of God everywhere.

Sunday, 26 September, 1965 – Soe.  Timor

Revival burst into unprecedented power in Timor in 1965.  This revival spread in the uncertain days following the attempted army coup on 30 September, 1965 in Indonesia.  Four days previously a visitation from God had begun in Soe, a mountain town of about 5,000 people in Timor in the Reformed Church on Sunday 26 September.  That night, as at Pentecost, people heard the sound of a tornado wind, and flames on the church building prompted police to set off the fire alarm to summon volunteer fire fighters, but the church was not burning.  Many were converted that night, many filled with the Spirit including speaking in tongues, some using English who did not know English.  By midnight teams of lay people had been organised to begin spreading the gospel the next day.  Eventually.  about 90 evangelistic teams were formed which functioned powerfully with spiritual gifts.

The Reformed Church Presbytery on Timor recorded 80,000 conversions from the first year of the revival there, half of those being former communists.  They verified that 15,000 people were permanently healed in that year (Koch 1970).

Tuesday, 3 February, 1970 – Asbury College.  Wilmore, Kentucky

A revival broke out in Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, on Tuesday 3 February, 1970.  God’s Spirit moved on the regular morning chapel commencing at 10 o’clock. Students came weeping to the front to kneel in repentance.  Others gave testimonies including confession of sin.  They prayed and worshipped spontaneously.  The staff cancelled lectures for the day as the auditorium filled with over 1,000 people.  Few left for meals.  By midnight over 500 still remained praying and worshipping.  Several hundred committed their lives to Christ that day.  By 6 a.m. next morning 75 students were still praying in the hall, and through the Wednesday it filled again as lectures were again cancelled for the day.  The time was filled with praying, singing, confessions and testimonies.  Almost half the student body of 1000 formed teams witnessing about the revival.  In the first week after the revival began teams of students visited 16 states by invitation and saw several thousand conversions through their witnessing (Coleman 1970).

Sunday, 23 August, 1970 – Solomon Islands

Muri Thompson, a Maori evangelist from New Zealand, visited the Solomon Islands in July and August 1970 where the church had already experienced significant renewal and was praying for revival.  During the last two weeks of those meetings the Holy Spirit moved even more powerfully in the meetings.  On Sunday morning 23 August on the island of Malaita Muri preached powerfully, then he said, ‘If anyone wants to come forward …’ and immediately the whole congregation of 600 surged forward in repentance.  Many saw visions of God, of Jesus on the cross or on his throne, of angels, or of bright light.  Some spoke in tongues.  Some were healed.  Most came into a new experience of God with a deep awareness of the need for humility and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

The following Thursday, 27 August, at another village on Malaita when the 2,000 people bowed in prayer, they heard a growing sound.  ‘I looked up through an opening in the leaf roof to the heavens from where the sound seemed to be coming.  It grew to be roar – then it came to me: surely this is the Holy Spirit coming like a mighty rushing wind.  I called the people to realize that God the Holy Spirit was about to descend upon them’ (Griffiths 1997:175).  Many people involved in that impact of the Spirit sparked similar revivals throughout the Pacific (Waugh 1998:69-75).

Wednesday 14 March, 1979 – Elcho Island.  Australia

Djiniyini Gondarra, Uniting Church minister in the settlement of Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island, returned from holidays on the late afternoon Missionary Aviation Fellowship flight on 14 March.  1979.  Aboriginal Christians there had been praying earnestly, and met that night in his home for another prayer meeting.  He reports,

Suddenly we began to feel God’s Spirit moving in our hearts and the whole form of our prayer suddenly changed and everybody began to pray in the Spirit and in harmony.  And there was a great noise going on in the room and we began to ask one another what was going on.  Some of us said that God had now visited us and once again established his kingdom among his people who have been bound for so long by the power of evil… In that same evening the word just spread like the flames of fire and reached the whole community in Galiwin’ku.  Gelung [his wife] and I couldn’t sleep at all that night because people were just coming for the ministry.  bringing the sick to be prayed for, for healing.  Others came to bring their problems.  Even a husband and wife came to bring their marriage problem, so the Lord touched them and healed their marriage (Gondarra 1991).

Teams from Elcho Island took revival movements throughout Arnhem Land, Northern Territory and Western Australia.  At Warburton, then regarded as having one of the highest aboriginal crime rates in Australia, the mission team saw many converted and powerfully changed.

Sunday 15 May, 1980 – Anaheim.  America

John Wimber led the evangelical Vineyard Fellowship at Anaheim from 1977.  On Mother’s Day.  15 May, 1980 at the evening service a young man spoke.  That night, after he gave his testimony, Lonnie asked the Holy Spirit to come and the repercussions were incredible.  The Spirit of God literally knocked people to the floor and shook them silly.  Many people spoke in tongues, prophesied or had visions.  Then over the next few months, hundreds and hundreds of people came to Christ as the result of the witness of the individuals who were touched that night, and in the aftermath.  The church saw approximately 1,700 converted to Christ in a period of about three months.  This evolved into a series of opportunities, beginning in 1980, to minister around the world.  Thus the Vineyard renewal ministry and the Vineyard movement were birthed (Vineyard Reflections.  May/June 1994).

Thursday 14 June – Brugam, Papua New Guinea

In the Sepik lowlands of northern Papua New Guinea revival touched the South Seas Evangelical Churches at Easter 1984, sparked by Solomon Island pastors.  It was characterised by repentance, confession, weeping and great joy.  Stolen goods were returned or replaced, and wrongs made right.  Australian missionary Ray Overend’s report includes comment on revival beginning at Brugam, the church headquarters.  on 14 June:

“About 200 people surged forward.  Many fell flat on their faces on the ground sobbing aloud.  Some were shaking – as spiritual battles raged within.  There was quite some noise… The spiritual battles and cries of contrition continued for a long time.  Then one after another in a space of about three minutes everybody rose to their feet, singing spontaneously as they rose.  They were free.  The battle was won.  Satan was bound.  They had made Christ their King!  Their faces looked to heaven as they sang.  They were like the faces of angels.  The singing was like the singing of heaven.  Deafening, but sweet and reverent” (Overend 1986:36-37).

The whole curriculum and approach at the Bible School for the area changed.  Instead of having traditional classes and courses, teachers would work with the school all day from prayer times early in the morning through Bible teaching followed by discussion and sharing times during the day to evening worship and ministry.  The school became a community, seeking the Lord together.  Christians learned to witness and minister in spiritual gifts, praying and responding to the leading of the Spirit.  This included discernment of spirits, deliverance, words of knowledge, tongues, prophecy, healing and boldness in evangelism.

Thursday 4 August, 1988 – Kambaidam.  Papua New Guinea

Johan van Bruggen, a missionary at the Lutheran Evangelist Training Centre at Kambaidam near Kainantu in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, reported in his circulars on the beginnings of revival which produced powerful evangelism, deliverance where whole villages publicly burned fetishes, and healings and miracles:

What were the highlights of 1988?  No doubt the actual outpouring of the Holy Spirit must come first.  It happened on August 4 when the Spirit fell on a group of students and staff.  with individuals receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit on several occasions later on in the year.  The school has never been the same again.  As direct results we noticed a desire for holiness, a hunger for God’s Word which was insatiable right up till the end of the school year, and also a tremendous urge to go out and witness.  Whenever they had a chance many of our students were in the villages with studies and to lead Sunday services.  Prayer life deepened, and during worship services we really felt ourselves to be on holy ground. … We have been almost left speechless by what God is doing now through our students.  We realize that we have been led on and are now on the threshold of a revival (Waugh 1998:96).

1988 – Madruga.  Cuba

In 1988, revival broke out in a small church in Madruga, Cuba. “People would begin to weep when they entered the church,” said their pastor.  More than 60 churches experienced a similar move of the Spirit among the 10 million people of Cuba.  The revival produced more than 2,400 house churches.  Although open evangelism is still outlawed, teenagers were joining the children and adults to witness boldly in parks, beaches, and other public places, regardless of the risk.  There is a “holy and glorious restlessness” amongst the believers.  said one pastor.  “The once defensive mood and attitude of the church has turned into an offensive one, and Christians are committed to the vision of ‘Cuba Para Cristo!’ – Cuba for Christ!” (Open Doors, Australian Report, September 1993).

1989 – Henan and Anhul, China

The persecuted church in China lives in constant revival.  This is merely a sample account.

In 1989 Henan preachers visited North Anhul province and found several thousand believers in the care of an older pastor from Shanghai.  At their first night meeting with 1,000 present 30 were baptised in the icy winter.  The first baptised was a lady who had convulsions if she went into water.  She was healed of that and other ills, and found the water warm.  A 12 year old boy deaf and dumb was baptized and spoke, “Mother, Father, the water is not cold – the water is not cold.”  An aged lady nearly 90, disabled after an accident in her 20s, was completely healed in the water.  By the third and fourth nights over 1,000 were baptised.  A young evangelist, Enchuan, 20 years old in 1990, had been leading evangelistic teams since he was 17. He said, “When the church first sent us out to preach the Gospel, after two to three months of ministering we usually saw 20-30 converts.  But now it is not 20.  It is 200, 300, and often 600 or more will be converted” (Balcombe 1991).

Dennis Balcombe reported in a newsletter on 27 August 1994: “This year has seen the greatest revival in Chinese history.  Some provinces have seen over 100,000 conversions during the first half of this year.

Contemporary Witness

Unprecedented revival continues in China especially in house churches, in Africa especially in independent church movements, in Latin America especially in evangelical/pentecostal churches such as currently in Argentina, and in proliferating revival movements throughout the world.  All of these now involve powerful charismatic impacts of the Spirit of God and increasing awareness and use of the charismata.

Renewal and evangelism increased through the nineties into the 21st century, even in the West.  Focal points for renewal and revival have included Toronto in Canada, Brompton in London, Sunderland in England, and Pensacola in America.  However, reports continue to multiply of renewed churches, empowered evangelism, and significant social involvement (such as crime rates significantly reduced in Sunderland and Pensacola). David Barrett’s global research indicates that pentecostal/charismatic membership has grown from small beginnings around 1900 to over 460 million by 1995, over 500 million around 2000 and now over 600 million (Synan 1997:281; Hollenweger 1998:42, Burgess & van der Maas 2002).

In Australia, the 1991 National Church Life Survey indicated that two thirds of church attenders were then involved with or sympathetic to charismatic/pentecostal Christianity.  Charismatic congregations, whether denominational, independent or Pentecostal, continue to multiply, evangelize actively, and many have significant social caring programs.

These indicators suggest a massive shift in global Christianity, which increasingly acknowledges and rediscovers charisma in revival.  It holds enormous promise for “the reshaping of religion in the twenty-first century” (Cox 1995).  Charisma in revival offers a paradigm in which differing denominational perspectives on charismatic Spirit movements may find common ground in evangelism, equipping of Christians for ministry, and in social reform.

References

Balcombe, D. (1991) “Hong Kong and China Report.” Hong Kong: Revival Christian Church.

Coleman, Robert (1970) One Divine Moment. Old Tappan: Revell.

Cox, H. (1995) Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-first Century. New York: Addison-Wesley.

Dunn, James D. G. (1970) Baptism in the Holy Spirit. London: S.C.M.

Evans, E. (1969) The Welsh Revival of 1904. Bridgend: Evangelical Press.

Frodsham, S. H. (1946) With Signs Following. Springfield: Gospel Publishing House.

Gondarra, D. (1991) “Pentecost in Arnhem Land” in Waugh, G. Church on Fire,

Melbourne: JBCE, pp. 14-19.

Green, M. (1985) I Believe in the Holy Spirit. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Greenfield, J. (1927) Power from on High. Reprinted 1950, London: Christian Literature Crusade.

Griffin, S. C. (1992) A Forgotten Revival. Bromley: One Day Publications.

Griffiths, A. (1977) Fire in the Islands. Wheaton: Shaw.

Howard, P. E. (1949) The Life and Diary of David Brainerd. Edited by Jonathan Edwards. Reprinted 1989. Grand Rapids: Baker.

Hollenweger, W. J. (1998) “Pentecostalism’s Global Language.” Christian History, Issue 58, pp. 42-44.

Hyatt, E. (1997) 200 Years of Charismatic Christianity. Tulsa: Hyatt.

Idle, C. ed. (1986) The Journal of John Wesley. Tring: Lion.

Koch, K. (1968) The Revival in Indonesia. Grand Rapids: Kregel

McDonnell, Kilian & Montague, George, eds. (1991) Christian Initiation and Baptism in the Holy Spirit. New York: Paulist.

Moody, W. R. (1900) The Life of D. L. Moody. New York: Revell.

Overend, R. (1986) The Truth will Set you Free. Laurieton: S.S.E.M.

Pratney, W. (1994) Revival. Lafayette: Huntington House.

Stacy, J. (1842) The Great Awakening. Reprinted 1989. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth.

Synan, Vinson (1997) The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Warfield, Benjamin (1918) Counterfield Miracles. Carlile, PA.

Waugh, G. (1991) Church of Fire. Melbourne: JBCE.

Waugh, G. (1998) Flashpoints of Revival. Shippensburg: Revival Press.

Wessel, H. ed. (1977) The Autobiography of Charles Finney. Minneapolis: Bethany

Williams, Rodman (1992) Renewal Theology. Grand Rapids; Zondervan.

Worldwide Evangelization Crusade. (1954) This is That. London: Worldwide Evangelization Crusade.

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