| I was at my alma mater yesterday, that is, Asbury Theological Seminary. My wife works for a law firm that is located in Lexington and so she travels down rather frequently. I love to go with her, mainly so she doesn't go alone, but also because I get to go back to a place I miss, ATS.
Yesterday was a surprise, for as their chapel service they had the tercentenary (300 years) celebration of the birth of Charles Wesley. Charles is the brother of the more well known John Wesley. However, Charles' work might and probably is more well known now than John's for the bulk of his work came to us through song. Charles wrote over 6500 hymns, many of them still favorites today. For example, "And Can it Be", "Hark the Herald Angels sing", and "Oh for a Thousand Tongues to Sing."
I would have to say that "And Can it Be" is not only my favorite Wesley hymng, but my favorite all time.
So, yesterday I was able to participate in song and in word in the celebration of this man Charles Wesley and more importantly, the God who called and energized him to do what he did. It was pretty cool.
One of the things that impresses me about Charles Wesley is that as a preacher, and a hymnist, he placed great effort in placing his theology in his hymns. For a while, we in the church have been singing songs that at best have been weak in theological content, and at worst have been devoid all together. I do admit that new song writers are beginning to catch the "Wesley-like" spirit, but we still have much to learn from Charles.
To show this here are a few lines from "Love Divine all Love's Excelling" :
1 LOVE Divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heaven, to earth come down! Fix in us thy humble dwelling, All thy faithful mercies crown; Jesu, thou art all compassion, Pure, unbounded love thou art; Visit us with thy salvation, Enter every trembling heart.
2 Come, almighty to deliver, Let us all thy grace receive; Suddenly return, and never, Never more, thy temples leave; Thee we would be always blessing Serve thee as thy hosts above, Pray, and praise thee, without ceasing, Glory in thy perfect love.
3 Finish then thy new creation, Pure and spotless let us be; Let us see thy great salvation, Perfectly restored in thee; Changed from glory into glory, Till in heaven we take our place, Till we cast our crowns before thee, Lost in wonder, love, and praise!
Great Stuff! Thanks Charles! And thank you God for the gift of this life that is still impacting the world for your Kingdom today.
Labels: Asbury Theological Seminary, Charles Wesley, hymns, praise, singing, theology, worship