Especially moving at this morning’s worship service at Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church were these words of Charles Wesley in the anthem, “Forth in Thy Name, O Lord, I Go:”
- “Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go, my daily labor to pursue; thee, only thee, resolved to know in all I think or speak or do.
- The task thy wisdom hath assigned, O let me cheerfully fulfill; in all my works thy presence find and prove thy good and perfect will.
- Preserve me from my calling’s snare and hide my simple heart above the thorns of choking care, the gilded baits of worldly love.
- Thee may I set at my right hand whose eyes my inmost substance see, and labor on at thy command and offer all my works to thee.
- Give me to bear thy easy yoke, and every moment watch and pray, and still to things eternal look,
- And hasten to thy glorious day; for thee delightfully employ whate’er thy bounteous grace hath given.
- And run my course with even joy, and closely walk with thee to heaven.”
Charles Wesley (1707-1788) was an English Anglican clergyman and a leader of its Methodism movement that subsequently became the independent Methodist Church. He wrote many hymns for the church. He was the son of Samuel Wesley, an Anglican clergyman and poet, and the younger brother of John Wesley, also an Anglican clergyman and a co-leader of the Methodism movement.
Both Wesley brothers were graduates of Oxford University’s Christ Church College, where in the early 1960’s I attended lectures and saw their portraits in the College’s beautiful dining hall.
Many years later I was walking near St. Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London and saw the Aldersgate Flame sculpture marking the spot where John Wesley on May 24, 1738, “felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
I should also mention a more direct and personal connection with Methodism. While in high school in the small Iowa town of Perry, I was a member of the local Methodist Church and active in its youth choir and MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship). I fondly recall our church being visited by five college students on a Youth Caravan to bolster our MYF and the caring and reserved pastoring by Rev. Arlie Krussell.
The music for the anthem was a Scottish melody arranged by Howard Helvey. Born in 1968, he is a composer, arranger and pianist and also serves as the organist and choirmaster of Calvery Episcopal Church of Cincinnati, Ohio.
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