Musings from Linda

1/21/22

When was your first “AHA?”

One of mine happened (of all places!) on a junior high field trip to a historic home.
Inside, I spied these words, cross-stitched into a sampler:

Even as a pre-teen, I remember feeling the strength of this message like a thunderbolt!  Little did I know then that it came from the mouth of John Wesley (1703-1791) — British clergyman, theologian, hymn writer and founder of Methodism.

A midlife conversion experience transformed his ministry into one which developed PERSONAL DISCIPLESHIP and ACCOUNTABILITY and which addressed many social issues of the day, including ABOLITION and PRISON REFORM.

With that above quote, he was encouraging Christian folks to “INWARD holiness,” not just lip-service to a set of beliefs.

“Let your words/work be the genuine picture of your heart,” he said.

A neat fact about his ministry is that he preached OUTDOORS and in all sorts of unconventional locations  — a radical innovation for his time!  In his earlier life, he said that he would have considered it a “sin” to preach ANYwhere except in a church — but he recognized that open-air services were successful in reaching people who would NEVER in their lives enter a church building.

When the church hierarchy objected, he persisted in his preaching and replied, “The WORLD is my parish!”

In his lifetime he:
Rode 250,000 miles
Preached more than 40,000 sermons
Give away 30,000 pounds

He and his brothers (The Rev.) Charles and Samuel (an organist) wrote hymns as well; Charles was the most prolific writer, having penned lyrics to over 6000 of them!  One of his most successful ones is one of our favorites as well — “ LOVE DIVINE, ALL LOVES EXCELLING.“  The text to this PRAYER-HYMN beautifully reflects the theology embraced by John, for it asks that God’s love come to dwell within each of us — along with Jesus’ “Pure unbounded love” — that our lives might be transformed …

As you listen (click here for music link) to these words accompanied by glorious photos of our amazing world, allow yourself to hear them as a prayer uttered by your heart.