The Clarion Call


During the time of The Jesus Revolution, some believed they witnessed God’s work, in mysterious and wondrous ways.

Went to see the movie, “The Jesus Revolution.”

Is it inspirational? If the applause afterward is any indication, the answer would be, yes. But the true inspiration and substance, of course, aren’t about the movie. Nor is it about the pastor of a dwindling congregation or the much-needed infusion by the hippie-preacher-healer.

It’s about the quest for the glory of the word and the way of Christ by many who didn’t realize that’s what they sought; nor if they knew it, where to find it.

The Jesus Revolution happened fifty-three years ago amid racial division, riots, and political divide. Sound familiar? They were looking for ‘something’, ‘some way’, in their words, to find meaning and purpose, in all the wrong places.

What they found were drugs, psychedelic highs, and sex. Still confused and anxious, they continued to yearn for ‘some way.’

Are there lessons we can learn?

Chuck Smith the minister played by Kelsey Grammar, initially resisted how the miracle to save his church showed up literally on his doorstep. His first reaction to the hippies was one of disgust and judgment. Instead of thinking, they can use God’s help; he barked, “What they need is a bath.”

They’ didn’t match his nor his donors’ vision of a perfect congregation.

Sound somewhat familiar? the Bible tells us the Pharisees and scholars were upset with Jesus because he didn’t wash his hands before eating and healed on the Sabbath. Have you experienced this in your own life—resistance formed from being comfortable in your own ‘zone’ and insisting on seeing things your way?’

A revolution takes place in Chuck’s mind and heart after he gets to know them and is willing to change. Later, he says to them, if you feel like an outcast, an orphan, if you feel like there is no place for you, “you have a home here.”

His acceptance of them provided a deepened understanding and revitalized purpose of his ministry. The hippie healer tells him, “Chuck, you’re going to need a much bigger church.”

It is good we are reminded, that we have a home in Christ Jesus. That is, the ‘perfect congregation’ part of us, the ‘hippie’ segment and the just plain prickly pity pieces, have a home with Him when we repent and turn again to Christ in love.

Time ran two stories, different messages.

A 1966 Time Magazine’s black cover posed a question, Is God Dead? (BTW, it was the only Time cover without a picture up until then). Five years later, a 1970s cover showed an artist’s rendition of Jesus and the text, The Jesus Revolution.

What happened in those five years might be summed up by the Times reporter who covered The Jesus Revolution before publishing the 1970s article. As he spoke to a discouraged and lost, young man he said,

“I didn’t want to cover this. I am a war correspondent. We are a land divided by war, but I stepped into this [revival] tent and I found hope, unity, and miracles that I can’t explain. I think what’s going on here is sincere and real. Give it chance.“ (Paraphrasing)

God changes things.

He changed the lives of people who experienced God’s movement at the revivals past and present, friends, family and cast and crew.

Devon Franklin who plays the Times reporter covering the revolution shares his observation from a red-carpet interview at the movie opening of all places.

“The kids then were trying to ‘find themselves’ like some of the kids of today. What I came to realize is the more they found God, the more they found what they are looking for. And, once they found God, they found out more about themselves.”

The two kids who fall in love in the story share a message about love and relationship in so many words –I’m okay with this as long as this relationship doesn’t get in the way of God.

To put God first in a relationship was an oddity in the initial hippie movement of free love. Today, in many segments of our population putting God first in relationships it is still not a popular view. What these two kids found in loving God first, their personal love flourished. The question might be posed, what would happen if this view were adopted by more of us?

Devon Franklin, adds to this, “From my viewpoint, it’s all about Jesus. When we put the love of Jesus, the love of God first…what happens is everyone comes together in more love. We need more love today.”

Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus told his disciples that where He was going they could not follow.

Thomas said to Jesus, ”Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”

Jesus responded to him about finding the way, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” –John 14:5

Surprisingly, Kelsey Grammar who played the minister, and was “Frazier” in the popular sitcom, noted that this truth is constant and still remains.

“Today, we are surrounded by contrary information, and the only one, the single clarion call is still from Jesus Christ saying, “This is the way. This is the path.’ And it’s a very cool thing.”

And so it is.

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” –John 8: 31-32



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