The Festival by Emma Nash
The festival was held every year. Christians gathered from all over the country, in church or social groups, to spend a few days together worshipping God. They loved the energy that was generated by so many worshippers gathered together with one purpose.
In the mornings they attended Bible studies taught by world-renowned scholars. People got up early and queued up with their Bibles, notebooks and early morning coffee to hear the great teachers. They listened as gradually their biblical knowledge was stripped away little by little, and they left every session knowing less than they had when they went in.
In the afternoons many people attended a great marketplace in the middle of the venue where tables were piled high with books, clothing and other supplies. People brought bags of good-quality clothes to be donated to homeless charities; Bibles to be sent to countries where most Christians could not afford or even get hold of a Bible; toys and other trinkets to be sold in charity shops to raise money for good causes. Day by day the piles increased, and volunteers sifted through the mountains of stuff, sorting donations.
It was in the evenings that the really exciting things happened, however. Thousands gathered in the largest of the venues as the worship band began to play beautiful songs of lament. Everyone cried as they wept for love of God’s hurting world. Then someone got up to speak about the power of prayer. People with a special story to tell were invited to step forward. They spoke of chronic illnesses; devastating bereavements; painful failures. Then a time of prayer ministry began. The happy and the whole came forward and people laid hands on them and prayed. The Spirit moved in great power, and they walked away limping.