My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The Peace of the Risen Christ be with you!
In our continuance of the celebration of Methodist heritage, we take a glimpse at one of the sources of our understanding of being “Wesleyan” - John (and Charles?) Wesley’s Sermons. Undoubtedly, John Wesley was the leader of the Methodist movement as it was his voice that articulated the theology behind the revival of the church and society then. Interestingly, the Wesleys' sermons were not written for “preaching sake” but as ‘guides to the preachers and teachers in the Methodist movement’. In fact, the sermons were sometimes used by other preachers as sermons themselves, but more often as a “guide and illustration of what Methodists believe and why”.
Wesley’s sermons continue to guide, direct, and challenge those who hear and read them. Indeed, Wesley’s sermons are part of the doctrinal standards of all Methodist and Wesleyan denominations (and there are many) the world over. Every minister and preacher are called to familiarize themselves with John Wesley’s sermons (1-44) and his Notes on the New Testament. Methodist beliefs are intentionally outlined in sermons because sermons were the primary medium the Wesley used to teach what it meant to be a faithful Christian.
I can hear the question now, “Rev, you do not expect us to read John Wesley’s sermons, do you?” “Yes, I do.” It can be tough reading, but if we are going to embrace the heritage that was left us, how else would we discover what it means to be Wesleyan other than reading John Wesley’s sermons? May they become a source of engagement with fellow Methodists!
Have a blessed week engaging our heritage!
Your pastor and friend
Mark S Christmas