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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Why United Methodists Should Sing Charles Wesley Hymns

Earlier this fall I lead a district clergy retreat. The DS asked me to make presentations on Christian perfection. He wanted to raise awareness of this very important part of our UM tradition among the clergy of his district. He also encouraged the participants to read my translation of John Wesley's A Plain Account of Christian Perfection into contemporary English, A Perfect Love: Understanding John Wesley's 'A Plain Account of Christian Perfection.

The presentations were very well received, the questions and conversation were lively. Much positive energy was generated by the topic.

During the 24 hours with my sisters and brothers in Christ, we had three worship times: evening prayer, morning prayer, and closing Eucharist. These worship services were planned ahead of time by the event planning committee. The only thin I found puzzling and a little disconcerting was the fact that not a single Wesley hymn was included in any of our worship. Considering the topic for the event, I found the neglect of some of the most powerful hymns in the English language on the topic of sanctification disappointing.

This experience inspired me to write an article explaining why United Methodists should sing at least one hymn by Charles Wesley every time they gather, particularly for worship. The article was recently posted on the GBOD Worship web site. You can read it here:

"Top Ten Reasons Why United Methodists Should Sing Charles Wesley Hymns"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your points. I think it's especially important that we sing our Wesleyan theology.

I don't know what things are like in the US, but many of the worship songs that are so popular now in the UK have a distinctly Calvinist flavour to them and I sometimes wonder whether we ought to be singing these.

Charles Wesley wrote a lot of hymns and the "less good" ones aren't always that good, but the good ones (which are usually the ones included in our hymn books) are simply stunning, in my opinion.

Our circuit has resisted a demand from one Local Preacher that we make a policy that at least 3 Wesley hymns must be sung at every service, but apart from that, I think there is a lot to be said for making them a steady part of our worship.

9:58 AM


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