John Wesley, the founder of our Methodist tradition, lived in England from 1703 to 1791. Ordained a priest in the Church of England, he grew and changed in response to God’s spirit and evolved a form of Christianity that was more deeply spiritual, more practical in its application and more engaged with the world than the faith he had been taught.
For the six weeks of Epiphany, when Christians turn their thoughts to Jesus as the Light of the World, we’ll explore how Wesley’s 18th century insights are remarkably relevant to our 21st century life. Join us each week beginning January 11th. Using scriptural passages and drawing on Wesley’s own sermons, we’ll discover our roots and reaffirm our witness as United Methodist Christians.
January 11 – “The Heart Strangely Warmed”
2 Cornithians 5: 16-21 & John 3: 1-17
Wesley’s Sermon: “The Marks of New Birth”
Christian faith for Wesley was first of all personal. It begins in realizing how much God loves us. . . .and what that love means.
January 18 – “The World Parish”
James 2: 14-26 & Luke 6: 20-26
Wesley’s Sermon: Discourses 3 & 4 on The Sermon on the Mount
Faith is not just about the love God gives us. It’s about the love we’re asked to “give forward.”
January 25 – “Going on to Perfection”
Colossians 1: 3-14 & Matthew 13: 31-33
Wesley’s Sermon: “Christian Perfection”
Opposing so much of Protestant theology that taught that life was predestined and humanity utterly depraved, Wesley taught that life was open-ended and people were capable of change.
February 1 – “Bridges, Not Barriers”
Revelation 7: 9-12 & Mark 9: 38-41
Wesley’s Sermon: “Catholic Spirit”
Wesley would be horrified to witness today’s intense religious bigotry – because he wanted no part of it in his own day. Centuries ahead of his time, he offers a model the world desperately needs.
February 8 – “Practical Holiness”
James 1: 19-27 & Luke 10: 25-37
Sermon: “A Caution Against Bigotry”
Faith is practical. It ought to shape what we actually do in life, and there are concrete guides to mark our path: scripture, tradition, experience and reason.
February 15 – “Give All You Can”
2 Corinthians 9: 6-12 & Mark 10: 17-27
Wesley’s Sermon: “The Use of Money” and Discourses 8 & 9 on The Sermon on the Mount
Faith is expressed by generosity – of “prayers, presence, gifts and service. . .” – because of God’s grace and generosity towards us.