Last Saturday my husband and I ventured to Wilmore, Kentucky, home of his alma mater, Asbury University, for the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1970 revival. I was to speak on a panel about the revival in its historical context, and to launch my newest novel, SWEET, SWEET SPIRIT: ONE WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY TO THE ASBURY COLLEGE REVIVAL.
I first heard about the 1970 revival in 1995. Scott and I had gone to Asbury for his class reunion, and there was a film shown, “When God Comes,” about this incredible outpouring on the campus. A routine chapel service became a week-long, 24/7 revival that spread throughout the nation, and on to five continents via “witness teams” of Asbury students. Wherever they went and told the story of what was happening in Hughes Auditorium, the revival broke out there as well.
The story took hold of me and wouldn’t let go. In the next few years I wrote brief accounts in nonfiction history books I’d written, but somehow I knew there needed to be more. That “more” became the second book in my Morning in America revival series with Elk Lake Publishing. (Book one, MORNING GLORY, takes place during the First Great Awakening in the 18th century, and won a Golden Scroll Award last August in Nashville.)
SWEET, SWEET SPIRIT takes its title from the song many consider to be the theme of the 1970 revival. It tells the story of a young woman, caught in the despair of her hero’s assassination in 1968, searching for God, but unconvinced He cares about the humans He created. Until a friend at Asbury calls her one night in early February and tells her God is there, and He wants there too.
Of the memories I’ll take from my trip to Asbury this week is the opportunity I had to meet dozens of people who were there in 1970, men and women who went out and in many ways, changed the world. And still are. These are my heroes.
I invite you to visit Asbury University’s website for more information and videos, including those of this week’s services. And of course, pray for our nation as once again, we need to be revived.