On Sunday, when I was sitting at the Communion table, I saw a name of someone which reminded me of a story, a deep prayer, and a hymn.
You might have noticed the silver goblet we use in Communion during the traditional services. On it is this engraving:
Rev. Caleb J. Tenney D.D.
Mar 24th 1816 Jan 12th 1841
I don’t know much about Dr. Tenney, but I do know about an account he wrote of what he saw in our church over 175 years ago. Apparently, God was moving in the land and He visited our church as well. Rev. Tenney realized he needed help, so he reached out to a friend named Asahel Nettleton. Rev. Nettleton came to preach and work in this church for four months in 1821.
Asahel Nettleton was very influential during the Second Great Awakening. It was estimated that thirty thousand people came to faith during his ministry. When he went to preach in a pulpit like ours, he did it differently than revival preachers of today. He would move into a community and for several weeks would study the spiritual condition of the people. After that he would do extensive preaching alongside the ministry of the pastor.
During Nettleton’s stay in Wethersfield, Rev. Tenney wrote that the church added over two hundred to the church. Whole families came to faith, and one man said, “If I have ever been born of God, it was on the day I was seventy-six years old.” A pastor from Newington said that even his congregation “heard with awe of what God was doing.” Years later, Rev. Tenney wrote, “Here, and in this section of the country, God has illustriously displayed His perfections in the work which is emphatically His” (taken from Nettleton’s biography written by Bennet Tyler).
I read those words and I hunger for God to display His perfections among us again. My heart is moved to prayer.
Oh God, would you please come down and do it again. Would you bring glory to your Name. We want Your Presence, Lord, we need it. Please send down Your Holy Spirit into our midst so that we might honor You as we ought. Draw close to us, please, Lord. We want to see You work. There are so many that are lost and in need of Your love. Please come.
I could go on but I believe there are better words that speak of my longing from one of my favorite hymns. The tune of that hymn was written by Asahel Nettleton. I am sure you can sing it as well.
Come Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise His Name—I’m fixed upon it
Name of God’s unchanging love.
Oh Lord Jesus, you are the Fount of all our blessings. Would you pour out Your streams of never ending mercy again.
I had a wonderful time at the Communion table. I met Jesus and I wanted more of Him. Can you imagine what it would be like if He visited this place again?