It is over three hundred years ago, the early 1700's.
I am a believer living in Moravia (the eastern part of what is the Czech Republic today). My family and I want to worship at an evangelical church with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
But in order for us to be in church on Sunday we must travel many hours by foot or by horse on Saturday, then sleep in this church yard at night. Why?
Because the only evangelical church in our area is located 40 kilometers from our home in Frydlant. It is over the border in Cieszyn, Poland and is the only one of its kind in the area.
Back then, up to 6000 people might have been with us on any given Sunday morning.
The history of this church is so moving, and it was again a joy to visit today and remember the price that the Christians paid back then to attend church and hear the Word of God preached as they worshipped and fellowshipped together with other believers.
Jesus Church, as its known, has been proclaiming God's Word for over three hundred years. As a result of the Swedish king making a pact with the Austro-Hungarian empire to allow the Protestants some religious rights, they began to build this church in 1709, completing it in 1750.
Claire wrote a beautiful post on her blog this summer telling the rich spiritual history of this church, and of the evangelical movement that began in this very part of the country where we live. Don't miss reading it!
Standing near the steps of this church, you can't help but feel a connection to our brothers and sisters of long ago who worshipped, prayed, heard the Word preached, and sought to live in the grace given to us through Jesus Christ, a new and perhaps radical thought at the time.
I love walking inside this sanctuary where thousands once gathered to hear preaching in four different languages each Sunday all those years ago.
What must it have been like to be packed shoulder to shoulder with fellow believers, singing and worshipping in the midst of thousands who traveled from such distances to be here?
An active congregation still worships there today, continuing on the long history of those who came before them.
They are even having a thanksgiving service tomorrow to thank the Lord for the abundance of harvest this year! Their thank offerings will be placed up front at tomorrow's service, a man told us.
We stood outside in the church yard afterward, thinking about what those grounds have seen and heard over the past three hundred years, and wondering what it would've been like to come such a distance just to worship with other believers.
I think I'll feel differently tomorrow morning as I go to church in my car, driving just five minutes from where we live to be with believers in our town for Sunday morning service.
While I rejoice in God's work in each of the lives of those who will be there tomorrow, how I wish there were thousands coming instead of less than a hundred.
Oh may revival come to this area again!
May Jesus bring about the transformation of many more lives by His redemptive power.