Skip to main content

england: days 5 and 6

sorry i failed to write yesterday.  i was exhausted, and we hadn't really done much to warrant me writing.  yesterday was a bit of a free day, at least in terms of methodist significance.  we certainly had a good day of enjoying england, particularly a region known as the cotswalds, a region witha  particular geography and geology.  we went to several villages in the cotswalds, stopping for shopping and eating and just enjoying the sights.  shannon and i found a pub called the Kingsbridge Inn in a cute little town called bourton-on-the-water.  we had fish and chips, and bangers and mash, and some refreshment, while sitting next to a warm fire.  it was delightful. 

today was far less casual, and much more interesting, at least from a methodist perspective.  we started early, driving east across the country to epworth, the childhood home of john and charles wesley (on the way we passed nottingham and sherwood forest!).  once we arrived in epworth, we began the day by worshipping with fellow methodists at the wesley memorial church there.  it was great to experience british methodism, to have tea with them (right in the sanctuary!) and to sing some charles wesley hymns with gusto right there in the town where he grew up.  what a joy!  they even served us a lunch of soup and sandwiches afterwards.  their hospitality was amazing, and the message delivered by the preacher was well-given: we need to be ready to discover the joy of God whenever God shows up, much like Simeon was ready for Jesus.

after lunch we headed over the rectory, the home where samuel and susanna, the wesley's parents, lived and raised their children.  it was cool to be in the house from which wesley was pulled on the night of that devastating fire when he was 5 years old, an event which caused his mother to call him "a brand plucked from the burning" for the rest of his life, believing he had some special purpose.  and indeed he did!

after touring the rectory, we had the opportunity to go to the epworth parish of the anglican church, known as st. andrews, and sit in the same building where john and charles sat to worship as boys.  i got to hold a silver chalice from which they would have received communion! 

throughout the day, i was moved to consider my heritage as a methodist.  it is interesting to imagine the "what might have beens" in life, and i wonder what might have been if we hadn't started going to that little methodist church on the hill just outside of town.  or if things had gone differently for asbury in america, or if wesley had decided that field preaching was just too vile, and he would rather serve a more respectable appointment in a parish church in some well-to-do english town.  where would i be now?  while i don't love every little thing about methodism, i am proud of the heritage i have been given as a methodist: a heritage that emphasizes God's grace, that believes in the necessity of good works as a result of our faith, and that calls us to share good news with creativity and gusto and courage and passion. 

today, as we worshipped at that methodist church in epworth, we looked up at a stained glass window which bore the words that have come to be accepted as wesley's final words:  and the best of all is God is with us.  and i am grateful for that heritage, as well.  that wesley, even as he surrendered his final breaths, bequeathed to those who followed him - even me! - the call to celebrate that most radical truth of our faith, that the Word was with God and the Word was God, and the Word came to dwell among us!  God came to us!  God sought us out!  and the best of all is God is with us! 


Crafty P said…
beautiful reflection and history lessons! ack, I need visuals. visuals! and you've added steelers stuff today. ok.
i will wait.
Emoly said…
Thank you so much for sharing your journey. It was fascinating to read. I enjoyed it! I'm also looking forward to pictures.

Popular posts from this blog


i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

thankful right now

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley

i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity.  still, the bad news keeps coming. 

i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few.  how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …