I suppose every generation has a version of religious zealots that takes on a unique persona. In the early 1800’s, the Second Great Awakening produced charismatic Camp Meetings, where fiery Revivalists converted the masses. Salvation was their focus.
In the prohibition era, we had lace-hatted ladies who marched with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, proclaiming that “lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine.” (I had a grandmother who was a proud WCTU card-carrier.) Sobriety was their focus.
In the ‘60s, we had free-spirited “Jesus Freaks,” a counter-cultural group who shared things in common and proclaimed a message of love. Community was their focus. All these groups in their own way were Jesus Freaks of a sort, but the hippie culture may have been the closest to the original:
Acts 2:42-47 (English Standard Version)
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
One of the blessings to arise from the pandemic is that the Jesus Freaks among us have revived the notion that we should share our possessions and belongings, and break bread across our community with those who are hungry due to losing jobs. Several restaurants in the Outer Banks have taken the lead with offering free breakfasts, chicken and dumplings lunches, and hearty meatloaf dinners, all free of charge. Some have set up tents for distribution.
Our local homeless ministry has extended their program during a time when they would normally be closed, and churches continue to take turns volunteering and delivering meals.
Churches are expanding their Care Ministries to include any need that comes to their attention. Last week my church had a request to help a non-member who lives almost an hour away from our location. She is hospitalized in another state with a high risk pregnancy, and her husband is struggling to care for their children on his own while working and trying to visit his wife. So my church will deliver meals for the next four weeks, because that’s what Jesus Freaks do.
In the passage above, we see that these acts of community were met with awe, which came upon every soul. This witness of sharing resulted in people coming to Christ in great numbers every day. That is what happens when people see the love of God in action.
Where is God calling you to be the evidence of his love today? Where can you invite awe into someone’s soul by sharing what you have in his name?
God calls us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and offer water to the thirsty. There is a need in your community that you can meet. You can produce many wonders and signs of God’s reign right where you are. Go out and find a way to be a Jesus Freak for someone today!