Brothers and Sisters,
Now we are into May. Methodist Heritage Month is here.
Why do we pay such special attention to our rich Methodist Heritage at this time?
Is it because some time way back, in May 1738 our founders John and Charles Wesley had life changing spiritual experiences that, in the Providence of God, gave birth to a movement that came to beknown as Methodism? Of course, that has much to do with it.
I, however, want us to focus on a branch of Methodism that gained autonomy in May 1967. That is the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas. We are ever reminded that this church spread like wildfire throughout many Caribbean islands and American mainland territories largely through the work of lay people who took their faith with them.
It was something like the spread of the early church as Christian converts fled persecution and went from one place to the next in search of refuge. In the case of Caribbean Methodism, the first outpost of Methodism outside Great Britain, people moved in search of economic opportunity. As they went abroad to work, they shared faith and the Methodist movement spread. Laymen and laywomen have been movers and shakers in Caribbean Methodism.
When the Methodist people in Holland chose to remain a part of this Caribbean Church, I believe, they were seeking to perpetuate this part of our heritage- the strong involvement of the laity.
So, I remind us of our emphasis on the Priesthood of All Believers. Every member in Christ has both the privilege and responsibility of bringing others before God. As a priest, each one can represent God to others and bring others before God. There is work for each one in the church to do. Each one can be a John Wesley of sorts.
Why do I say that? John felt his heart strangely warmed and went out with a passion for bringing others to God. My prayer is that each one of us, feels the fire of God alive within us, so that the Caribbean Methodist hymn (from Haiti) applies, and can sing
I’m on fire for Jesus, I’m aflame for Jesus.
There’s a fire burning in my heart;
Every thought and action fuelled by his passion,
I’m ablaze and burning in my heart.
May the fire of the holy Spirit be shed abroad in our hearts as we celebrate what the Lord has done for us. Let us, in grateful response for the rich heritage that is ours, move on so that the sacred fire will burn in others too.
May the Lord’s richly bless us as we seek to pass on this great heritage to the glory of God.
Yours in Christ’s service Joan Delsol Meade, Pastor.