Heart Warming...


To most of Christendom today is Whit Monday (or the Monday of the Holy Spirit in the Eastern Orthodox tradition) it being the day after Pentecost... But for diehard Methodists yesterday was Aldersgate Sunday, given that today was the anniversary of that fateful day in 1735 which is described by some as the conversion of our founder John Wesley.
For those who haven’t encountered it before, let me cite a portion of Wesley's own account of this event:
"In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."
Now there’s many a person who has gone unwillingly to a church meeting… But I doubt that many would find a reading of Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans to be heart warming. But God works in mysterious ways and out of John Wesley’s heart warming experience flowed a channel of God’s grace which ultimately has touched millions of people through the Methodist/Wesleyan movement.

However, one of the things that we Methodists don’t often admit to is that within a year of this experience, Wesley wrote in the margin of his own journal that he feared he was not a Christian. The assurance of salvation he had in Aldersgate Street had, at least for a time, deserted him.
But the proof of faith is not in momentary heart-warmed, hilltop experiences, but in the deep, dark valleys of doubt in between… That is when we really need to trust in Christ…

So whether yesterday was Aldersgate Sunday or Pentecost, the question is whether the flame of the spirit is still burning and our hearts are still warm today?


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