In 1949, in the village of Barvas on the Isle of Lewis something rather unusual happened. It all started with a ceilidh in the village hall. Young people were gathered together enjoying an evening of music and dancing.
As the evening wore on, people became aware of a most unusual sensation – the air tingled with the presence of God. Abruptly, the music ceased and people left the hall and hurried to the church.
In other parts of the village, men, women and children, many of whom were asleep in bed, all shared the same experience.
Awakened, they quickly got up, dressed and with haste made for the church. There had been nothing in the way of advanced publicity. No special event had been planned, but now 600 were eagerly standing outside the church, waiting to get in.
It was to be a full house that night – every pew taken and folk standing wherever they could find
Towards midnight a visiting preacher, the Rev Duncan Campbell, arrived and made his way to the pulpit. As he walked down the aisle he was aware of people weeping and praying. The service continued until 4 o’clock in the morning, when the visiting preacher retired to the manse.
That incident took place in what has become known as the Lewis awakening or the Lewis revival. It is not myth or fairy tale. It is a historical fact, and it happened within living memory.
The last recorded revival in mainland Britain took place in 1904 among the mining communities of South Wales. And there are well-documented stories of the miners at the end of the working day attending outdoor services at the pit-heads with their faces blackened by coal dust being washed by their tears.
The Welsh revival even caused a drop in coal production because the miners stopped swearing and cursing at the pit ponies. The poor creatures simply didn’t understand what was going on!
What or WHO was behind this…….?!!