This past Friday, May 24, we celebrated an important day in the life of the church and I bet most of us did not even realize it was happening.
If you are connected to the United Methodist movement, May 24 is an important day because May 24 is Aldersgate Day. That’s right—Aldersgate Day!
I know what you are saying, “What the heck is Aldersgate Day?”
“There are no Aldersgate Day cards, are there?”
Aldersgate Day is the commemoration of the day that John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, had his heart “strangely warmed,” an experience that would lead him to start a movement of spiritual renewal and social outreach that we are a part of to this day.
It was May 24, 1738. At this point in his life Wesley, a young Anglican priest, was burnt out. He felt he was a failure and found little comfort in the religion of his youth. That night, John Wesley decided to go to a Bible study held at a meeting house on Aldersgate Street in London. Something happened that night that changed the direction of this young preacher’s life. In his journal he wrote:
“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…”
Want to know who Methodists are? We are people whose hearts have been strangely warmed.
We are a people for whom the coldness of the world and the bitterness of our past hurts have begun to melt away.
All we can hope is that, when we come together with each other, you also feel God at work in your life like John Wesley did some 280 years ago.
Happy Aldersgate Day!
Grace and Peace,