Reflections on how Christians help each other to grow and mature in loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Judas is Innocent and Hell is Empty

Among western developed nations the US is by far the most religious. However, it is rare to find a US newspaper that publishes anything of any depth about religion or theology in its pages. There is the occasional paper that has a Religion page in its Saturday editions. But the content is seldom worth reading.

I’ve found the British newspaper to have much more thoughtful and interesting religion writers. An example of which you can find here: Judas is Innocent and Hell is Empty. This is a puzzle to me because Britain, and the rest of Europe, are thoroughly secular. Perhaps the British newspaper editors have more respect for their readers than their US counterparts.

A Preacher's Journey Over the Color Line

As we celebrate the birthday and witness of Martin Luther King, Jr. here’s an interesting article about the ministry of Francis Asbury from the Washington Post: A Preacher’s Journey Over the Color Line.

Asbury was an opponent of slavery and his regular traveling companion was Harry Hosier, a prominent African-American circuit rider. Consequently, many African-American United Methodist congregations are named for Asbury.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

As we enter a new year I feel compelled to post this prayer. It is, as you know, an important historic expression of Wesleyan faith and life. My hope is that most United Methodist congregations prayed this prayer during worship this morning (January 1, 2006). I also hope that many of my fellow United Methodists participated in Watch Night or Covenant Renewal services on New Year’s Eve or this morning.

A Covenant Prayer
in the Wesleyan Tradition

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

Come, Let Us Use the Grace Divine

Come, let us use the grace divine,
And all with one accord,
In a perpetual covenant join
Ourselves to Christ the Lord.

Give up ourselves, through Jesus’ power,
His name to glorify;
And promise in this sacred hour,
For God to live and die.

The covenant we this moment make
Be ever kept in mind;
We will no more our God forsake,
Or cast these words behind.

We never will throw off the fear
Of God who hears our vow;
And if thou art well pleased to hear,
Come down and meet us now.

Thee, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Let all our hearts receive,
Present with thy celestial host
The peaceful answer give.

To each covenant the blood apply
Which takes our sins away,
And register our names on high
And keep us to that day!

(Charles Wesley, 1762)
This hymn was written expressly for use in the annual Covenant Service.