From October 4-9, 2020, a tent meeting took place on the same site as a historic Church of God revival in 1908. The following is a testimony of the week’s gathering by Dr. David Roebuck, director of the Pentecostal Research Center and a member of the Church of God Historical Commission:
Everyone should worship in a Tent Meeting from time to time. I write these words having just attended Tent Meeting 2020 in Cleveland, Tennessee. Tent Meeting 2020 was a Word from the Lord in response to racial and political division in our city. In the context of conflicting demands to “move the monument” or “leave the monument,” Tent Meeting 2020 declared God’s desire to rebuilt (heal) an altar, proclaimed the necessity of heart-rending repentance, urged life-giving reconciliation, counseled restoration of inter-generational relationships, and encouraged carrying testimonies of God’s grace into the world around us. The website www.TentMeeting2020.org includes the prophetic words that birthed the meeting, a video archive of the services, and my account of an extraordinary 1908 revival on the same site here in Cleveland.
As the Friday service closed, the Lord used the tent to convict me of the importance of living the Christian life as a journey. Although in times past God had manifested His power on the same site where our tent stood, we were not homesteaders staking out property south of Central Avenue between Short and Bible Streets. Indeed, we departed those grounds to return to our families and houses of worship; and on Monday morning, someone will pull the stakes from the ground, tightly roll the canvass, and load the tent onto a truck traveling to its next destination.
Many of us have invested in brick and mortar to protect our families, provide ministry centers, and commemorate our past, but according to the Scripture, fire will destroy all of this someday. Our greater purpose must never be establishing an inheritance on this earth. Our inheritance is a New Heaven and a New Earth, whose capital is the New Jerusalem with the Lord our God as our sole source of power. Although the Lord spoke many words to me, I left Tent Meeting 2020 with two convicting questions: How must I live differently if I live everyday as a pilgrim rather than as a settler? How must I teach my children and grandchildren differently if their inheritance is not of this earth?
This world is not my home,
I’m just a passing through; My treasures are laid up,
Somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me,
From heaven’s open door; And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.
(Lyrics by Jim Reeves)