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Marking John Wesley’s Birthday in his Words

wesley-quote1787

A UMNS Commentary by the Rev. Robert J. Williams

As John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, grew older, he frequently commented on his birthday how he was still in good health and this was largely due to the way God had blessed him.

Wesley was born on June 17, 1703, while England was still using the Julian calendar. England adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 and thus Wesley’s birth date became June 28.

His birthday reflections give us a glimpse into how he viewed his life, health and ministry. On June 28, 1770, he wrote:

I can hardly believe that I am this entered into the sixty-eighth year of my age! How marvelous are the ways of God! How has he kept me, even from a child! From ten to thirteen or fourteen, I had little but bread to eat, and not great plenty of that. I believe this was so far from hurting me that it laid the foundation to lasting health. When I grew up, in consequence of reading Dr. Cheyne, I chose to eat sparingly and drink water. This was another great means of continuing my health, till I was about seven and twenty…; (He then speaks of various ailments.); Since that time, I have known neither pain nor sickness, and am now healthier than I was forty years ago! This hath God wrought!

He started to set a pattern for indicating his age and his good health. One year later, he wrote:

This day I entered the sixty-ninth year of my age. I am still a wonder to myself. My voice and strength are the same as at nine and twenty. This also hath God wrought.

In 1774, he wrote:

This being my birthday, the first day of my seventy-second year, I was considering. How is this, that I find just the same strength as I did thirty years ago? That my sight is considerably better now and my nerves firmer than there were then? That I have none of the infirmities of old age and have lost several I had in my youth? The grand cause is the good pleasure of God, who doth whatsoever pleaseth him. The chief means are: (1) My constantly rising at four, for about fifty years. (2) My generally preaching at five in the morning, one of the most healthy exercises in the world. (3) My never travelling less, by sea or land, than four thousand five hundred miles in a year.

In the intervening 10 years, he repeated these sentiments numerous times, and even in 1784, he wrote:

Today I entered on my eighty-second year and found myself just as strong to labour, and as fit for any exercise of body or mind, as I was forty years ago. I do not impute this to second causes, but to the sovereign Lord of all…; I am as strong at eighty-one, as I was at twenty-one, but abundantly more healthy, being a stranger to the head-ache, tooth-ache, and other bodily disorders which attended me in my youth. We can only say ‘The Lord reigneth’ While we live, let us live to him!

In 1788, after praising God “for a thousand spiritual blessings,” Wesley listed as questions what may be some of the “inferior means” for achieving such good health into old age.

To my constant exercise and change of air? To my never having lost a night’s sleep, sick or well at land or at sea, since I was born? To my having sleep at command, so that whenever I feel myself almost worn out, I call it and it comes, day or night? To my having constantly, for above sixty years, risen at four in the morning? To my constant preaching at five in the morning for above fifty years? To my having had so little pain in my life and so little sorrow or anxious care?

Finally, on June 28, 1790, less than a year before his death, he wrote:

This day I enter into my eighty-eighth year. For above eighty-six years, I found none of the infirmities of old age: my eyes did not wax dim, neither was my natural strength abated. But last August, I found almost a sudden change. My eyes were so dim that no glasses would help me. My strength likewise now quite forsook me and probably will not return in this world. But I feel no pain from head to foot, only it seems nature is exhausted and, humanly speaking, will sink more and more, till ‘The weary springs of life stand still at last.’

As this remarkable man aged, he reflected on God’s blessings and how his lifestyle contributed to his good health. This is but a brief glimpse into his humanity and can call on us to do likewise on our birthdays.

Editor’s Note: This story was first published on June 25, 2012.

*Williams is the top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History in Madison, N.J.

From http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/marking-john-wesleys-birthday-in-his-words

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2021 in Holidays, Posts of Interest

 

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Happy Birthday, John Wesley

wesley-quote1787

A UMNS Commentary by the Rev. Robert J. Williams

As John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, grew older, he frequently commented on his birthday how he was still in good health and this was largely due to the way God had blessed him.Wesley was born on June 17, 1703, while England was still using the Julian calendar. England adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 and thus Wesley’s birth date became June 28.His birthday reflections give us a glimpse into how he viewed his life, health and ministry. On June 28, 1770, he wrote:

I can hardly believe that I am this entered into the sixty-eighth year of my age! How marvelous are the ways of God! How has he kept me, even from a child! From ten to thirteen or fourteen, I had little but bread to eat, and not great plenty of that. I believe this was so far from hurting me that it laid the foundation to lasting health. When I grew up, in consequence of reading Dr. Cheyne, I chose to eat sparingly and drink water. This was another great means of continuing my health, till I was about seven and twenty…; (He then speaks of various ailments.); Since that time, I have known neither pain nor sickness, and am now healthier than I was forty years ago! This hath God wrought!

He started to set a pattern for indicating his age and his good health. One year later, he wrote:

This day I entered the sixty-ninth year of my age. I am still a wonder to myself. My voice and strength are the same as at nine and twenty. This also hath God wrought.

In 1774, he wrote:

This being my birthday, the first day of my seventy-second year, I was considering. How is this, that I find just the same strength as I did thirty years ago? That my sight is considerably better now and my nerves firmer than there were then? That I have none of the infirmities of old age and have lost several I had in my youth? The grand cause is the good pleasure of God, who doth whatsoever pleaseth him. The chief means are: (1) My constantly rising at four, for about fifty years. (2) My generally preaching at five in the morning, one of the most healthy exercises in the world. (3) My never travelling less, by sea or land, than four thousand five hundred miles in a year.

In the intervening 10 years, he repeated these sentiments numerous times, and even in 1784, he wrote:

Today I entered on my eighty-second year and found myself just as strong to labour, and as fit for any exercise of body or mind, as I was forty years ago. I do not impute this to second causes, but to the sovereign Lord of all…; I am as strong at eighty-one, as I was at twenty-one, but abundantly more healthy, being a stranger to the head-ache, tooth-ache, and other bodily disorders which attended me in my youth. We can only say ‘The Lord reigneth’ While we live, let us live to him!

In 1788, after praising God “for a thousand spiritual blessings,” Wesley listed as questions what may be some of the “inferior means” for achieving such good health into old age.

To my constant exercise and change of air? To my never having lost a night’s sleep, sick or well at land or at sea, since I was born? To my having sleep at command, so that whenever I feel myself almost worn out, I call it and it comes, day or night? To my having constantly, for above sixty years, risen at four in the morning? To my constant preaching at five in the morning for above fifty years? To my having had so little pain in my life and so little sorrow or anxious care?

Finally, on June 28, 1790, less than a year before his death, he wrote:

This day I enter into my eighty-eighth year. For above eighty-six years, I found none of the infirmities of old age: my eyes did not wax dim, neither was my natural strength abated. But last August, I found almost a sudden change. My eyes were so dim that no glasses would help me. My strength likewise now quite forsook me and probably will not return in this world. But I feel no pain from head to foot, only it seems nature is exhausted and, humanly speaking, will sink more and more, till ‘The weary springs of life stand still at last.’

As this remarkable man aged, he reflected on God’s blessings and how his lifestyle contributed to his good health. This is but a brief glimpse into his humanity and can call on us to do likewise on our birthdays.

Editor’s Note: This story was first published on June 25, 2012.

*Williams is the top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History in Madison, N.J.

From http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/marking-john-wesleys-birthday-in-his-words

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2021 in Holidays, Posts of Interest

 

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Watch Night 2020

 

John Wesley believed that Methodists and all Christians, should reaffirm their covenant with God annually, so he created a service in which an individual renews his/her covenant with God.

 

In 1755 Wesley held his first covenant service using words written earlier by Richard Alleine. Wesley published this service in a pamphlet in 1780, and this form was used without alteration for nearly a century in England. It has been modified somewhat in more recent years.

 

The covenant hymn, “Come, Let Us Use the Grace Divine,” was written for this service by Charles Wesley. The service is included in The Book of Worship under the title “An Order of Worship for Such as Would Enter Into or Renew Their Covenant with God–For Use in a Watch Night Service, on the First Sunday of the Year, or Other Occasion.”

 

This covenant service is often used in United Methodism as a Watch Night Service on New Year’s Eve. The covenant service is observed in some local churches on New Year’s Day or on the first Sunday in January. The service focuses on the Christian’s renewing the covenant of response to the grace of God in Christ.

 

 

 

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Charles Wesley: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Hark the Herald Angels Sing
In Honor of Charles Wesley ‘s birthday today.   Wesley (1707-1788),  the younger brother of John Wesley wrote the words to this Christmas Carol.

Charles was a hymn writer and a poet, also known as one of the people who began the Methodist movement in the Church of England. Hark the Herald Angels Sing appeared in 1739 in a book called Hymns and Sacred Poems.

Wesley envisioned this being sung to the same tune as his hymn, Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,  and in some hymnals it is included along with the more popular version.

This hymn was regarded as one of the Great Four Anglican Hymns and published as number 403 in “The Church Hymn Book” (New York and Chicago, USA, 1872).

To celebrate the invention of the printing press, Felix Mendelssohn composed a cantata in 1840 called Festgesang or “Festival Song”. The melody of Mendelssohn’s cantata was then used by William H. Cummings and adapted it to the lyrics of Wesley’s “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”.

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

And, of course, no one can do it better than The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2020 in Christmas Music, Holidays, Posts of Interest

 

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Today at Pender UMC ~ November 12, 2017

Please join us today at our 8:15, 9:30 or 11:00 am worship services. We will bring to a conclusion the three week series on the Three Simple Rules of our founder John Wesley. These are rules which call forth the best in each of us, and challenge us to be Jesus’ disciples every day. The key to our success is in the third rule: Stay in Love with God. (Mark 12:28-34)
We also will begin to receive our Pledge Cards for your financial stewardship commitments.
Also today:
The United Methodist Women will host a Fair Trade Market after the 11am service (during the Chicken-Chili lunch) in the fellowship room and fellowship hall. The vendors will sell fair trade goods, including: food, clothing, accessories, household goods, decorations, etc. Please come peruse the merchandise and know that anything you purchase has helped to better the life of someone in a less fortunate situation than ours.
Fair trade means workers in developing countries are paid a living wage. Some of the proceeds will go to the Pender UMW for our mission work and UMCOR. Thanks for your support and happy shopping!

JLU (Jesus Loves You)
Youth Group for 4th-6th Graders
JLU (Jesus Loves You) Pender’s Junior Youth Group for grades 4 – 6 meets this Sunday, November 12th, from 5 – 7pm in the Cornerstone Room (Room 215). We will continue our study of places in the Bible.
 

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