Our lives are shaped what has given us roots and what has provided our wings. This week we will focus on the roots of the Wesleyan (or Methodist) tradition which we have inherited and as a source that nurtures us in the faith we are growing in our lives.
“All things must come to the soul from its roots, from where it is planted.” Teresa of Avila
Can you think of any ways that the Methodist, or Wesleyan, tradition have nurtured you? Many of you know that my family history goes back through generations of Methodist pastors, both Methodist Episcopal and Methodist Protestant. When I was feeling God's call to go to seminary, I intentionally chose a non-denominational Divinity School so that I would be around a variety of faith traditions. I needed to be pushed to think past traditional Methodism.
I listened a lot, asked questions, and wrote papers that stretched boundaries. And concluded that I really was Wesleyan in my theology, not just my upbringing. I understood prevenient grace before I knew there was a name for it -- that "long before my ears could hear, God called me by my name." I understood the nuance between God reaching out to all people and universal salvation (with a bit of help from the Narnia chronicles). And the idea that personal piety and social piety MUST go together made sense to me -- one without the other is only half of a vital faith. I found out when taking Methodist Theology that while I didn't always love our polity (how we do things), I did love our social principles and faith foundations.
This Sunday we will talk about two key emphases of the Wesleyan tradition and how they can nurture us. One is being a "peculiar people," the King James version's language of 1 Peter 2:9, which resonated with John and Charles Wesley as they urged people to live out their faith. The other is the need for both Personal Piety and Social Piety in our lives. The Methodist movement did in fact turn the world upside-down -- at least in England, and to some extent in America. Many historians believe that the reason that England didn't experience a violent revolution was that the Methodist had already instigated a lot of the needed social changes. They describe it as the "Methodist Revolution." And there are some aspects of the Wesleyan roots of our faith that still hold that capacity! Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash