On July 18, 1773, John Wesley penned a letter to his sister who was “encumbered with worldly business.” Wesley wrote:
Prayer and thanksgiving is the vital breath
That keeps the spirit of man from death:
For prayer attracts into the living soul
The life that fills the universe whole;
And giving thanks is breathing forth again
The praise of Him who is the life of men.
There is a word for us in Wesley’s verse, especially in this season of our life together as United Methodists. Our denomination is mightily encumbered with worldly business. Worry and anxiety have recently multiplied in the wake of the comments of the Council of Bishops on the preliminary report of the Commission on a Way Forward. Fear has increased. Uncertainty abounds. Nevertheless, the same God who gave birth to The United Methodist Church remains on the throne.
As we pause in this season to take stock and give thanks, may we put aside our stewing and fretting for a time and allow God to shower us with His loving kindness and grace. In the silence prompted by our undivided attention directed toward Him, may He grace us with new insight and wisdom for the living of these days, individually and corporately.
If prayer is the act of breathing in the life God alone can impart, then Wesley assures us that giving thanks is an act of breathing forth our praise for God who is the life-giver. Perhaps as we lay aside the labors that occupy our days to be renewed in our time with those we love, we can pause to give thanks and praise God for what He has already accomplished and what He purposes to do through the church. Our thanksgiving helps us focus on God’s purposes, God’s activity and the fruit that God will produce.
The Wesleyan Covenant Association is grateful for your faithful investment in unapologetically sharing the message of Jesus Christ with all people. We are grateful for your love of the church and for your desire for a church that honors God and remains faithful to His word. Thank you for yearning for God to do a new thing among United Methodists as we stand resolutely on His revealed word under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.