Special Report: I’ve Seen America’s Future and It’s Filled With the Glory of Christ
[Editor’s Note: In the past few days David has written a couple of blogs where he reflected on an historic, upcoming national event at the Mall in Washington, DC. Here is his first hand report on what finally took place and what it means for all of us, and for America. (Photo source: Gospelherald.com)]
A Special Report from Together 2016
First of all, you need to know that during this past Saturday in Washington, DC, we hit a record heat index.
Then, you need to know that the twelve-hour national gathering of young adults from coast to coast that took place at the Mall was forced to close down five hours early because heat exhaustion (and worse) was sending hundreds to first aid tents, causing the National Park Service to “pull the plug” at 4 PM for safety concerns.
Next, you need to know that with a one-hour heads-up at 3 PM, the reshuffled schedule brought us to a dramatic high note (which I’ll tell you about in a moment). This could not have happened ninety minutes later, however, when a fast-moving, menacing lightening storm drenched the Mall—which would have forced an anti-climactic mass, chaotic evacuation.
Finally, you need to know that despite the bludgeoning of an oppressive July heat wave, still hundreds of thousands (some estimate as many as 500,000) stayed and stood—yes, stood—for seven intensive hours filled with praise, prayer, and proclamation focused on the central theme of Together 2016: inviting God’s Son to reset for his glory the direction of our nation beginning with the direction of our lives and our churches. See more on this at #JesusChangesEverything.
The Washington Post Bears Witness
On Sunday The Washington Post ran an extensive article about the event, including two half-page photos. Here are a few selections to show how the press viewed what went on:
On a scorching Saturday, young evangelicals flocked to the Mall to “reset” their faith. Rappers and pastors, spoken-word poets and authors appealed to thousands gathered around the Washington Monument in baking heat to recommit to prayer and hope at a time of intense racial and political polarization and growing secularization. . . Attendees and the lineup were unusually diverse. . . They got on their knees by the thousands appealing to God to end racism. . . [they] thought the day of prayer would do more for racial healing than the presidential election could. . . [Many said they] are really frustrated with the political process and division and hate, and are longing for a leader we can look to and that this is Jesus. . . [Organizer Nick Hall said,] “There are moments when God’s people come together and God does something that can heal, change, define a generation. At the end of the day, there’s only one King [Jesus].”
I’ve Seen America’s Future
I was part of a small prayer team recruited by the event committee to stay close to the stage and pray for those involved as they stepped to the platform. Therefore, I received a special pass that allowed me to roam among the attendees anywhere on the grounds. This made it possible for me to get a good “read” on what the Holy Spirit was doing as the hours unfolded. My conclusion?
I’ve seen America’s future: It’s filled with a new generation, rising up before our eyes, populated by young men and women who see only, want only, celebrate only, proclaim only, and hope for only the glory of Christ.
The evidence? For one thing, as I mentioned—they stood. For all those hours. Under a relentless sun. Undeterred. Undiminished. Why?
Because, before they got to the Mall, thousands already were filled that much with passion for Christ, expressed in repentance, in appeals to Heaven, at times on their knees and often with full-throated songs of praise.
Who they are point us to the future of America!
Having attended scores of major evangelical gatherings over the past forty years, both national and international, many of which had significant impact on the advance of the Gospel, I need to say to you what I witnessed on Saturday was exceptional—actually, unprecedented—in one major way:
I noticed how often from the platform the name of Jesus was mentioned; no, rather, declared. . . exalted. . . and then echoed back countless times by the multitude.
In fact, I would estimate throughout the entire seven hours Jesus was referenced by name at least once every three minutes on average (whether in talks or prayers or worship).
Here’s what makes that so amazing to me:
Too often, sadly, I’ve sat in major Christian convocations where one can go for hours without hearing any focus specifically on Jesus.
Too often in our meetings, by all practical measures, we neglect our Mediator through whom all things come and through whom we exist; we temporarily forget our Victor who has defeated death and darkness and the demonic; we act inattentive to our Commander who leads our triumphal procession to the ends of the earth and to the consummation of the ages.
We appear indifferent about our Redeemer whose blood has bought and paid for every Kingdom vision or mission we talk about and live for; in practice we take for granted the Lamb on the Throne to whom belongs all glory and honor and praise along with every passion of our souls; we’re found ignoring our dearest Friend, in whose name and for whose sake we gather to worship and study and strategize for the future.
Somehow, he gets shuffled to the side. We assemble in his name while we emphasize some other thing.
Recently, for example, at a national celebration with hundreds of Bible-believing Christians from all over the nation and from many denominations, we filled up four hours with a dozen different speakers and performers, where Jesus himself was only mentioned twice the entire time. Just twice!
Unfortunately, tragically, too often I’ve found this to be the rule, not the exception.
But—hallelujah!—not so at Together 2016!
Which is why I came away saying to myself: I’ve encountered America’s ultimate prospects in the faces and voices of hundreds of thousands of young lives gripped singularly with one overriding agenda—the name and reign and fame of Christ.
They’re ready to join together to speak and spread his glory across our land in days and years to come—to do nothing less.
The Ending: Fill Them All!
Let me tell you what happened before our forced dismissal at 4 PM.
In the final minutes a “charge” rang out from the stage which was fully embraced by the crowd. As one leader put it: “This event was never about coming to the Mall. It always was about going out from the Mall, to take Christ to our nation.”
After he said that, up on the jumbotrons large letters appeared with the motto for Together 2016, which was: “FILL THE MALL!” But then as we watched, instantly the “M” slid over to the “E” so that now it read: “FILL THEM ALL!”
Meaning this: We were being commissioned to go forth to fill all of America—every church, every neighborhood, every city, every region, every enclave, every sector of society. . .every life. . . with the glory of Christ!
Standing among them at that moment, I recalled the prophecy of Psalm 110 (the most frequently referenced Old Testament passage by New Testament writers) which says in the NIV (emphasis added):
Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.
Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.
In other words, ascended to the Father’s right hand and reigning today as King, Christ Jesus presses his redemptive cause preeminently by inspiring new troops of young people to rise up, fresh like the dawn of morning, clothed in his holy majesty, to join in his glorious mission.
And as they do, for their generation their lives and witness increasingly “fills them all”—until one day the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Christ as the waters fill the seas (Hab. 2:14).
So, What is the Very Next Thing Needed?
As we say, once a bike is moving you need to steer it. Like never before, the Holy Spirit is moving this eager generation of Jesus followers forward. So now, in their passion for the glory of Christ, above all they need to be steered toward exploring and experiencing for themselves much more of what the glory of Christ is all about—to be fully introduced to God’s Son for ALL he is in his spectacular supremacy.
The hunger for more of Christ is in them already. Now, the feeding and feasting must begin!
Which is precisely why www.ChristNow.com was created.
It provides a “banquet” of resources that millions can draw on and share in together, all at the same time—and then instantly spread to many others by using all forms of social media with which they’re very familiar.
Let’s pray for the Father to employ ChristNow.com to help equip this new spiritual “army” of Christ’s servants forming across the land.
Conclusion: The Unplanned Grand Finale for Together 2016
To embellish the call to “Fill Them All,” the organizers planned a special fireworks display at 9 PM—as a way to amplify how wondrous our King is. However, with the heat emergency’s early shutdown and the ensuing thunderstorm, this was not possible.
But suddenly around 9PM, from my vantage point in another part of DC I saw forming in the sky a rainbow—magnificent and vivid. And then. . . I’m not making this up. . . from where I stood the rainbow’s “pot of gold” seemed to rest at the base of the Washington Monument where a host had assembled only hours earlier.
Not fireworks. Instead, a rainbow.
Think of this: In Scripture the rainbow speaks of God’s promise to redeem and “reset” any generation even in, and especially in, a time of judgment. To us today it speaks of Christ “in whom all the promises of God are YES to us” (2 Cor. 1).
So then, here’s God’s final word on Together 2016:
Christ himself, in himself, is the future of America!
Maybe in this hour of national crises we need to take some time to look a little closer at that future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Bryant
Known as a proclaimer of Christ and Messenger of Hope, David Bryant is the founder and president of Proclaim Hope!, an outreach whose goal is to serve a nationwide Christ Awakening. David is the author of many books, including Christ Is ALL! Join in the Joyful Awakening to the Supremacy of God’s Son. David and Robyne have been serving Christ together for over 40 years. Their most important ministry, however, remains centered on their three adult children and their spouses, and their four grandchildren.