charles wesley, Christ Church, DBTP, deborahbythepalm, george Whitefield, holy club, Holy holy holy, john gambold, John Wesley, methodist, Oxford, prayer, Samuel Wesley, St Andrew's Epworth, take time to be holy
Holy Holy Holy…Lord God Almighty…
When John Wesley was a student at Christ Church in Oxford he longed for a group with whom he could share his spiritual growth. As a student, he never quite found what he was looking for.
When his brother Charles arrived in Oxford to study at Christ Church, John may have hoped that being in the same town would give them opportunity to support one another in their discipleship. Their mom Susanna had instilled in her children a routine of spiritual accountability from an early age.
It didn’t work out right away…Charles was slow to pick up the spiritual zeal, John went on to study to become ordained a priest in the Church of England at Lincoln College–a short walk from Christ Church College, and after graduation, at the request of his father, the Rev. Samuel Wesley, rector, of St. Andrew’s Church in Epworth, John went home to serve as the associate pastor in the congregation in which he and his brothers and sisters were raised.
One day, John received a letter from Charles. “I … awoke out of my lethargy,” his younger brother wrote of his renewed desire to focus on his spiritual growth. He also asked for tips on keeping a spiritual journal, a practice John found helpful.
John returned to Oxford to visit his brother. Reunited in Oxford, the brothers periodically met with Charles’ friend William Morgan for prayer, Bible study, and conversation. They also received the Lord’s Supper at least once a week, earning them the nickname “Sacramentarians.”
Slowly, more Oxford students joined the group. They visited the poor and elderly, taught children..visited the imprisoned.
Other students noticed them, and did not understand them. They gave them names like: Supererogation Men , Methodists, HOLY CLUB…BUT they kept meeting even with with the mocking and name calling. The labels were meant to be discouraging to the men.
John Wesley never liked the name ‘Methodist’, but it stuck.
The Holy Club, the slang name for their group around Oxford, was adopting a holistic approach to their Christian formation. They studied the Bible, prayed, and worshiped together and served others in need.
Even though the names were given as a form of mockery, the members made significant contributions to generations of the faithful. (John Clayton, George Whitefield, John Wesley, Charles Wesley, Thomas Brougham, John Gambold, James Hervey, Benjamin Ignham)
Never let your faith be shaken when you know you stand on HOLY ground…are you part of a Holy Club 2017? Who do you share your faith journey with and who holds you accountable? At home? At work? In the middle?
Next Week: John Wesley’s Three Rules
Lord, let me “take time to be holy”…as it says in the old hymn, to speak often with you.
Lord, let me “take time to be holy”…to read your word, and feed on your word.
Lord, let me “take time to be holy”…to make friends with your children, and help those who are weak.
Lord, let me “take time to be holy”…and be calm in my soul, led by your Spirit, for your purpose today.