Saturday, February 25, 2017

Wesleyan Worship Workshop Recording

Some of you may know that I recently presented my workshop on Authentic Wesleyan Worship during the Wesley Conference at Northwest Nazarene University.  -  Dr. Brent Peterson has announced, "I am pleased to share about 20 mp3 workshop recordings and 8 videos from our NNU Wesley Center Conference on Worship."  -  I am pleased to have my workshop among those recorded and available at the NNU website.  You can find all of the recordings here.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Welseyan Eucharistic Hymns

As some of you may recall, I make it a practice to include singing three hymns in the midst of my personal devotion when praying the offices of Morning and Evening Prayer.  -  For the first time, I have been singing (I have previously read) through the Eucharistic hymns of John and Charles Wesley as found in J. Ernest Rattenbury's book by the same name.  Below, I have printed copies of three of those hymns which have stood out to me in my recent singing.  They provide wonderful expressions of Wesleyan Eucharistic theology and spiritual practice.

The first one is listed as number 42.  I sang this one a few days ago.  It is actually a hymn that we have used a number of times in the various churches where I have served.  It is a great explication of the Eucharist as the chief means of grace.  I love it!

1. Glory to Him who freely spent
His blood, that we might live,
And through this choicest instrument
Doth all His blessings give.
2.  Fasting He doth, and hearing bless,
And prayer can much avail,
Good vessels all to draw the grace
Out of salvation's well.
3.  But none, like this mysterious rite
Which dying mercy gave,
Can draw forth all His promised might
And all His will to save.
4.  This is the richest legacy
Thou hast on man bestow'd:
Here chiefly, Lord, we feed on Thee,
And drink Thy precious blood.
5.  Here all Thy blessings we receive,
Here all Thy gifts are given,
To those that would in Thee believe,
Pardon, and grace, and heaven.

6.  Thus may we still in Thee be blest,
Till all from earth remove,
And share with Thee the marriage feast,
And drink the wine above.
Hymn 54 is not one that I have ever used during worship with the congregation, but it is a very good hymn.
1.  Why did my dying Lord ordain
This dear memorial of His love?
Might we not all by faith obtain,
By faith the mountain sin remove,
Enjoy the sense of sins forgiven,
And holiness, the taste of heaven?
2.  It seem'd to my Redeemer good
That faith should here His coming wait
Should here receive immortal food,
Grow up in Him Divinely great,
And, fill'd with holy violence, seize
The glorious crown of righteousness.
3.  Saviour, Thou didst the mystery give
That I Thy nature might partake
Thou bidd'st me outward signs receive,
One with Thyself my soul to make;
My body, soul, and spirit to join
Inseparably one with Thine.
4.  The prayer, the fast, the word conveys,
When mix'd with faith, Thy life to me;
In all the channels of Thy grace
I still have fellowship with Thee:
But chiefly here my soul is fed
With fullness of immortal bread.
5.  Communion closer far I feel
And deeper drink the' atoning blood;
The joy is more unspeakable,
And yields me large draughts of God,
Till nature faints beneath the power,
And faith fill'd up can hold no more.
The final hymn that I'm going to share in this post is actually in the United Methodist Hymnal, as well.  In fact, we just sang it this past Sunday at the United Methodist Church where I serve.  In the Eucharistic hymns it is number 57.
1.  O the depth of love Divine,
Th' unfathomable grace!
Who shall say how bread and wine
God into man conveys!
How the bread His flesh impart,
How the wine transmits His blood,
Fills His faithful people's hearts
With all the life of God!
2.  Let the wisest mortal show
How we the grace receive,
Feeble elements bestow
A power not theirs to give.
Who explains the wondrous way,
How through these the virtue came?
These the virtue did convey,
Yet still remain the same.
3.  How can heavenly spirits rise,
By earthly matter fed,
Drink herewith Divine supplies,
And eat immortal bread?
Ask the Father's Wisdom how;
Him that did the means ordain!
Angels round our altars bow
To search it out in vain.
4.  Sure and real is the grace,
The manner be unknown;
Only meet us in Thy ways,
And perfect us in one.
Let us taste the heavenly powers;
Lord, we ask for nothing more:
Thine to bless, 'tis only ours
To wonder and adore.

I trust that these hymns have been both a blessing and a great, poetic explanation of the Eucharist in the Wesleyan understanding.  -  And they are singable! 
Though there is no music printed with these, above, one can easily find music that fits.  If one counts out the syllables in each line of the verse, this forms the metric.  Many hymnals include a metrical index.  The UM Hymnal and the Nazarene hymnal (Sing to the Lord), both contain a metrical index.  Just go to that index, match the metric with a hymn tune that is familiar, and you can sing it!  This, by the way, can also be used for hymns that you like, but you or your congregation are unfamiliar with the given tune.  You can often find an alternative tune that is familiar.  (There are, of course, a few of these hymns for which there may not be a metric listed in the index, or the tune listed may not be familiar.)

My prayer is that these hymns might be used in such a way as to enrich the observance of the Lord's Supper in your church!

Lent and Prayer & Fasting Bookmarks

Lent is nearly upon us! One thing I have done as a part of the Lenten observance over the years is to provide for my congregations the Prayer & Fasting bookmarks provided by World Methodist Evangelism.

These bookmarks include an explanation and challenge on one side.  On the other, there are prayers for Thursday Evening, Morning Prayer, Mealtime Prayer, and a Prayer for Breaking Fast.  The bookmarks call on us to join with other Wesleyan/Methodist Christians in more than 130 countries who practice the same weekly fast which John Wesley observed most of his life. The Friday fasts are focused in prayer on the vision that we would be empowered to become channels for the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. 

As an elder in a WMC denomination, serving in another WMC denomination; as a representative on the WMC, itself, and a member of the Order of the FLAME through World Methodist Evangelism, I heartily commend these bookmarks to you and to your congregation!  -  Further, if you are a member of the Wesleyan-Anglican Society, I would remind you that, in our "Special Rules," we encourage Society members to seek to "follow the Wesleyan Pattern of Prayer and Fasting" as encouraged by the World Methodist Council.

You can purchase the book marks (unfortunately, they are no longer free), by making contact with folks from World Methodist Evangelism.  


The meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society is close approaching (March 3-4).  Along with that meeting comes all of the affiliate Society meetings (March 2).  Among them is the meeting of the newly formed Wesleyan Liturgical Society.

The Wesleyan Liturgical Society had its first meeting last year when WTS met  at Point Loma Nazarene University in California.  Our keynote speaker during that meeting was my doctoral professor and mentor, Dr. Lester Ruth.  During that meeting, an oversight committee was formed to plan for this year's meeting.  I was honored to be a part of that three person committee (plus one, Dr. Brent Peterson, who has really been the moving force behind the organization of the WLS).

This year, the WLS will be meeting in affiliation with the WTS at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.  (Asbury is where I did my D.Min).  In this meeting we are planning to set the broad range covered by Wesleyan worship.  We will have Dr. Steven Hoskins (Trevecca Nazarene University) who will be talking to us about Cane Ridge and the camp meeting.  On the other end of the spectrum will be Dr. Winfield Bevin's (Asbury Theological Seminary) presentation on Eucharist and Mission, presenting the "Anglican side" of Wesleyan worship.  In the middle will be a presentation by our keynote speaker (and we are really thrilled to have her), Dr. Karen Westerfield Tucker (Boston University School of Theology).

These presentations are intended to provide "book ends," if you will; setting the scope of what fits under the broad tent of "Wesleyan Liturgy."  -  With this set, there will be an actual call for papers for the 2018 meeting.

One of the exciting things for me is that the Wesleyan-Anglican Society will have an actual presence at the meeting.  The WAS will lead a service of Evening Prayer following Dr. Bevin's presentation.  It is a WLS event, but it will be led by the WAS!

In addition, though it is not an official WAS event, I have been asked to lead the opening Eucharistic service for the Wesleyan Theological Society, the next day.  So, by extension, the WAS will be present (though not "officially") at the WTS meeting.

I would ask for your prayers for both of these services.  It's a lot to put together, especially since it falls on the Thursday and Friday following Ash Wednesday!
If you have not made plans to attend the WTS meeting, you can still do so by following the link, here. 

(And, if you will be attending, and are a member of the Wesleyan-Anglican Society, comment, below, so I will be able to make contact with you, there.  -  If you are not a member of the WAS, check us out on Facebook or at our website!) 

I hope to see you at Asbury!