I spent four years in seminary studying the Bible, Church history and Theology. One of my favorite subjects to study was the life and teachings of John Wesley. John Wesley was the founder of Methodism. His teachings and life helped to revive the Church of England and brought to life the denomination that helped to bring me to faith. Most Methodists know about John Wesley and his influence on their lives.
John was not the only person who worked to bring about revival in England and the spread of Methodism. Most of John’s ministry was shared with his brother Charles. Charles Wesley is not the most well-known of the Wesley family. Perhaps it is because he did not preach with the same fire and passion as John. Charles may not be as well-known because his leadership was more behind the scenes. However, Charles’ influence was significant.
Charles Wesley had many gifts, but perhaps his greatest gift was his ability to write wonderful hymns. In his lifetime, Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 poems and hymns. Each of these wonderful works were to help bring a personal and passionate way to speak of the things of God to God’s people. Many of these songs are still used in worship around the world.
History often favors John Wesley, but Charles’ words ring out so clearly, today. Often, in turbulent times, it is the powerful words of the songs we have heard and sung that so often bring us comfort. Music is a powerful gift of God. I want to encourage you to read the lyrics of your favorite hymns or praise songs this week. How do they bring you comfort? How do they remind you of the power and love of God?
Today, I give thanks for music and the wonderful musicians like Charles Wesley who have given us the language that speaks to our souls in these difficult times.
Jesus, lover of my soul
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll
While the tempest still is high;
Hide me, O my Savior, hide
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide
O receive my soul at last.
Other refuge have I none;
Hangs my helpless soul on thee;
Leave, ah! Leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stayed,
All my help from thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of thy wing.
– Jesus Lover of My Soul, Charles Wesley, 1740
Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship