“Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry.”
– Anglican minister and theologian, John Wesley
On this day in 1738, John Wesley had a conversion experience at a meeting house on Aldersgate Street in London. He described in the following manner.
“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.”
Along with his brother Charles, and fellow cleric George Whitefield, Wesley is credited with the foundation of the evangelical movement known as Methodism.
Much of my faith history and journey is steeped in Methodism.
While I didn’t grow up a Methodist, my home church was also part of the Wesleyan tradition.
But well before that, my great grandfather, a man I never knew was a Methodist Circuit Rider in Southwest Virginia. Ministers of the day would serve more than one congregation, or a “circuit.” Traveling on horseback they became known as “circuit riders.”
Fast forward to my youth when I attended Asbury University, a school in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, named for the first American Methodist Bishop, Frances Asbury. I also have a certificate in Christian Education from Asbury Theological Seminary.
Life being what it is, I never ended up in a Methodist Church. I visited a few, and my wife and I visited a few after we were married. But, for varying reasons, we didn’t end up there.
As I write this, I’m thinking I need to go back to reading a bit more of John Wesley, and singing a lot more of the hymns written by this brother Charles. They are rich in theology and meaning.
If I read John’s words above, I guess I should make haste to do that, but not be in a hurry about it.
Charles Wesley was the hymnwriter in the family, credited with some 6000 hymns. But John translated a number of hymns from German to English.
These words were written in German by Paul Gerhardt in 1653. John Wesley translated them in 1739.
Jesus, Thy boundless love to me
No thought can reach, no tongue declare;
Unite my thankful heart with Thee
And reign without a rival there.
To Thee alone, dear Lord, I live;
Myself to Thee, dear Lord, I give.
In suffering be Thy love my peace,
In weakness be Thy love my power;
And when the storms of life shall cease,
Jesus, in that important hour,
In death as life be Thou my guide,
And save me, who for me hast died.