Pastor’s Corner

July 2024

Greetings Church!

We continue our look at our United Methodist Heritage. Last month, we spoke about the name “Methodist’s” and John Wesley’s trifold understanding of God’s Grace; “Prevenient, Justifying and Perfecting”. Let’s start with three simply rules.

“Nothing can be simpler … than the Methodist discipline; it is entirely founded on common sense, particularly applying the general rules of Scripture…avoiding all known sin, doing good after his power, and attending all the ordinances of God.”
The Rev. Dr. Quincy D. Brown

John Wesley presented three simple rules to guide and enhance our lives: Do no harm, Do Good and Stay in love with God, all of these are simple to say, but the doing, the living of these can be and often is complicated. Often the most difficult (for me) is “doing no harm”, sometimes it requires action and at other times no action. It can be reasoned that to do no harm we have to be aware of the impact our choices make not only on ourselves but on our neighbor and on the environment.

“Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”
~Romans 13:10 New International Version

As Methodist’s, we do believe that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ! However, just sitting around waiting for grace to blossom and grow in our hearts is not going to be the faithful response that has become known as the “Means of Grace”. These “means” were meant for both the individual and for the church community, they are often thought of as works of piety (“holy” or “holiness”) and works of mercy.

Works of Piety would include:

Scripture; the reading, the thinking about and in general studying the scriptures (Bible). A
famous John Wesley quote states that he is “A man of one book”.
Prayer; we should be in constant communication with God, and you guessed it that’s by prayer. How are we going to nurture that loving relationship with God, if we don’t communicate?
Fasting; this is one idea many of us don’t hear about much (or we choose to ignore) because
it’s typically identified as “giving something up” (typically food). I prefer to think of this as
spending the time I would have spent doing x,y and z … and instead spending that time with
Worship; as in; we are to regularly attend public worship, where we can participate in the
Holy Sacraments, and the public worship of God in our community of faith.

One of John Wesley’s innovative ideas was the incorporation of “Christian conferencing” (being accountable to each other) into the fledgling Methodist movement. This was done mainly in small groups that would gather together for Bible study, Christian conferencing is sharing our faith with others.

Additionally, John Wesley identified “Works of Mercy” these can often be thought of as having a servant attitude. On a personal level; do good, do no harm, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, and basically placing others ahead of ourselves. Now from a church perspective; empowering the works of individuals (and teams), seeking justice, being a champion for others, a champion for the environment, (the whole of creation).

Lastly, I would call our attention to the stated mission of the Methodist church; “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”. There are two parts here, making disciples and the transformation of the world. This transformation is a “present” reality, not something that is hoped for but a real and present reality. A world where the whole of creation is the realm of God’s reign of compassion, justice, generosity and peace. I think our early church fathers and mothers understood, that to accomplish this goal, it has to be done one disciple at a time.

“In a very true sense, Wesleyan Methodism itself can be seen as means of grace, presenting continuing opportunities for people to experience the presence and power of God.” – Heitzenrater

So, my friends, want to live the Christian life more faithfully, take advantage of the means of grace, which are available to you … each and every day!

Blessings …
Pastor Scott