Sunday, March 30, 2014

for when it is too heavy

Update-- Turns out that when I am weak, he is strong.  When I tried to lift up the family mentioned in the reflection above, I failed.  Last night, unable to sleep, feeling sad, I tried to imagine Jesus lifting up the family.  Jesus had no problem; it was easy for him, effortless.  He stood with the family, raised his arms, palms up, and their spirits were lifted.  He lifted up the members of this family to His Father and Our Father.  Jesus gave them a spiritual lift.  I will try to remember this the next time something is too heavy for me.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Do all the good you can" motto

The church I attend, the Urban Abbey in downtown Omaha, NE, has the "Do all the good you can . . ." motto printed on their coffee mugs.  The initials JW follow the quote, so the mugs don't exactly claim John Wesley as the source of the motto but the implication is there.

A 1915 collection of John Wesley's letters edited by George Eayrs attributes the "Do all the good you can" motto to John Wesley.  Below is an image from the book and here's a link to the ebook version at the google books site--

It is unclear what source Eayrs is citing, if any.  Eayrs might have assumed this motto had been written by Wesley without any other evidence than commonly held assumption.  The footnote does make me wonder if the motto was associated with Kingswood School.  Anybody out there in the blogosphere have a history of the school or access to the archives of the Kingswood School?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Bishop Roy Sano on biblical obedience

Lots of food for thought in this post by Bishop Roy Sano.  His first point, "Jesus drew a sharp distinction between disobedience to human tradition and obedience to God’s word."  sent me to Wesley's commentary on Matthew 23:23 where I found multiple examples of how Wesley characterized inward religion versus outward religion-

From the 3d to the 30th verse Mt 23:3 - 30 is exposed every thing that commonly passes in the world for religion, whereby the pretenders to it keep both themselves and others from entering into the kingdom of God; from attaining, or even seeking after those tempers, in which alone true Christianity consists. As, Punctuality in attending on public and private prayer, ver. 4 - 14. Mt 23:4 - 14 Zeal to make proselytes to our opinion or communion, though they have less of the spirit of religion than before, ver. 15. Mt 23:15 A superstitious reverence for consecrated places or things, without any for Him to whom they are consecrated, ver. 16 - 22. Mt 23:16 - 22 A scrupulous exactness in little observances, though with the neglect of justice, mercy, and faith, ver. 23, 24. Mt 23:23,24 A nice cautiousness to cleanse the outward behaviour, but without any regard to inward purity, ver. 25, 26. Mt 23:25,26 A specious face of virtue and piety, covering the deepest hypocrisy and villany, ver. 27, 28. Mt 23:27,28 A professed veneration for all good men, except those among whom they live.

Biblical obedience does not seem like the right term for what Wesley is talking about here.  For Wesley, the nature of true Christianity is characterized by obedience to the Spirit and not dedication to words on a page.

Nevertheless, whichever term you prefer to use, the end result is the same.  Bishop Sano and Wesley both call for the followers of Christ to be filled with divine love and to live out of that love as they interact with others.  Wesley's writings are just more emphatic in attributing the capacity to love to the power of the living Spirit rather than to human willpower.