Woodstock was a high tide of countercultural revolution in the late 1960’s. The rock concert in New York was a hedonistic parade of reckless abandonment and self-worship. The older folks feared that all younger folks would become irresponsible, dope-using, draft-dodging, free sex hippies.
That’s why the older folks were shocked when those hippies knocked on the church door seeking another kind of revolution – to follow Jesus. The church took a minute to figure out how to handle that. The 2023 movie, “Jesus Revolution,” is a portrayal of that early 1970’s movement. It became a spiritual awakening, which gave rise to contemporary Christian music and multiple new denominations, not to mention thousands of new followers of Christ.
Fast forward to 2023. Sam Smith’s Satan-themed performance at the Grammy Awards was startling at the least. CBS promoted the mood, tweeting just before the performance, “We are ready to worship!” Some dismissed it as harmless caricature, arguing the devil isn’t real anyway. That’s Satan’s best deception. In Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis imagines demons strategizing about their “patient.” One says, “The fact that devils are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you…Suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that, he cannot believe in you.”
Whatever that whole Grammy episode signals about our culture, another story eclipsed it. Three days later, students at Asbury University lingered after chapel, sensing the presence of God in an unusual and unexpected way. News spread on social media most notably among Gen Z, described as the most irreligious generation in U.S. history. Tens of thousands traveled to participate in the gatherings of spontaneous worship and declarations of faith in Christ.
Something similar happened on the Asbury campus in 1970 during the Jesus Movement. Notice that now, as then, even as people struggle with confusion, worldviews, and immorality that only further their angst and emptiness, the Holy Spirit quickens hot-hearted seekers. He beckons whosoever will to repent, draw near, and find grace.
Such an awakening is not limited by geography or denomination, but only by your openness to hear God’s still quiet voice. His presence is near and His call is clear, right now and right where you are. “Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession…Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:14,16).
Evil does not have the final say. Even now God in His goodness invites you to recognize your need of a Savior and by faith, draw near.