John Wesley – timely words for today…

Words of John Wesley in his sermon on the catholic spirit – original, non-inclusive language of the 1700s – strong inclusive sentiment:

Is thy heart right toward thy neighbour? Dost thou love as thyself, all mankind, without exception? “If you love those only that love you, what thank have ye?” Do you “love your enemies?” Is your soul full of good-will, of tender affection, toward them? Do you love even the enemies of God, the unthankful and unholy? Do your bowels yearn over them? Could you “wish yourself” temporally “accursed” for their sake? And do you show this by “blessing them that curse you, and praying for those that despitefully use you, and persecute you?”

Do you show your love by your works? While you have time as you have opportunity, do you in fact “do good to all men,” neighbours or strangers, friends or enemies, good or bad? Do you do them all the good you can; endeavouring to supply all their wants; assisting them both in body and soul, to the uttermost of your power? – If thou art thus minded, may every Christian say, yea, if thou art but sincerely desirous of it, and following on till thou attain, then “thy heart is right, as my heart is with thy heart.”

“If it be, give me thy hand.” I do not mean, “Be of my opinion.” You need not: I do not expect or desire it. Neither do I mean, “I will be of your opinion.” I cannot, it does not depend on my choice: I can no more think, than I can see or hear, as I will. Keep you your opinion; I mine; and that as steadily as ever. You need not even endeavour to come over to me, or bring me over to you. I do not desire you to dispute those points, or to hear or speak one word concerning them. Let all opinions alone on one side and the other: only “give me thine hand.”

I do not mean, “Embrace my modes of worship,” or, “I will embrace yours.” This also is a thing which does not depend either on your choice or mine. We must both act as each is fully persuaded in his own mind. Hold you fast that which you believe is most acceptable to God, and I will do the same. I believe the Episcopal form of church government to be scriptural and apostolical. If you think the Presbyterian or Independent is better, think so still, and act accordingly. I believe infants ought to be baptized; and that this may be done either by dipping or sprinkling. If you are otherwise persuaded, be so still, and follow your own persuasion. It appears to me, that forms of prayer are of excellent use, particularly in the great congregation. If you judge extemporary prayer to be of more use, act suitable to your own judgement. My sentiment is, that I ought not to forbid water, wherein persons may be baptized; and that I ought to eat bread and drink wine, as a memorial of my dying Master: however, if you are not convinced of this act according to the light you have. I have no desire to dispute with you one moment upon any of the preceding heads. Let all these smaller points stand aside. Let them never come into sight “If thine heart is as my heart,” if thou lovest God and all mankind, I ask no more: “give me thine hand.”

Susanna Wesley Anniversary Hymn 2

One of two hymns written for the Anniversary of the Birth of Susanna Wesley 350 years ago – 20th January 1669.
She was the mother of John and Charles Wesley.

Not just a shadow in the past,
a smudge on history’s page,
but women shared their faith themselves
and took the centre stage.

Not just content to live their lives
through children they had borne,
but standing, speaking, preaching love,
in face of fear or scorn.

Their sons might take the central place,
convention seemed to rule,
but wisdom played a different hand:
showed prejudice a fool.

So now we stand where they once stood,
defiant in God’s grace,
no crude constraint will turn us back
in any time or place!

Andrew Pratt 14/1/2019
Metre: CM
Tunes: SHANTI (by Marty Haugen); ABRIDGE.
Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

Susanna Wesley Anniversary Hymn 1

One of two hymns written for the Anniversary of the Birth of Susanna Wesley 350 years ago – 20th January 1669.
She was the mother of John and Charles Wesley.

The wisdom of women, so often determines
the paths that we take from the moment of birth;
both nature and nurture define through our growing:
a life hardly noticed or fame upon earth.

As parents we live out our lives through our children,
restraining, controlling or letting them grow;
demanding obedience, enabling their freedom,
or opening doors, simply letting them go.

The care and compassion received in the cradle
can influence choices and actions we take,
the growth of our faith, or our arrogant conflict,
the walls that we build, or the bridges we make.

From humble beginnings faith leaders are nurtured,
in just such a crib can a tyrant be found,
a mother or father can model commitment,
God’s graciousness planted in gently tilled ground.

And so we remember the strength of our parents,
their place in informing what we have become,
and those who through history have parented leaders
extending their influence through daughter or son.

Andrew Pratt 14/1/2019
Metre: 12.11.12.11
Tunes: ST CATHERIINES COURT; STREETS OF LAREDO
Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.