Posted by: morgan1965 | May 24, 2015

Memorial Day, Pentecost and Aldersgate Sunday

Today we are observing Memorial Day, a national observance that commemorates the men and women who died as members of the United States armed forces. Over the decades, many of our fellow Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we might enjoy the freedom that we have today as a nation.

We give thanks for their courageous service and their commitment to this nation. Some of these people entered the military service as draftees, while others joined the military service as volunteers. In either case their military service was a sacrifice and we who are living in America today are eternally grateful to them.

When I offer my prayers on this Memorial Day, I have a never ending desire for peace. Wars have been waged so that there might be peace. Yet, there is no peace; nevertheless, I am praying for peace on earth. Sy Miller and Jill Jackson penned a beautiful prayer hymn, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

“Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me;
Let there be peace on earth,
The peace that was meant to be.
With God our creator,
Children all we are.
Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me;
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take,
Let this be my solemn vow:
To take each moment
And live each moment in peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.”
(UM Hymnal, #431)

God sent his Son, Jesus into the world and he was a man of grace and truth. He is the Prince of Peace and he is the ultimate peacemaker. This Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught us to live together as brothers and sister, loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Today is also the Day of Pentecost when we celebrate the birthday of the Christian Church. On this great day, God breathed the Holy Spirit upon the faithful followers of Jesus. They stepped out on faith, with the power of the Holy Spirit, and they turned the world upside down. Jesus promised that he would be with them. Through much prayer, the disciples of Jesus entered into a new relationship with God. So, they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. We too are empowered by the Holy Spirit when we open our hearts and minds to Jesus who died on the cross for our sins. God raised Jesus from death to life, thus conquering death and granting to us the possibility and the opportunity for new life in Christ. This new life, of course, provides a peace that surpasses all human understanding.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, encountered new life in Jesus Christ. On this day, May 24, 2015, we celebrate Aldersgate Sunday too. On this day John Wesley reported that his heart was strangely warmed; he had found new life in Jesus Christ. John Wesley was transformed because of this experience. After this experience, God continued to use John Wesley in doing the work of ministry. Wesley’s ministry was so dynamic that Methodism became a movement that spread to America and the result is Methodist ministry has spread across the globe.

This has been a glorious day, as we reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day, the significance of Pentecost, and the fruit of John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience. This is our United Methodist Heritage, and I pray that you have found new meaning on this special day.

Almighty God, let there be peace on earth. Let it begin with each one of us. Amen.

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