Saturday, March 11, 2023

Jesus Revolution and Isaac Watts

I haven't seen the new movie "Jesus Revolution" yet but reading through the history of the movie and the era, I realize it coincided with the years we became involved in the church in the late 1960s, first at First Community Church in 1967, then at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church in 1974, both in suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. So, our participation was more with small service groups within established churches, than with the worship movement. Whether or not we were aware of it, we were participating through prison reform, a fair housing group, marriage encounter groups, Cursillo, and the move at UALC to add a contemporary worship program to the regular Sunday schedule (which we no longer attend) beginning on week-nights crowded into the fireside lounge with guitar music.
This morning I was reading about Isaac Watts, born in the 1600s, and who as a teen-ager decided church music was too stuffy and boring and began to write his own hymns, which became very controversial, outraging many older church goers, but which also became extremely popular and spoke to the needs of the people. He wrote over 600 hymns, many we still sing today (Joy to the World, When I survey the wondrous cross), and paved the way for the more prolific Charles Wesley, who wrote thousands of hymns.

The Wesleys, John and Charles, went on to awaken and evangelize our country in the 18th century, and so the tradition of periodic movements to refresh and revitalize Christianity continues. And we saw it again last month in Asbury, KY.

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