Saturday night I went to the Tony Campolo meeting in Carmarthen. The Chapel was packed out, possibly as much as 500 there, seldom do we see preaching meetings attracting so much people in Wales these days. Most of the people there were from the Baptist Union of Wales’s English convention which was held during the day but also a good number of local folks turned in – many of them Welsh speakers which was very encouraging.
The meeting started with some worship lead by a well rehearsed local (I presume) worship band. They launched through a few modern day classics like King of Kings Majesty, Mighty to Save and Light of the World before powering through the victorious Crown Him With Many Crowns. The Spirit’s present was very much felt during the singing by all who were there. This was followed by a word of prayer and a reading from scripture then Campolo took to the pulpit.
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22: 34-40)
His message was a warm but also hard hitting mix of a call to personal faith in Jesus and a challenge for Christians to live their lives in the light that Jesus laid it all down for them. His delivery was rather eclectic – he used a lot of humor and also used a lot of stories he’d picked up during the years to convey his point. But when needed he reverted to some good old fashioned Baptist staring the congregation out and shouting on us to repent and follow Jesus anew.
He finished his sermon with one of his often used motifs: “When you were born, you cried and everybody else was happy. The only question that matters is this: When you die, will YOU be happy when everybody else is crying?”
The meeting was bought to a close with the very Welsh, at the request of Campolo himself, Guide me O Thou great Jehovah. This was one of those meetings that I will remember for years to come.