|A beginning in Savannah, GA|
In my last post I mentioned a bit about John Wesley's feeling of failure regarding his mission in Georgia. Here are some of the reasons:
- John was accustomed to success at Oxford and in much else;
- He had come to bring the Gospel to the Native Americans,
- In the new world John tutored a young woman, Sophie Hopkey, with whom, he fell in love. Unwilling to act in a timely way, Sophie left and married another. John, spurned, refused to serve communion to Sophie and her new husband. Sophie's new husband, protective, brought civil charges against John (with a bit of a biased jury). And John high-tailed it back to England, heartbroken and disheartened;
- As a well-educated and ordained priest of the Church of England, John was now doubting his salvation and his calling.
|Wesley Monumental UMC|
All, in all this was not feeling like a good season to John Wesley, but his journey and God's grace was still to unfold with next steps.
In London John found his way, on May 24th, into a Moravian Church on Aldersgate St. (We now refer to this as his Aldersgate Experience), where his heart was "strangely warmed." He reconnected to God's love and grace in a personal way. His "failure" was a next step that eventually led to a Methodist church in America on every crossroad of the new world. (UMC.org UMC History)
|Wesley UMC, Thunderbolt, GA|
A bit like the Emmaus Road (Luke 24) experience of the disciples, John didn't recognize God's presence in everything at every moment. He did, however, find God's presence in the steps he was yet to take and in the places he could not yet see. (Cf. Hebrews 11:1)
We make our faith journey by walking one step at a time. We don't usually see very far ahead. We don't as individuals, nor as churches. Just like the disciples and like John Wesley, God always has greater things beyond or moments of failure, discouragement and fatigue.
So, we take a step. We go forward, backward, sideways, but we take a step. In the walk God is there to be found and grace with love ready to show up.
So what are your failures? (I have mine.) Can you embrace them? Can you trust God to use them in the next steps of the journey? I encourage you to join me in keeping notes, journaling, about your insights, prayers, thoughts, questions and ideas. Then perhaps we can share, in due time.
Grace and love in this step and in the next.
10,000 Joys in Christ
Pilgrim on the Journey with God, Pastor Dave